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I am staying at the Radisson in Colorado Springs this evening and I notice that some of the rooms, in an extension built about 15-20 years ago, have large security windows facing into the hallway. The rooms also have normal outdoor facing windows. At first I thought they must be offices, but in fact they are otherwise normal bedrooms. The hotel management says that when the extension was built the local code at the time required them to install windows facing the hallway. I cannot see what possible purpose this could have. Why would a building code require a bedroom to have a window facing into the house?

I guess my fear is that if I built a house in Colorado Springs, maybe they would require my bedrooms to have windows facing the interior which seems crazy.

  • You're in a better position to research this than most of us -- call the town inspector's office and ask them if they can expliain it. If they can't, odds are that nobody can without a deep dive into the town's records. Frankly, it sounds to me like someone was planning to have these rooms look out over an open walkway which has since been closed off. – keshlam Feb 5 '16 at 4:08
  • @keshlam Aha, I think you hit the nail on the head. You should turn that into an answer. The layout of the area is consistent with that. – Tyler Durden Feb 5 '16 at 4:26
  • A photo might be useful, they might have been just outside windows that 20 years ago. – PlasmaHH Feb 5 '16 at 9:29
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    I would expect that in the brothel building code, but in no other. – Peter A. Schneider Feb 5 '16 at 16:57
  • I own a house out here in the Springs. They don't have anything like that. – Ryan Foley Feb 5 '16 at 17:49
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In the cases where I've run I to something like this, the hotel originally had open walkways around the rooms -- allowing more light in, and probably cheaper to build -- which were later closed off with an outside wall to provide a sheltered approach to the rooms and to reduce energy needed to heat or cool the rooms. The windows were left in place because there was no pressing reason to pay the cost of redoing that wall.

I can't vouch for that having been true in this case, not having seen it and not knowing the building's history, but it seems more likely than a local code weirdity.

Remember, most hotel staff turns over fairly rapidly, up to and including managers. Odds of anyone actually remembering the reasons for anything done a decade ago are low... but odds of their admitting they don't know aren't much better.

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First of all, building codes covering private residences are typically not the same as larger commercial buildings. In the USA those are often the IRC and IBC, respectively (although each state has their own versions and amendments).

But to the issue you asked about: were the windows into the hallway operable? Hotel windows are usually inoperable and are therefore not considered emergency exits. I would not be surprised if the hotel staff had no idea why the windows were there, especially if it was 20 years ago.

My guess is that it was just an architectural choice, to let in more light or allow small rooms to seem bigger. Or maybe the layout of the hotel was changed or the rooms were not originally intended to be guest rooms.

  • The windows did not open. – Tyler Durden Feb 5 '16 at 4:25
  • When my father remodeled his Master Bedroom (this was in CA) he was required to have two exits from the room that were large enough for a fire-fighter with an airtank to get through. One of these was the door, and the other was a large (inoperable) bay window that fit the requirement because the firefighter could just break through the glass. So my guess would go along with this answer: a second emergency exit. – Mark Feb 5 '16 at 19:40
  • @Mark: I am not sure what the local codes may be like in that area at the time but that is not consistent with the IRC, which requires only one emergency escape route. (Although since the emergency exit must lead directly outside, there often end up being two since most people want a door to their bedroom from inside the house). Also, according to the IRC it does not count as an exit if it is not operable. You can read the current IRC code on emergency escape if you are interested. – Hank Feb 5 '16 at 21:55
  • @HenryJackson I am not sure the Inspector for that particular project was up to date on modern building codes, as a matter of fact. He retired the same year. But the whole thing is a mess because the city is unincorporated, which means it falls under county (and not city) guide lines and it ends up being a huge mess in terms of what the rules are. – Mark Feb 6 '16 at 5:59

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