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Opinion: Guards at opening

Subject:

Guards at opening

Code:

IRC Section R316

Submitted By:

AMBO Uniformity Committee

Approved By:

Thomas R. Joachim, State Building Official

Issue Date:

December 2003

Question:

A builder is constructing a new home with a loft overlooking a living room 9 feet below. The builder wants to place a 6 square foot opening in the loft wall overlooking the living room so that the homeowner will have a view of the room below. The opening will start one foot above the floor and be two feet wide. Does this opening require a guard? A few feet from this opening is a window that has an opening 2 feet wide by 3 feet high and has a sill one-foot above the floor. Does this window require a guard? The window has no screen. If the window does not require a guard, how does the threat of falling through this opening differ from the potential of falling from the interior opening?

Answer:

This would be an opening not a window. A guard would be required.

Committee comments:

A guard would be required for an opening in a wall more than 30 inches above floor or grade below. A guard would not be required at a window. Guards at windows have been proposed at numerous national code hearings and have consistently been disapproved.

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