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BCBC2018 - climbability of guards

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Mac Moonfire, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. Mac Moonfire

    Mac Moonfire Registered User

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    Hi,
    The BCBC2018, depending on interpretation, allows horizontal wires on guards located less 4.2m from the adjacent surface. Talking with a couple of jurisdictions in BC, They still don't allow horizontal wires no matter what hight the guard is. I have heard of jurisdiction(s) asking for an engineer to sign off on such guards to be accepted.
    The logic against them horizontal cables is that even when installed 4" o.c. and tighten up the wazou, when a vertical force is applied (ei: a kid climbing the guard), the cables flex apart. Plus, the cables loosen over time and need to be retightened.

    Are you guys accepting them? is it different in other provinces? Any info would be welcome.


    9.8.8.6. Design of Guards to Not Facilitate Climbing
    1) Except for guards in industrial occupancies, guards required by Article 9.8.8.1. that protect a level located more than 4.2 m above the adjacent level shall be designed so that no member, attachment or opening located between 140 mm and 900 mm above the level protected by the guard facilitates climbing
     
  2. TheCommish

    TheCommish Sawhorse

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    It depends on how far apart the post are, or intermediate supports. IRC allows, commercial occupancy except for exception does not allow claimable
     
  3. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I have encountered the cable guard twice in my career. The easiest solution to the deflection of the cables is spacing them 3" apart rather than 4". They can be made tight enough to play a musical note. Deflection is negligible and there is an argument that deflection is not in the code. Here is a thread that deals with the deflection issue:
    https://www.thebuildingcodeforum.com/forum/threads/guard-deflection-pass-fail-and-or-compliance.27410/

    As to climbable, that does not come into our code unless there is a body of water on the other side of the guard....or perhaps a gorilla.

     
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  4. tmurray

    tmurray Registered User

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    The national code has similar language in the 2015 version. The code permits horizontal guards. That code is adopted by my elected officials as written, so that is what I enforce.

    The problem is the "deflection over time". When I inspect a building, I am saying that at that moment in time, the building meets code. I cannot comment on what will happen as soon as I leave. Will the occupant remove handrails? Nail an egress window closed? Who knows. These officials who are hypothesizing about what may happen, while well intentioned, are exposing their employer and themselves to additional liability. If they are looking at what may happen for one thing, they should be looking at what may happen for all things. This is a standard of care item and not necessary for the official to perform to. Basically, they are buying extra liability that they don't need to.

    The other issue I have is that these officials are saying something is prohibited based on what MAY happen. If you were to ask them where the code violation was, they could not point to a code section as it was in compliance at the time of inspection. There is some allowances for discretion in the delivery of your duties as an official, but this has to be evidence based. So, I would ask them what evidence they have that these will (not may) loosen over time.

    On the practical side, The 4" spacing is so a toddler's head does not get stuck. what are the chances that a toddler sticks their head between the guards at the exact moment someone is attempting to climb the guards? The Supreme Court of Canada dictates that officials must evaluate the gravity of harm, likelihood of harm, and cost of repair before ordering a code violation be remedied. If I am looking at it through that lens, I can't justify anything in this situation.
     
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  5. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    This subject seems to always come back to what people think is climbable and what is really being climb.

    IF you do some research of children falling from balconies in Canada, what I found and read noted solid half height walls or vertical balusters where in place as guards when climbing was involved, and the climbing was done on other items on the balcony, chairs, etc.....
    Thus one is only guessing, but it happens the majority of the time when they can't see whats on the other side when you factor in a major portion being solid walls.

    The vast majority of AHJ in the USA have allowed horizontal guards for decades and there is no evidence of any issue that this policy has created with injuries.

    One can make the strong argument that when comparing issues and climbing, that mandating that all kitchen and utility cabinets be required to be installed with child safety locks, than not allowing horizontal guard infill.

    Simply why one and not the other, when clearly the one has proven to reduce, the other has not.
     
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  6. tmurray

    tmurray Registered User

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    This evidence that children who fell from elevated platforms actually climbed other items placed adjacent to the guards, not the guards themselves, was presented to the National Research Council and drove the code change. I don't understand why local officials would take it upon themselves to reject the change.
     
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  7. Mac Moonfire

    Mac Moonfire Registered User

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    Hi Folks, Thank you for your comments. You have brought good arguments to the table.
     
  8. Mac Moonfire

    Mac Moonfire Registered User

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    I have also contacted BC building and Safety Standards and here's the answer:
    the NBC changes were intended to allow greater design flexibility, and this
    included horizontal cable guards as an example. They still have to meet the 100mm spacing, and the debate rages on
    about deflection of the individual cables, and whether or not any pressure must be applied to the 100mm sphere to test
    the cable deflection. The code does not provide specifics on this, simply stating the passage of that sphere must be
    prevented.​
    We are now allowing cable guards with cables 2"o.c. to account for the potential flex in the cables. We'll reassess when they figure it out.:)
    Thank you again for all your helpful comments.
     
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