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External Guard Loading Basics

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In the last installment of the Window Geeks: Master Class, we covered different glass types in anticipation of our new topic: Guard loads. This week we’re diving into the basics – what are guard loads, and how will they impact your project? We’ll be following up next time with an in-depth white paper on the subject, so be sure to brush up with this helpful guide beforehand!

What is a Guard, and what’s a Guard Load?

A guard is a protective barrier to prevent accidental falls from one level to another. Guard loads, then, are the loads that said guards must be able to withstand as dictated by regulations. Guard loads are often expressed in terms of lbs applied to the guard. This includes windows when they are acting as guards, to prevent these accidental falls due to glass breakage.

How do window Guard Loads impact your project?

There is no actual reference in the BC Building Code for windows to meet the requirements of guard railings. There is, however, a requirement for a wall to be able to meet code-specified guard loads when the wall separates a drop in floor of 2 feet to the outside. But here’s where it gets tricky… Because windows are located in exterior walls, it is understood that a window within this wall must meet guard load forces.

What is included in our Guard Loads White Paper?

There is a specific section in the BC Building Code for windows, and also one for guard railings. It is important to understand that windows have their own requirements for fall protection. To make the situation even more complicated, the code does not require windows to meet all the requirements of a guard railing – just the specified guard loads.

As your certified Window Geeks, we’ve done extensive research on when and how a window should meet guard loads in a new construction building. Keep an eye out for the next installment, where we’ll be sharing this white paper – providing the knowledge you need to ensure everything is correct from the get-go.

Become an Expert with the Window Geeks: Master Class

Be sure to sign up for our Master Class to follow along. Have a project you're working on? Reach out to the Window Geeks early in the process and let’s make sure it's a success together.

Written by: Les Ferris , June 20, 2023
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