BCAB #1363 - Design of Guardrail to Prevent Climbing, Article 9.8.8.5.

August 16, 1994

BCAB #1363

Re: Design of Guardrail to Prevent Climbing, Article 9.8.8.5.

Project Description

The project in question is a dwelling unit with an above ground sun deck. The design for the required guard around the sun deck shows pickets which are 13/8 thick and 23/8 wide and are shaped to resemble turned spindles. The guardrail design indicates the spindles are installed on 51/4 centres which would leave a minimum space between the widest portions of the spindles of 27/8.

Reason for Appeal

Article 9.8.8.5. stipulates that all required guards around decks attached to buildings of residential occupancy be designed so that...no member, attachment or opening located between 100 mm and 900 mm above the balcony floor will facilitate climbing.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the spindles do not present a safety hazard and have never failed to pass inspection anywhere else in the province.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the spindles, as installed, provide a foothold which facilitates climbing. Therefore, the guardrail does not conform to Article 9.8.8.5. The official notes that the spindles are installed approximately 23/8 apart and the shaped portion of the spindles provides the foothold.

Appeal Board Decision #1363

It is the determination of the Board that the specific spindles in question could facilitate climbing if installed at 23/8 face to face as indicated by the building official but could be acceptable if spaced at not less than the 51/4 centre to centre (27/8 face to face) spacing shown on the design drawings. The Board points out that the Code requires guards that do not facilitate climbing as opposed to preventing climbing. The Oxford Dictionary defines facilitate as making easy or promoting and the Board did not feel that this guard as designed promoted climbing or made climbing easy.

The Board emphasizes that no attempt should be made to apply this appeal decision on a generic basis as the decision relates only to this specific guard design.

George R. Humphrey, Chair