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Guard rails on retaining walls

Guard rails on retaining walls

New postby Bruce Ramsey on Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:09 pm

There are occasionlly retaining walls scattered about properties. It seems I recall there being a requirement for guards or rails on top of retaining walls more than about 3 feet high. I rummaged through IRC 301.5 regarding handrails and guards. All of them refer to stairs, porches, decks, balconies but not retaining walls or patios.

Can you help me find an IRC reference regarding railings or guards for retaining walls? Thanks
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Re: Guard rails on retaining walls

New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:22 pm

Hi Bruce,

You are correct in that the IRC does not address retaining walls.

You may be thinking about the codes which preceded the the ICC codes as several of those older codes did contain provisions covering retaining walls, sea walls, etc., but, alas, those requirements were lost through the only-the-minimum-acceptable-by-committee standards which came about through the digesting of the three model codes and ended with the regurgitation of only-the-lowest-of-all-three-codes-survived to make the ICC codes.

The code consolidation process basically took all three model codes, put them in a blender, and only the lowest requirement in any code was left, adding all those lowest requirements together to form the final ICC codes.

To me, the formation of the ICC was the ideal chance to take the most restrictive of the three model codes and put those most restrictive requirements together to form the basis for the new codes - THAT would have been an advance in the codes. Instead we got watering down of the codes to the lowest level acceptable to the majority of the committee members - i.e., a "consensus code" watered down to the most diluted level the consensus could agree on.
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Re: Guard rails on retaining walls

New postby Bruce Ramsey on Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:11 pm

Thanks!
Bruce Ramsey
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Re: Guard rails on retaining walls

New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:57 pm

No problem.
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