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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you know fall guards are required above 30" and I think the most common minimum height for a fall guard is 36".

We commonly see windows whose sills are less than 36" above the floor and where the fall out of the window exceeds 30".

What am I missing?

Reason for asking: new porch design with window sills 14" above floor, and porch 6' above grade. If no windows, railings would be required. With windows, what's the protection when the windows are open? (And with windows closed, why not require tempered?)

thanks.
 

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North Carolina 2010 building code 1405.13.2. ... where the opening of the sill portion of of an operable window is located more than 72 inches above the finished grade or other surface below, the lowest part of the clear opening of the window shall be at a height not less than 24 inches above the finished floor surface of the room in which the window is located. Glazing between the floor and a height of 24 inches shall be fixed or have openings through which a 4-inch dimeter sphere cannot pass.

Exception: Openings that are provided with window guards that comply with ASTM F 2006 or F 2090
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
North Carolina 2010 building code 1405.13.2. ... where the opening of the sill portion of of an operable window is located more than 72 inches above the finished grade or other surface below, the lowest part of the clear opening of the window shall be at a height not less than 24 inches above the finished floor surface of the room in which the window is located. Glazing between the floor and a height of 24 inches shall be fixed or have openings through which a 4-inch dimeter sphere cannot pass.

Exception: Openings that are provided with window guards that comply with ASTM F 2006 or F 2090
Thanks for this and other helpful response. Do you suppose these codes have come along since the 80's? That's when my house was built and I have living room windows with sill > 6' over grade and only 14 inches over floor.
 

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This has evolved. As of 1/1/2014 California is governed by the 2013 California Building Code, based I think on the 2012 IBC, which has moved the requirement to 1013.8, and increased the sill height to 36". Check North Carolina to see if N.C. has upgraded also.

Local authorities enforced the 24" rule, and presumably will enforce the 36" rule, when people put in new windows. I've done work in one 1960's-era subdivision where every house has sliding living room windows, about 12" from the floor. A common approach for new windows is to put in a non-opening lower section with an opening upper section.

Most of the local smaller AHJs around here have a short code FAQ, listing common code questions - windows, stair measurements, etc. The window sill requirement is in most of them, I'd guess because there are a lot of failed window replacement inspections.
 

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Window fall protection has been an issue within the building codes for over a decade, thought nothing was ever enforced the issue came to a head in 2006 when the ICC charged the CTC with studying the issue and then present code changes based on those findings if warranted

What many of you reading this don't seem to follow that it takes on average 6 plus years for model code to get adopted and that many times code is modified during the adoption basis.

The city of LA in California has enforced the guard requirements on windows under 36 and 42 inches for about a decade now.

The link below will show you the process the window protection requirements went through to become part of the latest published model code and following that you can then look how it will then flow to adoption on the state and local levels

http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/CTC/Pages/default.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Been a while but if you don't mind let me resurrect this thread. I remain confused by the porches passing inspection where design includes a solid wall or enclosed balustrade at heights below 36" above deck and deck > 30" above grade. Architecturally, a screened porch with an enclosed balustrade 24" above deck is a lot more attractive than a 36" height - I just don't see how they're passing inspections. (Or maybe they're not?) Thanks.
 
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