BCAB #1213 - Article, Climbability of Balcony Guard

July 20, 1990

BCAB #1213

Re: Article, Climbability of Balcony Guard

Project Description

Exterior balcony guards made with turned wood spindles and used primarily on single family dwellings.

Reason for Appeal

Article 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.

Appellant's Position

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 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 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