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The Case of the Cosmopolitan Condo
Dear Glass Detective,
I need to replace four window panes in a fifth-floor condo. The current glass is thermopane and I would like to replace it with tempered safety glass because it seems to be less expensive. Should I have any concern about falling glass or are both types relatively safe in that regard?
-Earl P. New York, NY
Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective regarding the need to replace four broken insulating glass units in your New York Condominium. You used the term “thermopane” which is quite commonly used to describe insulating glass units. Because it is technically an actual manufacturer’s trade name, we will use the generic description of insulating glass unit, or IG here, I trust you are okay with this.
I, too, live in a condominium, Earl, in a large metropolitan area and because you state that you live on the fifth floor of a New York condominium, I am going to assume that it is a sizeable structure. I am also going to assume that there are certain rules and regulations that apply to the glass being used in the building so that there is conformity of appearance. I know that in my condo, I can choose the manufacturer of insulating glass units to be replaced in my unit and I can choose the glazing company that I would like to have do the work. But the glass must meet a specification put in place for the building so we don’t end up with a checkerboard look on the exterior façade of our property. The installer also must be licensed and show proof of insurance before starting work.
Assuming you have the same requirements (or something similar) for your building, I would suggest you contact the management team at your complex to find out what is, and is not, allowed. They may also have a recommendation or two for glass shops in your area that have been used successfully in the past to do glass replacement in your building.
Now, if by chance none of what I have stated above is an accurate description of the situation, we still are not off the hook relative to what we can and cannot use for glass replacement in your condo. Specifically, we still have to deal with your city and state codes for glass installations. For your sake, I am hoping that your condo association has some experience in these matters and can quickly inform you as to what might be allowed for glass replacements taking into consideration the condo rules and code requirements. I cannot tell you definitively what you should use in a New York condo to replace broken glass on the fifth floor. I think in a very short period of time, you will know more about this than I do, and if you would like to share what you learn with me, I would be most appreciative.
My last piece of advice is to always try to find and work with a reputable glass shop that is experienced in the work you are looking to have performed. If at all possible, check their references. I recently had a very large replacement/repair job done on my condo, and when selecting the contractor, I first got a recommendation from the condo management office and then talked with two other condo owners who had used this firm previously. Both of the condo owners in my building who had previously used this contractor were quite pleased with their work and pricing and not surprisingly, I was also quite satisfied when they were finished with my work.