BCAB #938 - Safety Glass In and Around Doors, Articles 9.6.5.8. & 9.6.5.3.

September 24, 1987

BCAB #938

Re: Safety Glass In and Around Doors, Articles 9.6.5.8. & 9.6.5.3.

With reference to your letter of August 14, 1987, regarding safety glass requirements within a dwelling unit, as contained in the 1985 Building Code.

To deal with the specific questions raised:

1. The purpose of the 915 mm measurement in Article 9.6.5.8. is to place the door locks beyond the reach of glass which can provide access. Under the circumstances the distance should be taken to the portion of the lock which can be activated to gain entry. For example this could be a thumb-turn or a feature of the knob.

2. (a) The Code does not have a specific height for glass sidelights above a floor which would prevent them being mistaken for a door. An earlier edition used a height of 300 mm, but this was eventually replaced by the 500 mm width included in Article 9.6.5.3.

Under the circumstances we must conclude that the sidelight is 500 mm or less in width, no hazard is perceived, and safety glass is not mandatory under Article 9.6.5.3.

In the case of a sidelight exceeding 500 mm in width subjective judgment is necessary. The glass in such a location is subject to human impact, and must be rendered reasonably safe. If horizontal bars or other features are provided to prevent impact, this would be acceptable. With respect to the height above the floor we can only give guidance. The U.S. codes, in the same situation, impose a height of either 1524 mm or 457 mm depending on other conditions, requiring safety glass if the bottom edge is at a lesser height above the floor. In earlier Appeal No. 882, we suggested 1410 mm in bathroom, for what is probably a more hazardous location. Article 9.6.5.4. refers to a height of less than 900 mm above the bottom of a door, and we suggest that this could be a reasonable control to apply when sidelights exceed 500 mm in width.

(b) We could not accept coloured glass, even if full height, as providing the protection required by the Code. We assume you refer to normal tinted glass, and this could still be subject to human impact, even if less likely than with clear glass.

We must point out that regardless of (a) and (b) above, the provisions of Article 9.6.5.8. would still apply to any width of glass.

3. Article 9.6.5.8. does apply to all glass within the 915 mm distance from the door lock, regardless of size.

J.C. Currie, Chair