8:00 PM 02/17/2012
I'm wondering if I can add a window to the side of my apartment? I am in the top floor of a brick building with windows over the street, but no window on the side. I have a room with no window. My building is a full floor taller than the building next door, so adding a window in this room would be a great benefit. But is it legal to do so? I am not in a historic district.
It's not a legal bedroom without a window. Lot line widows are also not legal. Do you own the apt.?
8:05 PM 02/17/2012 | 0 Votes
adding a window isn't difficult, but remember, an external wall is likely helping to hold up the roof - so you'll have to take that into consideration (and have an engineer properly analyze the load to give you proper size restrictions on the opening, and possible headers needing to be installed (all the way down to fottings in the cellar)
But first - is it your building?
8:06 PM 02/17/2012 | 0 Votes
I own the apartment but it's a small coop building, and I don't know how supportive of this idea the board would be. Also, this would certainly be a lot line window since the building next door abuts ours directly.
8:14 PM 02/17/2012 | 0 Votes
You own shares in a corporation that owns (or leases) a building you live in. I'd give it 1 chance in 10,000 to get an illegal lot line window. I highly recommend running for president of the board, then i'd bump your chances to 1 in 50. Arrange for a building "tuckpointing", a generous heaping of scaffolding and tarps, maybe over a long summer weekend when everyone is away, have the guys haul the evidence out at night when doorman is on break. A window that exactly matches the rest of the building, would be key, then just run with it. "What, huh? Oh, that window has ALWAYS been there"
That, or maybe just a skylight.
10:35 PM 02/17/2012 | 0 Votes
Lot line windows are not illegal, but they do have certain restrictions. This is also a structural issue, as you will be cutting into a load-bearing wall. You will will need an architect and/or structural engineer.
1:00 AM 02/18/2012 | 0 Votes
I think there is some confusion. Lot line windows are legal, that said they do not qualify toward light and air requirements. For example you can't turn an interior room with no windows into a legal bedroom by adding a lot line window, the window can only be considered as an amenity. We installed one in a kitchen several years ago, it required a special fire rated window assembly, and a new sprinkler head at the window area. This job was filed, approved, and permitted. You should consult with an architect or an expeditor to discuss your specific situation. You probably would want to have some type of architectural drawings to approach the board with.
3:29 AM 02/18/2012 | 2 Votes
Install a flat screen monitor on the interior wall and a camera on the exterior. You can do what ever you want inside the room with out any privacy concerns, and instead of drawing the curtains at night, you can turn it off. Now ventilation can only be accomplished with a real hole in the wall, but much smaller than a window.
8:07 AM 02/18/2012 | 0 Votes
Assuming that a RA or PE checks the structure and your proposed window and is certain that it doesn't compromise the structure, then yes, you could get one, but the question is whether you're prepared to pay the true cost in time and money, since there is a lot of bureaucracy involved.
In addition to the plans that will need to be filed (as part of the work permit you'll need) keep in mind that lot line windows have to have special features (wired, temepered, or laminated glass) and you'll need a sprinkler head above the window. You can't use it to "legalize" a bedroom and if the adjacent property owner raises their structure's height you may need to seal your window. Then there's that pesky "Lot Line Window Declaration" that the building owner will need to sign and file with the County Clerk downtown.
So after going through all those hoops -- RA/PE, sprinkler work (if you have to cut a wall you'll need the asbestos inspection too), window installation, and legal filings -- I hope you have a nice view :)
11:45 AM 02/18/2012 | 0 Votes
I'm glad we got some real advice in here from Mike/Restorationcon/M962bk - what is it with people posting crap into these forums abotu what is legal/illegal when they are clueless.
Sorry might sound harsh but has to be said.
1:53 PM 02/18/2012 | 0 Votes
Actually it does seem needlessly harsh, and surely unnecessary, as well as more damaging to the discourse on this forum than any well-intentioned but ultimately uninformed advice.
8:52 PM 02/18/2012 | 0 Votes
Thanks everyone for your input. There's not much of a view to be gained by this window. Just sunlight and air, which would be very nice in this interior room. But given all that would need to be done (particularly the sprinkler system) I'm guessing the cost would be prohibitive. Would a skylight likely be more affordable?
3:13 PM 02/20/2012 | 0 Votes
To get some daylight into the room, this might be the easiest and cheapest solution: http://www.solatube.com
5:08 PM 02/20/2012 | 0 Votes
A traditional skylikght would definitely be cheaper, unless it requires strengthening of the existing roof joists (you are going to have to cut joists and install new headers to frame the opening). You would have to open the ceiling and have a structural engineer do a load calculation. The Solatube probably would not require any of this, but does the small size give you what you want? Additionally from experience, co-op boards can get real nervous about anybody touching the roof.
6:39 PM 02/20/2012 | 0 Votes
A long narrow skylight would probably not require joist cutting. Check out the solatube mentioned above; you don't get any view so you still feel closed in, but you will get light.
7:57 PM 02/21/2012 | 0 Votes