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San Francisco officials order inspection of high-rise windows in wake wind-storm damage

Window installer looks at factors leading to broken skyscraper windows during storms
Window installer looks at factors leading to broken skyscraper windows during storms 04:40

SAN FRANCISCO -- Alarmed by the shattering of high-rise windows during recent wind storms, San Francisco officials ordered the inspection of façades for buildings that 15 stories or taller and built after 1998.

According to the Department of Building Inspections, five buildings in downtown San Francisco had glass failure during March's fierce wind storms.

  • 1400 Mission (one broken window)
  • 50 California (one broken window)
  • 301 Mission, Millennium Tower (one broken window)
  • 350 Mission (one broken window on every floor from 11 through 30)
  •  555 California, the Bank of America building, (43rd floor two windows broken)

Under Tuesday's order, building owners will be required to provide a licensed architect or engineer evaluation of the entire building façade to ensure the safety and stability of all elements, including windows. The new requirement will apply to 71 buildings. 

"While we are endeavoring to understand what caused the recent window failures in half a dozen buildings downtown, this legislation will ensure all tall buildings are immediately inspected and made secure," said Board President Aaron Peskin.    

Through Mayor London Breed's emergency declaration issued on March 27, DBI has the authority to expand the façade inspection program to ensure the safety and stability of newer buildings. 

"This is an important step we are taking to ensure the safety of all of our buildings to keep our residents safe," Breed said in a news release. "I want to thank the Department of Building Inspection for their work to not only respond immediately to these glass issues during the storms, but also for quickly taking on this critical program expansion." 

The reports will be due six months after receipt of a letter notifying the property owners of the new requirement.

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