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  1. #1
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    Default Glass panel balcony

    Inspected condo with glass panel balcony and observed the glass panels are not sitting square in the gaskets.

    This has caused openings at the top and I am worried this could cause the panels to not be secure.
    They are 21 stories up over a busy downtown area.
    Any opinions or facts I can use to express my concern would be welcome.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Inspected condo with glass panel balcony and observed the glass panels are not sitting square in the gaskets.

    This has caused openings at the top and I am worried this could cause the panels to not be secure.
    They are 21 stories up over a busy downtown area.
    Any opinions or facts I can use to express my concern would be welcome.
    It's not the fall that's the problem. It's the sudden stop at the end. Not to mention standing on the sidewalk and being hit on the head by a glass panel would not be fun.

    I would note the condition, the potential problem and defer to a glazing contractor.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Trying to find a install Manuel or some facts to insert.

    Edge impact is a safety concern to the glass shattering and of course this creates an uneven load the way it is pictured.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Inspected condo with glass panel balcony and observed the glass panels are not sitting square in the gaskets.

    This has caused openings at the top and I am worried this could cause the panels to not be secure.
    They are 21 stories up over a busy downtown area.
    Any opinions or facts I can use to express my concern would be welcome.
    Sorry Bob, I don't do past the 13th floor.

    No harm in calling it out, then hand it off to your client. They're buying into the building and they want to avoid a lawsuit........ It is a job for a specialist.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Bob,

    Does the first photo show the vertical edge of the glass just to the left of the yellow line you drew?

    First, that glass would need to be safety glass (i.e., tempered), second that glass should be laminated (tempered glass will shatter into lots and lots of small pieces, which simply means that when you make that sudden stop Gunnar mentioned you make it on lots and lots of small pieces of glass instead on on a few large pieces of glass), and, the minimum thickness (as I recall) is 1/2" thick, and most are restrained on all 4 edges (although I have seen a few where were not and were engineered that way).

    Remember, that building is under the IBC, not the IRC.
    - 2407.1 Materials. Glass used as a handrail assembly or a guard section shall be constructed of either single fully tempered glass, laminated fully tempered glass or laminated heat-strengthened glass. Glazing in railing in-fill panels shall be of an approved safety glazing material that conforms to the provisions of Section 2406.1.1. For all glazing types, the minimum nominal thickness shall be 1/4 inch (6.4 mm). Fully tempered glass and laminated glass shall comply with Category II of CPSC 16 CFR 1201, listed in Chapter 35.
    - - 2407.1.1 Loads. The panels and their support system shall be designed to withstand the loads specified in Section 1607.7. A safety factor of four shall be used.
    - - 2407.1.2 Support. Each handrail or guard section shall be supported by a minimum of three glass balusters or shall be otherwise supported to remain in place should one baluster panel fail. Glass balusters shall not be installed without an attached handrail or guard.

    This is only part of the referenced 1607.7
    - 1607.7 Loads on handrails, guards, grab bars and vehicle barriers. Handrails, guards, grab bars as designed in ICC A117.1 and vehicle barriers shall be designed and constructed to the structural loading conditions set forth in this section.
    - - 1607.7.1 Handrails and guards. Handrail assemblies and guards shall be designed to resist a load of 50 plf (0.73 kN/m) applied in any direction at the top and to transfer this load through the supports to the structure. Glass handrail assemblies and guards shall also comply with Section 2407.
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. For one- and two-family dwellings, only the single concentrated load required by Section 1607.7.1.1 shall be applied.
    - - - - 2. In Group I-3, F,Hand S occupancies, for areas that are not accessible to the general public and that have an occupant load less than 50, the minimum load shall be 20 pounds per foot (0.29 kN/m).
    - - -
    1607.7.1.1 Concentrated load. Handrail assemblies and guards shall be able to resist a single concentrated load of 200 pounds (0.89 kN), applied in any direction at any point along the top, and have attachment devices and supporting structure to transfer this loading to appropriate structural elements of the building. This load need not be assumed to act concurrently with the loads specified in the preceding paragraph.
    - - - 1607.7.1.2 Components. Intermediate rails (all those except the handrail), balusters and panel fillers shall be designed to withstand a horizontally applied normal load of 50 pounds (0.22 kN) on an area equal to 1 square foot (0.093m2), including openings and space between rails. Reactions due to this loading are not required to be superimposed with those of Section 1607.7.1 or 1607.7.1.1.
    - - - 1607.7.1.3 Stress increase. Where handrails and guards are designed in accordance with the provisions for allowable stress design (working stress design) exclusively for the loads specified in Section 1607.7.1, the allowable stress for the members and their attachments are permitted to be increased by one-third.

    The "bite" of the glass is also critical and is specified in the engineering. The "bite" is the amount of glass which is held secure withing the surrounding retainers. The bite of the glass is what you are asking about due to the glass and railings not be square and true to each other.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Good to have the code stuff and yes I am wondering if having a air gap is planned in as the visible separation and angled edges bother me..

    One of my members told me to remember that the balcony is sloped at 1'4" per foot which may be a factor here.
    Any way ,here is a wider shot and the language I sent off in the report.

    • Horizontal slider door has damaged bottom
    framing
    • Tempered glass panels for balcony also
    referred to as the balustrade do not appear to
    be installed correctly.
    The glass is not squared and top edge is
    showing in a few of the corners.
    These panels are set into the cap rail at top
    and should be centered on to the gaskets.
    (see pictures)
    There should be a set of plans on site to view
    exact install instructions.
    Unbalanced weight may cause stress on the
    glass that it was not designed for but plans
    and instructions from manufacturer or
    Architect would need to be looked at to
    determine how much of an issue this is.

    Edit in (yes drew the line to assist edge view)

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Bob,

    That corner under the corner post looks like it was cored for a round post to be epoxied in, then the two side guard installed and the square corner post installed OVER the side guard flanges - I doubt THAT is allowed or is in accordance with the engineering, the anchoring, or anything else.

    Normally, with a 1/4" per foot sloped balcony, the guard rail top is horizontal, the bottom is horizontal, the end posts are vertical, only one end post is longer than the other to allow for the slope of the floor and still keep everything square.

    THAT looks like a mish-mash of pieces someone pulled off a shelf and said "This should probably work."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob,

    That corner under the corner post looks like it was cored for a round post to be epoxied in, then the two side guard installed and the square corner post installed OVER the side guard flanges - I doubt THAT is allowed or is in accordance with the engineering, the anchoring, or anything else.

    Normally, with a 1/4" per foot sloped balcony, the guard rail top is horizontal, the bottom is horizontal, the end posts are vertical, only one end post is longer than the other to allow for the slope of the floor and still keep everything square.

    THAT looks like a mish-mash of pieces someone pulled off a shelf and said "This should probably work."
    As fate would have it I got a call to do the building next door in the morning .
    I will look at the others.


  9. #9
    john gman's Avatar
    john gman Guest

    Cool Re: Glass panel balcony

    Check plans and specs - There are certain tolerances allowed. The minimum "bite" is dictated by the frame type. What is the age of the balcony? Is the glass gaurd original? I assume the building is in Chicago so wind loads are a factor at 21st floor.

    JG


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vancouver - Canada
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    THAT looks like a mish-mash of pieces someone pulled off a shelf and said "This should probably work."
    Yes, those corners look weak, I'd prefer to see those top rails connected to the corner posts, just for added stability and to tie it all together, especially 21 stories up

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  11. #11
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Good to have the code stuff and yes I am wondering if having a air gap is planned in as the visible separation and angled edges bother me..

    One of my members told me to remember that the balcony is sloped at 1'4" per foot which may be a factor here.
    Any way ,here is a wider shot and the language I sent off in the report.

    Horizontal slider door has damaged bottom
    framing
    Tempered glass panels for balcony also
    referred to as the balustrade do not appear to
    be installed correctly.
    The glass is not squared and top edge is
    showing in a few of the corners.
    These panels are set into the cap rail at top
    and should be centered on to the gaskets.
    (see pictures)
    There should be a set of plans on site to view
    exact install instructions.
    Unbalanced weight may cause stress on the
    glass that it was not designed for but plans
    and instructions from manufacturer or
    Architect would need to be looked at to
    determine how much of an issue this is.

    Edit in (yes drew the line to assist edge view)
    1. Unless you are a code enforcement officer the code is not something I would include in any report.

    2. You can write this condition and recommendation much simplier and still get the full meaning across. For example:

    Some of the glass panels in the balcony, aka balustrade, are not square in their frames. Some of the edges of the glass are exposed. This is not in keeping with generally established practice. RECOMMENDATION: To reduce the potential for panel failure, have these panels examined ASAP and corrected if necessary by a qualified glazier with experience in this product. Also contact building management for information on this glazing system and condition of similar glass panels in the building.

    The last sentence is to protect the buyer's interest in the liability of the HOA if there is a panel failure.

    I hope this helps.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    discuss what you find, list in report as you see it, advise client to have a window contractor and or city inspector (or both) have them evaluate and have repair as needed.


  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: Glass panel balcony

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    discuss what you find, list in report as you see it, advise client to have a window contractor and or city inspector (or both) have them evaluate and have repair as needed.
    I recommended a glazier be called to look it over.
    Went back and took more pics plus got great shots of the whole building from a taller one nearby on Friday but everything was inconclusive other than the meter maid starting to write me a ticket when I parked nearby.


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