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BCBC2018 - climbability of guards

Sifu

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I happen to believe we are required to provide opinions and make judgement calls, especially in performance based codes. I don't have a way to test a handrail for a 200lb load in every direction, performance codes like those are inherently unenforceable with the tools we have. But I can lean on a guard, and if I fear it will fail and take me with it, I make a judgement call. The ball is in their court now, the burden is now theirs to rectify it. On the other hand, I can return to the same guard and lean on it, and step back and say wow! that is a solid rail, I can happily move along.

As I understand it, BCC is more performance based, so you may be more comfortable than me in a performance code, but they do exist in the ICC, and whether we like it or not we have to deal with them. If the ICC codes don't expect us to make these judgement calls, then they better get a whole lot more prescriptive, and recognize the limitations of what can be enforced/tested in the field.
 

tbz

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Read PC2 again, and I still can't determine the whether the proposal is intending to require a special inspection. Or is it an unintended result of the code? Or am I reading it all together wrong?
No special inspection, its a load requirement just like the 200 point load along the top of the guard in any direction.

The hope is to add it to the AC-273 test standard along as with the 1sqft on infill, but that is why the IBC for now, as engineers will be required to verify the infill will comply with the required load.
 

tbz

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I think an inspector should have an opinion regarding whether a building system is a hazard or not. The codes do not spell out direction for every scenario we encounter, such as the one being discussed.
Plumb-bob,

I can't speak for north of the boarder, but in the IBC it lays out the requirements for measurements in chapter 10 and structural requirements in chapter 16. The ICC has noted that the 4" requirement is a measurement and not a load requirement. The load requirements are in chapter 16.

Thus, engineers certify that a guard's design and can provide a report upon inspection that a specific installation meets all the requirements of the adopted IBC enforced by the local AHJ. An inspector may not like it, but the reality of it is, if it complies and they have proof it does in the form of an engineers report with all the proper stamps and certs, failing because you don't "Think" it's safe other personal opinion is not an option that is going to keep you employed long.

My point is, applying force without certified testing equipment and being qualified to run that equipment and or preform the calculations and provided them in a report allows the inspector to question if it complies and request proof of compliance, if does not allow them to take a personal stand and just say I don't like it.

That leads to appeals and overturns, and from what I have seen to many of those leaves an inspector looking for another place to work and eventually looking into another career.

Interpretation is everything, but finding out what you don't like complies and just not approving it is not how the code and the law work.

You don't like what the code allows, then get it changed, but don't make it up as you go along.
 

ICE

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Plumb-bob,

I can't speak for north of the boarder, but in the IBC it lays out the requirements for measurements in chapter 10 and structural requirements in chapter 16. The ICC has noted that the 4" requirement is a measurement and not a load requirement. The load requirements are in chapter 16.

Thus, engineers certify that a guard's design and can provide a report upon inspection that a specific installation meets all the requirements of the adopted IBC enforced by the local AHJ. An inspector may not like it, but the reality of it is, if it complies and they have proof it does in the form of an engineers report with all the proper stamps and certs, failing because you don't "Think" it's safe other personal opinion is not an option that is going to keep you employed long.

My point is, applying force without certified testing equipment and being qualified to run that equipment and or preform the calculations and provided them in a report allows the inspector to question if it complies and request proof of compliance, if does not allow them to take a personal stand and just say I don't like it.

That leads to appeals and overturns, and from what I have seen to many of those leaves an inspector looking for another place to work and eventually looking into another career.

Interpretation is everything, but finding out what you don't like complies and just not approving it is not how the code and the law work.

You don't like what the code allows, then get it changed, but don't make it up as you go along.
Plumb-bob didn't even come close to stepping out of bounds. He fails to approve what should fail and you send him to the trash heap of lousy inspectors? If what he has described deserves bannishment, I should face a firing squad.
 

tmurray

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Part of settled law in Canada is that officials can use a reasonable amount of discretion in the completion of their duties.

In this situation, the 100mm (4") rule is for head entrapment for a toddler, so the force applied would need to be close to what a toddler could apply.

I've dealt with lawyers representing people who feel that I am just being mean to them. When I describe our process to their lawyer the response I hear is "well, that does sound like a reasonable approach. I'll advise my client that they should just do what you say."
 

Sifu

Sawhorse
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Sep 3, 2011
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Purpose
The IBC, as with any other I-Code®, is intended to be
adopted as a legally enforceable document to provide a
reasonable level of safety, and protection of public
health, general welfare and property. A building code
cannot be effective without adequate provisions for its
administration and enforcement. The official charged
with the administration and enforcement of building regulations
has a great responsibility, and with this responsibility
goes authority. No matter how detailed the
building code may be, the building official must, to some
extent, exercise his or her own judgment in determining
code compliance.
The building official has the responsibility
to establish that the homes in which the citizens of
the community reside and the buildings in which they
work are designed and constructed to be structurally
stable with adequate means of egress, accessibility,
light and ventilation, and to provide a minimum acceptable
level of protection to life and property from fire.
 

Plumb-bob

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I think it is a fine line we all walk, but the end goal is safe and healthy buildings. I have a good relationship with my employer, and was once told "if in doubt, err on the side of safety and we will back you up". My post stated that I can require testing, so this gives the client an opportunity to prove the system is safe. I am fairly new in the game (4 years), and have had less trouble with the technical aspects of the job such as understanding and interpreting code, and more trouble with how to deal with situations like this where the answer is not spelled out for you and you have to work with the client towards a solution. That is where having a good mentor to ask questions of is extremely valuable.
My approach in an unclear situation is to distill the issue to code intent, and ultimately safety. I have certainly made a pile of mistakes along the way.
 

ICE

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was once told "if in doubt, err on the side of safety
When I was new to the job I told the office manager that I encounter situations that I know are wrong but there is no specific code to deal with it. He said, “You’re smart enough to make up a code and the contractors don’t know the code.” I’m pleased that I learned that early in my career.

As it turned out, I haven’t had to resort to making up code out of thin air….but it’s nice to know that I can. I might be splitting rabbits but writing a correction that has no basis in code is not the same as fabricating code.

As an aside for some of you: I heard the bang but you missed.
 
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Sifu

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S102-22 came up after I went down. What action was taken?
 

Inspector Gadget

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Purpose
The IBC, as with any other I-Code®, is intended to be
Note that this is the Canadian Codes forum. We have a completely different set of Codes. We reference many of the same standards (esp NFPA), but there are some notable differences.

That said the guidance is the same. "Codes are meant to be interpreted by reasonable people" is a quote I've heard a few times.

When I was new to the job I told the office manager that I encounter situations that I know are wrong but there is no specific code to deal with it. He said, “You’re smart enough to make up a code and the contractors don’t know the code.”

Many times I have had a "gut instinct" that says to me "they can't do that." Most of those times I can find a code/standard that proves my guts correct.
But never "make something up," as that just leads to a world of issues.
Interpretation is a different matter ...
Part of settled law in Canada is that officials can use a reasonable amount of discretion in the completion of their duties.

In this situation, the 100mm (4") rule is for head entrapment for a toddler, so the force applied would need to be close to what a toddler could apply.

Exactly. I grasp the cable with two fingers and pull fairly gently. If it displaces more than 4" (10 cm), it fails. To add to the above, "reasonableness" is a frequent standard in Canadian Law.
 

ICE

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Many times I have had a "gut instinct" that says to me "they can't do that." Most of those times I can find a code/standard that proves my guts correct.
But never "make something up," as that just leads to a world of issues.
Interpretation is a different matter ...
The inspectors that contribute here are vocal about sticking to the code as it is written and staying within the confines of the documents. In the wild it's, well wildly different than that. As far as problems go, bogus code citation doesn't even make the list.

Previously I said that I could get away with making up code because the contractors don't know the code. Once I get not too far away from this forum, nobody knows the code. I don't want to overstate the issue as I have encountered practitioners that have a grasp that suits the environment. In other words, they are good enough in the minds of the heavey thinkers at the AHJ. That is after all, what matters. The three Ps make the inspector Personable, Presentable and Punctual. If you can do that you just might be the candidate they were looking for. Proficient was a requirement …long ago.

I don't tell you this as an excuse for what I have done...and will probably repeat. In the grand scheme of things I am more of a saint than a sinner...but not by a lot.
 
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tbz

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Part of settled law in Canada is that officials can use a reasonable amount of discretion in the completion of their duties.

In this situation, the 100mm (4") rule is for head entrapment for a toddler, so the force applied would need to be close to what a toddler could apply.

I've dealt with lawyers representing people who feel that I am just being mean to them. When I describe our process to their lawyer the response I hear is "well, that does sound like a reasonable approach. I'll advise my client that they should just do what you say."
Tmurray,

100mm and 4" sphere is not for the head of a toddler, that is not the intent, it is for the body of a toddler.

The side profile of the toddlers is smaller than the head, as thus you need a space closed down to prevent the body, so that a toddler does not slip their body through and then be held hanging by the head.

A very miss quoted and understood reason for the 4" and it is also why the 4-3/8" is allowed on stairs in "R"s.
 

tbz

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S102-22 came up after I went down. What action was taken?
We asked for the GV to overturn the committee action to hear PC-02 for S102-22 and we lost the vote 46% to 54%, the simple majority di not allow for use to get the pc heard.

S157-22 passed

On to RB's

RB 24-22 and RB25-22 both were voted down.

RB44-22 passed

Next up is RB79-22 looking for a down vote

RB118-22 looking for approval and overturn the committee,

Then on to RB173-22 being upheld and AM by PC-01, PC-02 speak against .
 

tbz

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ICE & Plumb Bob,

I have no issue with an inspector flagging anything at all and requesting verification and or proof by engineering, but when you ding something that is compliant per the code, and still hold to a ding. I do have issues with those inspectors.

HAving judgement and questions are different than being shown compliance and still saying no per an opinion.
 

Joe.B

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Myrtletown Ca
Tmurray,

100mm and 4" sphere is not for the head of a toddler, that is not the intent, it is for the body of a toddler.

The side profile of the toddlers is smaller than the head, as thus you need a space closed down to prevent the body, so that a toddler does not slip their body through and then be held hanging by the head.

A very miss quoted and understood reason for the 4" and it is also why the 4-3/8" is allowed on stairs in "R"s.
Thanks for sharing this, I've not heard this interpretation. Could you elaborate a little on the 4 3/8" exception for stairs? I've never heard a good explanation for this being allowed, and so specifically on residential stairs only. Thanks!
 

tbz

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Thanks for sharing this, I've not heard this interpretation. Could you elaborate a little on the 4 3/8" exception for stairs? I've never heard a good explanation for this being allowed, and so specifically on residential stairs only. Thanks!
So being the proponent of that change in 2000 for the 2001 IRC supplement I can elaborate specifically for you Joe.

  • So young children are not yet mobile enough to negotiate stair flights in the vertical manner, as much as they are on floors in the beginning. Thus, crawling children will roll and maybe use a vertical balustrade as support to stand up. the 95% of children by the time they can start going up and down stairs in a vertical method have body sizes of 4.75" ergonomics tell us this. As thus, 4.375 is under that size.
  • However, a younger child could roll down a flight accidentally, thus the 4" is required for open risers.
  • The 6" is because of the age group and sizes to be able to be in a position and get through a triangle area.
So, with this knowledge in place.
  • IRC / CABO 1&2 Family allowed and is still modified today in many jurisdictions to 9" treads and 8.25" risers which is fine for many balustrades for the 4" opening on the sides of residential stair flights.
  • The IRC adopted a 10" tread minimum and a 7.75" riser maximum and as thus, 4" opening limitations would require 3 balusters per tread to keep in compliance.
    • As thus, I showed stair flights and the sizes of children at the age to be in that position are larger than 4.75" body size and by allowing the 4.375" you are allowing only 2 balusters per tread rather than 3, and no reduction of safety.
 

Joe.B

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Awesome! That makes a lot of sense. I thought that it might have to do with the number of balustrades, but I've never seen it in practice. Most (all?) builders around here are unaware of that exception, so everything I see still has 4".

Thanks for sharing the reasoning behind this!
 

tmurray

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Tmurray,

100mm and 4" sphere is not for the head of a toddler, that is not the intent, it is for the body of a toddler.

The side profile of the toddlers is smaller than the head, as thus you need a space closed down to prevent the body, so that a toddler does not slip their body through and then be held hanging by the head.

A very miss quoted and understood reason for the 4" and it is also why the 4-3/8" is allowed on stairs in "R"s.
I appreciate you calling me out on this. It forced me to look up the intent statement. Apparently, we are both correct:

Intent 1:​

To limit the probability of excessively large openings in guards, which could lead to small children falling through the guards or having their head lodged between guard elements, which could lead to harm to persons.

Intent 2:​

In cases where a less stringent requirement is not specifically stated, to limit the probability of excessively large openings in guards, which could lead to adults falling through the guards, which could lead to harm to persons.
 
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