Guards – Florida Building Code 7th Edition (2020)

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1015.1 General.

Guards shall comply with the provisions of Sections 1015.2 through 1015.7. Operable windows with sills located more than 72 inches (1829 mm) above finished grade or other surface below shall comply with Section 1015.8.

1015.2 Where required.

Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, including mezzaninesequipment platformsaislesstairsramps 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. 1.On the loading side of loading docks or piers.

  2. 2.On the audience side of stages and raised platforms, including stairs leading up to the stage and raised platforms.

  3. 3.On raised stage and platform floor areas, such as runways, ramps and side stages used for entertainment or presentations.

  4. 4.At vertical openings in the performance area of stages and platforms.

  5. 5.At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to and utilization of special lighting or equipment.

  6. 6.Along vehicle service pits not accessible to the public.

  7. 7.In assembly seating areas at cross aisles in accordance with Section 1029.17.2.

1015.2.1 Glazing.

Where glass is used to provide a guard or as a portion of the guard system, the guard shall comply with Section 2407. Where the glazing provided does not meet the strength and attachment requirements of Section 1607.8, complying guards shall be located along glazed sides of open-sided walking surfaces.

1015.3 Height.

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

  1. 1.From the adjacent walking surfaces.

  2. 2.On stairways and stepped aisles, from the line connecting the leading edges of the tread nosings.

  3. 3.On ramps and ramped aisles, from the ramp surface at the guard.

Exceptions:

  1. 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 be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height measured vertically above the adjacent walking surfaces.

  2. 2.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.

  3. 3.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 be not 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.

  4. 4.The guard height in assembly seating areas shall comply with Section 1029.17 as applicable.

  5. 5.Along alternating tread devices and ship’s ladders, guards where the 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.

  6. 6.In Group F occupancies, where exit access stairways serve three stories or fewer and such stairs are not open to the public, where the top of the guard also serves as a handrail, the top of the guard shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm) measured from a line connecting the leading edges of the treads.

1015.4 Opening limitations.

Required guards shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter from the walking surface to the required guard height.

Exceptions:

  1. 1.From a height of 36 inches (914 mm) to 42 inches (1067 mm), guards shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 43/8 inches (111 mm) in diameter.

  2. 2.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.

  3. 3.At elevated walking surfaces for access to and use of electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems or equipment, guards shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

  4. 4.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’s ladders, guards shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

  5. 5.In assembly seating areas, guards required at the end of aisles in accordance with Section 1029.17.4 shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter 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 that allow passage of a sphere 8 inches (203 mm) in diameter.

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

1015.5 Screen porches.

Porches and decks that are enclosed with insect screening shall be provided with guards where the walking surface is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below.

1015.6 Mechanical equipment, systems and devices.

Guards shall be provided where various components that require service are located within 10 feet (3048 mm) of a roof edge or open side of a walking surface and such edge or open side is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor, roof or grade below. The guard shall extend not less than 30 inches (762 mm) beyond each end of such components. The guard shall be constructed so as to prevent the passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

Exception: Guards are not required where permanent fall arrest/restraint anchorage connector devices that comply with ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 are affixed for use during the entire roof covering lifetime. The devices shall be reevaluated for possible replacement when the entire roof covering is replaced. The devices shall be placed not more than 10 feet (3048 mm) on center along hip and ridge lines and placed not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from the roof edge or open side of the walking surface.

1015.7 Roof access.

Guards shall be provided where the roof hatch opening is located within 10 feet (3048 mm) of a roof edge or open side of a walking surface and such edge or open side is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor, roof or grade below. The guard shall be constructed so as to prevent the passage of a sphere 21 inches (533 mm) in diameter.

Exception: Guards are not required where permanent fall arrest/restraint anchorage connector devices that comply with ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 are affixed for use during the entire roof covering lifetime. The devices shall be reevaluated for possible replacement when the entire roof covering is replaced. The devices shall be placed not more than 10 feet (3048 mm) on center along hip and ridge lines and placed not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from the roof edge or open side of the walking surface.

1015.8 Window openings.

Windows in Group R-2 and R-3 buildings including dwelling units, where the top of the sill of an operable window opening is located less than 24 inches above the finished floor and more than 72 inches (1829 mm) above the finished grade or other surface below on the exterior of the building, shall comply with one of the following:

  1. 1.Operable windows where the top of the sill of the opening is located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the finished grade or other surface below and that are provided with window fall prevention devices that comply with ASTM F2006.

  2. 2.Operable windows where the openings will not allow a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere to pass through the opening when the window is in its largest opened position.

  3. 3.Operable windows where the openings are provided with window fall prevention devices that comply with ASTM F2090.

  4. 4.Operable windows that are provided with window opening control devices that comply with Section 1015.8.1.

1015.8.1 Window opening control devices.

Window opening control devices shall comply with ASTM F2090. The window opening control device, after operation to release the control device allowing the window to fully open, shall not reduce the minimum net clear opening area of the window unit to less than the area required by Section 1030.2.

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