Guardrails – Florida Building Code 5th Edition (2014) 3


Florida Building Code SECTION 1013 GUARDS

(Located in Florida Building Code Chapter 10 – Means of Egress)

 

1013.1 General.

Guards shall comply with the provisions of Sections 1013.2 through 1013.7.

Operable windows with sills located more than 72 inches (1.83 m) above finished

grade or other surface below shall comply with Section 1013.8.

1013.2 Where required.

Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, including

mezzanines, equipment platforms, stairs, ramps and landings that are located

more than 30 inches (762 mm) measured vertically to the floor or grade below at

any point within 36 inches (914 mm) horizontally to the edge of the open side.

Guards shall be adequate in strength and attachment in accordance with Section

1607.8.

Exception: Guards are not required for the following locations:

  1. On the loading side of loading docks or piers.
  2. On the audience side of stages and raised platforms, including steps leading up

to the stage and raised platforms.

  1. On raised stage and platform floor areas, such as runways, ramps and side

stages used for entertainment or presentations.

  1. At vertical openings in the performance area of stages and platforms.
  2. At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to

and utilization of special lighting or equipment.

  1. Along vehicle service pits not accessible to the public.
  2. In assembly seating where guards in accordance with Section 1028.14 are

permitted and provided.

1013.2.1 Glazing.

Mesh Rails Through Glass Rail

Where glass is used to provide a guard or as a portion of the guard system, the

guard shall also comply with Section 2407. Where the glazing provided does not

meet the strength and attachment requirements of Section 1607.8, complying

guards shall also be located along glazed sides of open-sided walking surfaces.

1013.3 Height.

Required guards shall not be less than 42 inches (1067 mm) high, measured

vertically as follows:

  1. From the adjacent walking surfaces;
  2. On stairs, from the line connecting the leading edges of the tread nosings; and
  3. On ramps, from the ramp surface at the guard.

Exceptions:

  1. For occupancies in Group R-3 not more than three stories above grade in

height and within individual dwelling units in occupancies in Group R-2 not more

than three stories above grade in height with separate means of egress, required

guards shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height measured vertically

above the adjacent walking surfaces or adjacent fixed seating.

  1. For occupancies in Group R-3, and within individual dwelling units in

occupancies in Group R-2, guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height

not less than 34 inches (864 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the

leading edges of the treads.

  1. For occupancies in Group R-3, and within individual dwelling units in

occupancies in Group R-2, where the top of the guard also serves as a handrail

on the open sides of stairs, the top of the guard shall not be less than 34 inches

(864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm) measured vertically from a line

connecting the leading edges of the treads.

  1. The guard height in assembly seating areas shall comply with Section 1028.14.
  2. Along alternating tread devices and ship ladders, guards whose top rail also

serves as a handrail, shall have height not less than 30 inches (762 mm) and not

more than 34 inches (864 mm), measured vertically from the leading edge of the

device tread nosing.

1013.4 Opening limitations.

Aluminum Balcony Rail

Aluminum Balcony Rail

Required guards shall not have openings which allow passage of a sphere 4

inches (102 mm) in diameter from the walking surface to the required guard

height.

Exceptions:

  1. From a height of 36 inches (914 mm) to 42 inches (1067 mm), guards shall not

have openings which allow passage of a sphere 43/8 inches (111 mm) in diameter.

  1. The triangular openings at the open sides of a stair, formed by the riser, tread

and bottom rail shall not allow passage of a sphere 6 inches (152 mm) in

diameter.

  1. At elevated walking surfaces for access to and use of electrical, mechanical or

plumbing systems or equipment, guards shall not have openings which allow

passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

  1. In areas that are not open to the public within occupancies in Group I-3, F, H or

S, and for alternating tread devices and ship ladders, guards shall not have

openings which allow passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

  1. In assembly seating areas, guards at the end of aisles where they terminate at

a fascia of boxes, balconies and galleries shall not have openings which allow

passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter (102 mm) up to a height of 26 inches

(660 mm). From a height of 26 inches (660 mm) to 42 inches (1067 mm) above

the adjacent walking surfaces, guards shall not have openings which allow

passage of a sphere 8 inches (203 mm) in diameter.

  1. Within individual dwelling units and sleeping units in Group R-2 and R-3

occupancies, guards on the open sides of stairs shall not have openings which

allow passage of a sphere 43/8 (111 mm) inches in diameter.


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3 thoughts on “Guardrails – Florida Building Code 5th Edition (2014)

  • John Miles

    Question, if we build a retention wall between two houses and the height is over 30 inches from the level of one’s property from the base of the other property, do we need to have a guardrail to comply with Florida code?

  • J FULLERTON

    QUESTION: FOR BALCONY GUARDRAILS ON MULTI-FAMILY MID-RISE BUILDINGS, ARE HORIZONTAL ALUMINUM MEMBERS SPACED TO PREVENT PASSAGE OF A 4″ OBJECT, ACCEPTABLE?

    • Chris Kimsey Post author

      Even though it seems counter intuitive it is acceptable. For pools there is a 1 3/4 max allowable space between vertical members so as not to create a “ladder”, but with guardrails there is not.