July Bulletin

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  • Cable Guard railsIn the release of the 2018 edition of the British Columbia Building Code, the province relaxed the requirements of guards. The allowance of structural horizontal guards were added into the code for applications where the grade to deck / floor height is less than 4.2 meters effectively allowing climbable guards. For heights above the 4.2 meter differential, climbable guards / horizontal guards are still not allowed and vertical pickets are required. During the role out of these changes by the province the only examples presented were structural steel fabricated guards and the province was silent on cables or wire guards (vertical or horizontal). The performance requirements of the code present a requirement of the guard to prevent a 100mm sphere from passing thru the elements under defined loads. It is generically understood that this 100mm sphere is representative of a child head, so a head does not pass thru the guard become lodged or worse. For structural elements this normally easy to resist the defined loads from allowing the sphere from passing thru between any portion of the guards unless the structural elements are very slender. Wires and Cables by nature are slender and very susceptible to movement under load unless tensioned to a high load, placed on very close centers or restrained with rigid end posts and termination clips. To achieve this guardrail design with wire or cables to meet the requirements of the code site specific engineering would be required unless it can be proven that a generic sealed design for use in BC exists like the glass industry or aluminum guard rail industry has done.
  • Video Door Viewer in lieu of Optical Door ViewerThe City of Kelowna has historically accepted a video door viewer as an alternative solution for many years. The advancement of home security, Bluetooth devices and personal electronics have been advancing as time goes by and we have been trying to adapt to this changing environment. The other factor is the expense of the custom doors that are being installed and the air tight requirement to meet NAFS certification for these doors to meet step code standards It is our generic understanding that the door viewer is intended to identify who is at the door before unlocking the latch so that they can’t hide their identity. For this to happen the alternative solution would require that the electronic viewer displays who is on the other side of the door with a fixed viewing screen mounted near the door. We have been approached many times to request the use of a hand held device (ie Cell phone or iPad like devices) to be used as the screen. In the context that the optical viewer is a fixed item in the door we have historically only accepted the hard wired and permanently mounted screen in the near vicinity of the door. The exact location is usually defined at time of framing so that the wiring can be installed before the drywall is installed.
  • Glass Guard Rails

    Glass guard rails has been a hot topic of debate in the province for some time due to the popularity of the open feeling it creates. There is basically two main types of glass guards:
    Frameless Glass Guards
    i. These are very popular and have been for some time, but the registered British Columbia specialty Engineers that deal with the design of glass are currently not supporting this design moving forward. There has been law suites within the industry relating back to edge chips on the tempered glass used that cause the glass to catastrophically fail under load or thru thermal differential. This potential of failure is what is forcing change within the industry and not change in City policy.
    Framed Glass Guards
    i. This is the current version of glass guards that have a form of edge protection although there is talk of new multi layered glass that may come on the market soon. It appears that this is the only style of guards supported by the BC engineers

The City of Kelowna is not in the industry of dictating engineering standards of design or requesting that the builders employ engineers for guards if properly designed as generic details. Our Building Inspectors do request proof of a
engineered product designed to the current edition of the British Columbia Building Code. If the installation meets the approved standard we will review the required support framing at time framing inspection and collect the sealed
drawing(s) at time of Final inspection. The sealed drawings are for archiving purposes as these are component engineering just like roof trusses or other component products within the house. If the design of the glass guards are not generic in design then we will require site specific engineering to deal with these specialty installs. Our goal is not to add additional expenses to the construction of the house without warrant.