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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Golden
    Posts
    16

    Default Driveway/ Retaining Wall Guard Rail

    Came across a guard rail along a driveway, at the top of a 15'+ retaining wall. The client already let me know he was nervous about the cross members attached to the outside of the posts, but I'm wondering how this avoids requiring balusters. Does it?
    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: Driveway/ Retaining Wall Guard Rail

    Railings are required on porches, balconies, and decks greater than 30" above grade. Retaining walls are walls, not walking paths. Retaining walls are not required to have any kind of railing system. So any railing, however flimsy or inadequately built is fine for the retaining wall according to code.

    From a safety viewpoint you could recommend a variety of changes to make it more safe.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: Driveway/ Retaining Wall Guard Rail

    What I see is an safety issue and therefore would have reprted it.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Driveway/ Retaining Wall Guard Rail

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    What I see is an safety issue and therefore would have reprted it.
    Me too...


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Rolla, MO
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Driveway/ Retaining Wall Guard Rail

    Jerry

    From a vehicle safety standpoint that rail is not going to stop anything larger than a bicycle and would be considered a decorative rail only. Current vehicle guardrail standards are governed by AASHTO.

    From a pedestrian safety standpoint if there was a walking path or sidewalk next to the retaining wall then I would recommend upgrading the rail to meet current safety standards for a pedestrian fence.

    Technically any attachment to the retaining wall should be designed by an engineer. I would simply state it appears to be a safety issue the new homeowner will have to decide, or his insurance company, what level of safety he wants.

    If this is on private property and outside any code jurisdiction then anything goes until someone gets injured.

    Randy Mayo, P.E.
    Residential Engineering & Inspection Services
    http://www.rlmengineers.com

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