Window Replacement Policy

City of Lincoln/Lancaster County Window Replacement Policy (Residential)

  • Replacement windows in sleeping rooms require permits regardless of size or window type.  
  • Replacement windows in hazardous locations, such as in bathrooms, or near doors, require permits to verify that safety glass has been installed. See attached bulletin for more information on hazardous locations.
  • Windows installed in new openings, or where the opening size was altered require permits to verify code compliance.

If the dwelling was constructed after July 12, 1977, the egress window in the sleeping room will need to be installed no more than 44" above the finished floor.

If the dwelling was constructed to July 12, 1977 the egress window in the sleeping room will need to be installed no more than 48" above the finished floor.


  • If modifying the framed opening is not feasible, an option to install a hardwired and interconnected smoke detector in this sleeping room will be accepted. The smoke detector will be required to be inter-connected with other smoke detectors on this same level of the dwelling. 
  • If the existing window cannot meet the maximum dimensions from the finished floor, one permanently affixed step centered in front of the opening portion of this window will be accepted. This step cannot exceed 8" in height, and the top of the step can be no more than 44" from the bottom of the window opening.


  • This policy applies to replacement sashes also.
  • To the extent possible, minimum egress window opening requirements should be followed. See attached bulletin for more information.

Replacement Window Bulletin

The following information is an addendum to the window replacement policy established in November, 2009. This bulletin is for information only. This code language is taken from the International Residential Code (IRC).

Egress Requirements

R310.1 States that every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door for emergency escape and rescue, Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue, they shall have a clear opening height not more than 44 inches above the floor.* In addition, the opening can be no less than 20 inches in width, 24 inches in height, AND a total opening area of at least 5.7 square feet. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the window or door opening from the inside.

* Dwellings constructed prior to July 12, 1977 must have the egress window installed no more than 48 inches above the floor.

Note: In new construction, double-hung windows must meet the requirements for an egress window without removing the upper sash.

Hazardous Locations

R308.4 States that the following window locations shall be considered hazardous for the purpose of glazing: (these locations will require safety glass)

  • In a fixed or operable window adjacent to a door where the nearest edge of the glass is within a 24-inch arc of the door in a closed position, AND whose bottom edge is less than 60 inches from the floor or walking surface.
  • In a fixed or operable window pane larger than 9 square feet, where the bottom edge of the glass is less than 18 inches above the floor, AND the top edge of the glass is more than 36 inches above the floor.
  • Windows adjacent to stairways within 60 inches horizontally of the bottom tread of a stairway in any direction when the exposed surface of the glass is less than 60 inches above the nose of the tread.
  • Windows adjacent to a tub or shower, where the exposed edge of the glass is less than 60 inches from the standing surface of the tub or shower.

Note: These are the most common hazardous locations. There are many others, as well as many exceptions. Please refer to the IRC for a complete list, or contact a Building Inspector or Plan Reviewer for more information at (402) 441-7882.

ENERGY: The IRC requires that all windows for habitable space have Low-E glass. The minimum U-Value for windows is .35