Florida Building Code SECTION 1013 GUARDS
Note: A Newer Version of this is located in GUARDRAILS – FLORIDA BUILDING CODE 6TH EDITION (2017)
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
Exception: Guards are not required for the following locations:
- On the loading side of loading docks or piers.
- On the audience side of stages and raised platforms, including steps leading up
to the stage and raised platforms.
- On raised stage and platform floor areas, such as runways, ramps and side
stages used for entertainment or presentations.
- At vertical openings in the performance area of stages and platforms.
- At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to
and utilization of special lighting or equipment.
- Along vehicle service pits not accessible to the public.
- In assembly seating where guards in accordance with Section 1028.14 are
permitted and provided.
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.
Required guards shall not be less than 42 inches (1067 mm) high, measured
vertically as follows:
- From the adjacent walking surfaces;
- On stairs, from the line connecting the leading edges of the tread nosings; and
- On ramps, from the ramp surface at the guard.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The guard height in assembly seating areas shall comply with Section 1028.14.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
16 Replies to “Guardrails – Florida Building Code 5th Edition (2014)”
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?
QUESTION: FOR BALCONY GUARDRAILS ON MULTI-FAMILY MID-RISE BUILDINGS, ARE HORIZONTAL ALUMINUM MEMBERS SPACED TO PREVENT PASSAGE OF A 4″ OBJECT, ACCEPTABLE?
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.
Are stainless steel cable railing systems run horizontally allowed on high riser residential buildings?
Stainless steel cable railing is allowed for fall protection. The spacing between the cables must be less than 4″.
Thank you, is this for residential lanai’s and installed horizontally as well?
I am staying in a 4th floor rental condo that has a balcony with 5 3/4″ spaces between the balcony rails. This is an older building. I think this is unsafe for my small grandchildren as the spaces between the rails look big enough for toddlers to get through. Isn’t this against Florida code? I thought maximum spacing width between rails was 4″ Please clarify if I have this correct. if so, are older buildings exempt from this code? Thank you.
You do have it correct 4″ is the maximum opening per code in most places, but older construction is grandfathered in. If the balcony railing is ever replaced, then it will need to meet current code requirements.
We own a condo in Gulfport, Fl the association and board are saying we need to replace the railings. The buildings were built in 1960/70 railings are 36 inches high. The condo is less than 75 feet high. They are telling us by 2021 everyone will have to replace them. Condo owners are upset and would like to know the answer if we are required by law.
Blind Rails—— is it true that a “Blind Rail” which is set on the walkway below a stair to make sure a Blind Person will not walk headlong into the underside of the stair?
The height of the rail= 28”?
Length is 6’-8” from the point where the bottom of stair is 28” from the ground? Can the length vary any? Like say 6’-8” to 6’-10”?
Can someone answer this information?
Those rails are normally called “cane rails”. They have a max height of 27″, so a 28″ high cane rail would not meet ADA requirements.
We have more info about this on our website at Cane Rails For Protruding objects
Hope this helps.
I am renting a canal property and the yard drops right off at retaining wall 12 feet. There is no rail to protect is the landlord responsible to have one
How high off a screened porch balcony floor does the rails have to be.
It depends on whether it is residential or commercial.
According to the Florida Building Code 2017- https://barfieldfence.com/guardrails-florida-building-code-6th-edition-2017/ – For most applications the rule is 42″ or greater, but for residential not more than 3 stories the rule is 36″ or greater.
Know the height for the railings in balconies is 42 inches, can you tell me if in 2011 was the same height rule? one architect told me it used to be 41 inches
what is the height of a deck railing in clay county fl?