Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012
According to Thom Zaremba, a consultant to the Glass Association of North America (GANA) who presented the proposal on behalf of GICC, “it is unlikely that fabricators will ever know whether walkways beneath any particular guard rail system will or will not be permanently protected. Therefore, it is unlikely that fabricators will be able to rely on the exception to avoid the necessity to laminate fully tempered or heat strengthened glass used in these systems.”
During the GANA Fall Conference in September Zaremba explained that the GICC had initially proposed the change earlier this year, but the ICC structural technical committee voted to recommend disapproval. After which GICC submitted a comment based on extensive research, bringing forward cases of a number of balcony failures in both Canada and the United States.
Zaremba said that during this most recent round of hearings, the ICC membership voted by a 2/3 majority to approve “as submitted” GICC’s proposal. The code change will now be included as part of the 2015 IBC.
During the Fall Conference, though, Zaremba had pointed out there are still only a few jurisdictions that have adopted the 2012 IBC “so [the change] is not likely to have an immediate impact.”
Zaremba also told USGlass magazine that during the Final Action hearings he heard from at least one building code official suggesting that these systems may also lack adequate regulation relating to their design and/or construction. He pointed out that this change may not be the end of new regulations that affect not just the glass used in these systems, but also the design and construction of these systems.