Vinyl Windows in Highrise Buildings

Is it possible to use vinyl windows in highrise construction? The answer is yes, but it’s not as straightforward as working with single-family homes or smaller multi-family complexes. If you’re looking to install windows with a U value of 1.4 or better in a building over six stories, we have some solutions for you.

When can you use vinyl windows in taller buildings?

Highrise buildings are supposed to be classed as non-combustible. Despite this, vinyl windows can still be installed and you are still able to achieve code compliance. There are a few important rules to follow to accomplish this:

1: The glass to wall ratio must be 40% or less.

  • When it comes to the exterior envelope of the building, the windows must make up no more than 40% of the wall. The rest must be non-combustible materials.

2: The distance between window jams across fire separations is 1 metre or greater.

  • Across fire separations and between individual suites, the distance between window jams must be at least 1 metre to prevent a fire spreading from one suite to another.

3: The distance between the head and sill of windows must be 1 metre or greater.

  • The same rule applies vertically, so the distance from the top of a window to the bottom of the one above across floor lines must be more than 1 metre. For this rule, if you’re dealing with balconies and patio doors instead of regular windows, you can factor in the distance of the balcony.

Centra Windows has considerable experience in this area. We installed our vinyl windows in a 26 story highrise in downtown Vancouver, and we’ve been in discussions with several architects and engineers about incorporating them.There are tremendous benefits to using high-performance windows like ours when it comes to tall buildings. Having windows with a U value of 1.4 or better makes an incredible difference to that building’s energy efficiency levels. This can help bring it up to code and also improve the lives and comfort levels of residents.

To learn more about the benefits of using high-performance vinyl windows in highrise buildings, watch this video where our Window Experts break it all down. You can also reach out to our Window Expert at or call on 604-455-2159. 

We are your certified Window Geeks

We love to talk windows! The demand for glass is at its all-time highest, but we are working with our customers to ensure you get the products you need. Contact us as early in the process as possible so we can help secure your order and keep your project on schedule. We will guide you early on so that your project and supply requirements are met.

For more information on this topic (and many more!) contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or drop us an email at You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter, which provides all the tips and tricks about the window industry you could ever need.

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