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Window Replacement in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Replacing a window in Fort Lauderdale is serious business. High winds and frequent storms mean our windows have to be made extra tough to withstand the elements’ worst. Accordingly, the city has a strict permitting system dictating the types of windows that can be used and guidelines for their installation.
Climate will play a huge role in selecting and installing your new windows here. Models that can withstand high wind loads and resist shattering upon impact will be your best bet to deter an accident during severe weather. This guide will get you through choosing a model that fits those requirements, as well selecting a contractor and applying for permits and energy-efficiency incentives.
Window Contractor Requirements in Fort Lauderdale
If you live in Fort Lauderdale and you want to replace a window on your home by yourself, you’re in luck–in most cases, the city will provide you an exemption to Florida’s contractor requirements. However, if you will be performing the work yourself as a builder-owner, you must complete a signed and notarized Owner Builder Affidavit along with your permit. You can access a copy of the form here. The affidavit certifies, among other things, that you own and reside on the property you’ll be working on, that you assume full responsibility for making sure your repairs are up to code.
However, the city has a labyrinthine permitting structure in place for this kind of construction–requiring heavy technical documentation including wind load calculations and industry efficiency ratings. Most amateur renovators are likely not up to the task of completing and complying with these regulations, so we recommend going with a licensed contractor for window repairs when possible. They’ll be able to assist you in completing these forms and making sure your windows are up to code. You can search for a Fort Lauderdale contractor using the city’s list of contractors, and verify their license using MyFlorida’s Licensee Search.
Applying for Window Permits in Ft. Lauderdale
In Fort Lauderdale, a permit is required for any window replacements made within city limits. A copy of the basic permit application can be accessed online here. There’s also a cover sheet for window repairs to go with the application–that’s available here. You can download both forms and return them to The City of Fort Lauderdale Building Department, 700 NW 19th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311.
Is the work going to cost more than $2,500? Then you’ll also need to file two Notices of Commencement with the Broward County Government Offices at Broward County Governmental Center, Room 114, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Here’s where to get a copy of that form so you can fill it out before you go.
In addition to your permit application and notices (if required), there’s a few additional documents to turn in with your paperwork:
- Two copies of Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance. We know what you’re thinking–”I’m in Fort Lauderdale, not Miami!” Fort Lauderdale requires all windows to have a product approval before they can be installed–and it uses Miami-Dade’s approval system to determine whether a window is safe enough to be installed. The window seller should be able to provide you this information, but you can also verify if a product is covered using the Miami-Dade Product Control Search here.
- Two completed wind load calculation sheets. We don’t need to tell you that Fort Lauderdale gets its share of windy weather. The city wants you to calculate your new window’s wind load using this form.
- Two completed Window/Door Schedules. Get the form here. Be aware, though, before you jump into it, you’ll need to know a few things about your windows–namely, the window’s approved pressure (otherwise known as design pressure) and required pressure ratings; the U-factor, or the window’s insulating ability; the solar heat gain co-efficiency (SHGC), which is how much heat the glass emits through radiation; as well as the product approval code; and the spacing and type of fasteners used.
- A drawing showing the location of the windows to be repaired or replaced.
This is where a contractor can be useful–they’re accustomed to filling out building forms and can help you get the information you need to complete them.
Requirements for Windows in Fort Lauderdale
As mentioned above, the city uses Miami-Dade county’s list of approved products–so if your window’s not on that list, it’s not qualified for installation in your Fort Lauderdale home. However, there is one an additional catch–unless you want to install hurricane shutters as well, you need to select windows with impact-resistant glass and frames. Impact-resistant windows are manufactured to be extra strong, reducing the risk of shattering in the case that a hurricane-force gust plants loose debris squarely in your plate glass window. The window manufacturer should be able to tell you if the windows you select having this rating.
If you do decide to go with shutters instead, however, there’s another, additional permitting process to go through. You can find out more information about shutter permits here.
Ft. Lauderdale Window Inspections
New windows require an inspection in Fort Lauderdale. You can schedule an inspection using the city’s automated inspection service, FLAIR. A brochure for using FLAIR is located here. Be aware–most inspectors require that window labeling and installation instructions be available when they come to visit.
Rebates and Incentives for Window Installation in Ft. Lauderdale
Unfortunately, the City of Fort Lauderdale does not currently provide any rebates for energy-efficient windows. However, you can still qualify for the national ENERGY STAR rebate if you purchase windows that are ENERGY STAR certified. Look at the label when you buy–you could be eligible for 10 percent of the window’s cost, with a maximum return of $200. Just file form 5695 along with your taxes that year.