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Section R312 Guards and Window Fall Protection

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R312.1 Guards
Guards shall be provided in accordance with Sections R312.1.1 through R312.1.4.
R312.1.1 Where Required
Guards shall be provided for those portions of open-sided walking surfaces, including floors, stairs, ramps and landings that are located more than 30 inches (762 mm) measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches (914 mm) horizontally to the edge of the open side. Insect screening shall not be considered as a guard.
R312.1.2 Height
Required guards at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies or landings, shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height as measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or the line connecting the nosings.

Exceptions:
  1. Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height of not less than 34 inches (864 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the nosings.
  2. Where the top of the guard serves as a handrail on the open sides of stairs, the top of the guard shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm) as measured vertically from a line connecting the nosings.
R312.1.3 Opening Limitations
Required guards shall not have openings from the walking surface to the required guard height that allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter.

Exceptions:
  1. The triangular openings at the open side of stair, formed by the riser, tread and bottom rail of a guard, shall not allow passage of a sphere 6 inches (153 mm) in diameter.
  2. Guards on the open side of stairs shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 43/8 inches (111 mm) in diameter.
R312.1.4 Exterior Plastic Composite Guards
Plastic composite exterior guards shall comply with the requirements of Section R317.4.
R312.2 Window Fall Protection
Window fall protection shall be provided in accordance with Sections R312.2.1 and R312.2.2.
R312.2.1 Window Opening Height
In dwelling units, where the bottom of the clear opening of an operable window opening is located less than 24 inches (610 mm) above the finished floor and greater than 72 inches (1829 mm) above the finished grade or other surface below on the exterior of the building, the operable window shall comply with one of the following:
  1. Operable window openings will not allow a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere to pass through where the openings are in their largest opened position.
  2. Operable windows are provided with window opening control devices or fall prevention devices that comply with ASTM F2090.
R312.2.2 Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings
Where an operable window serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening, a window opening control device or fall prevention device, after operation to release the control device or fall prevention device allowing the window to fully open, shall not reduce the net clear opening area of the window unit to less than the area required by Sections R310.2.1 and R310.2.2.

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