Window Requirements

Permits, Egress Windows, Smoke Alarms, and Safety Glazing Windows


  • The installation or replacement of a window or windows requires a permit and inspection. This includes retrofit windows in existing frames.
  • Daly City issues window permits to the person doing the work. A homeowner who is capable of doing the work can obtain them, or they are issued to a California licensed contractor with a current Daly City business license.

Egress Windows

Windows may be replaced in kind in bedrooms provided:
  1. The existing window/s met egress requirements of the code in effect at time the building was built.
  2. The window opening/s have not been made smaller.
  3. The window shall be made compliant with current code if it can be made so by changing its type or configuration. Structural or framing changes are not required, but may be made voluntarily. Lowering the sill height to the code maximum of 44 inches is recommended but not required.

Example 1: An XOX bedroom window has only a 16-inch openable width. It shall not be replaced in kind. An XO window with a code complying 20-inch width is needed.

Example 2: A two-foot wide by four-foot tall single-hung window is removed. It shall not be replaced in kind. A casement window is needed that will provide the code required minimum 20-inch openable width, 24-inch height and 5.7 square foot area

To meet current egress requirements, all of the following must be met:

  1. A finished sill height above the finished floor of 44" or less.
  2. A minimum opening of 5.7 square feet net clear area.
  3. A minimum net clear opening dimension of 20" in width.
  4. A minimum net clear opening dimension of 24" in height.
    Note: The minimum dimension in both directions will not meet the egress area requirement.

Changes in the size of the window opening will require the window/s meet current egress requirements. Window openings that are altered will require appropriate inspections such as frame, insulation, shear wall, sheetrock, stucco wrap and wire, scratch coat and final.

Security bars shall not be installed over egress windows unless the security bars open without the use of a key and without any special knowledge or effort.

Smoke Alarms

  • Work that exceeds $1,000 in valuation requires the installation of smoke alarms in every bedroom, on each level and centrally located in adjoining hallways.
  • The permit applicant/contractor/installer is responsible for the providing and installing the required smoke alarms.
  • Battery operated smoke alarms are adequate in existing rooms but cannot be used to replace hardwired smoke alarms.
  • Smoke alarms require inspection to verify installation, location and operation.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • Starting July 1, 2011, California homeowners are required to install carbon monoxide alarms in all single-family dwellings (all other dwelling units must have carbon monoxide devices installed by January 1, 2013).
  • Carbon monoxide alarms must be approved by the State Fire Marshall.

Safety Glazing-Windows

  • Glazing less than 60" above the drain inlet in hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers shall be tempered.
  • Glazing in fixed or openable panels adjacent to a door, where the nearest exposed edge of the glazing in within a 24" arc of either vertical edge of the door in a closed position and where the bottom exposed edge is less than 60" above the walking surface, shall be tempered.
  • Glazing in walls enclosing stairway landings or within 5 feet of the bottom and top stairways where the bottom edge of the glass is less than 60" above a walking surface shall tempered.
  • Glazing in individual fixed or operable windows shall be safety type if the window in question meets all of the following conditions:
    1. The exposed area of the individual pane is greater than 9 square feet.
    2. The exposed bottom edge is less than 18" above the floor.
    3. The exposed top edge is greater than 36" above the floor.
    4. There are one or more walking surfaces within 36" horizontally of the plane of the glazing

If you would like additional information, please telephone the Building Division at (650) 991-8061.

Blank area does not comply with California Building Code.


Sample Windows