BCAB #1213 - Article 188.8.131.52., Climbability of Balcony Guard
July 20, 1990
Re: Article 184.108.40.206., Climbability of Balcony Guard
Exterior balcony guards made with turned wood spindles and used primarily on single family dwellings.
Reason for Appeal
Article 220.127.116.11. requires guards around exterior balconies on residential buildings to be nonclimbable between 100 mm and 900 mm above the balcony floor. Any member, attachment or opening that would facilitate climbing is prohibited.
The Code was intending to prohibit horizontal ladder-like guards which are very easy for small children to climb. Turned wood spindles should not be considered climbable.
Building Official's Position
When the turned wood spindles are installed at the maximum spacing that will still prevent the passage of a four inch sphere between them (Article 18.104.22.168.) a child or adult foot can span between them with sufficient grip to permit climbing.
Appeal Board Decision #1213
The particular turned wood spindles forming the guard reviewed in this appeal are considered to facilitate climbing in their lower sections and therefore do not conform to Article 22.214.171.124. However, guards containing spindles could be designed that would not facilitate climbing and for this reason no attempt should be made to apply this Appeal decision on a generic basis.
In arriving at this decision the Board considered the intent of the Code is not to permit guards that facilitate climbing by young children. To this end there should be no "member, attachment or opening" which provides a foothold between 100 mm and 900 mm above the floor.
George R. Humphrey, Chair