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Climbable Guards Study Group. Presentation to the CTC by the Climbable Guards Study Group February 2 nd , 2006 working meeting held in Orlando, Florida. Update on Study Group Progress. Held two conference calls after meeting in Las Vegas in December of 2005 -- January 17 and 31, 2006.

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Climbable Guards Study Group


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    1. Climbable Guards Study Group Presentation to the CTC by the Climbable Guards Study Group February 2nd, 2006 working meeting held in Orlando, Florida

    2. Update on Study Group Progress • Held two conference calls after meeting in Las Vegas in December of 2005 -- January 17 and 31, 2006. • Results: • Study group is developing a plan to provide the CTC with an independent, 3rd party review of existing reports and documentation. • Process to continue with additional recommendations to be presented to the CTC prior to the 2nd cycle of hearings for the 2009 publications. • Two code change proposals to present to the CTC

    3. Third Party Review • Following the December 2005 meeting in Las Vegas, members of the study group approached third party researchers regarding the testing of certain design styles of guards as to their climb resistance. • The researchers requested information on what studies have shown to be the primary design/styles producing injuries in relation to guards and their climbability. • Noting that no study has provided definitive answers related to the direct issue of climbability, the researchers indicated there should be further research on causes before testing should be considered. • Tom Zuzik Jr then contacted Ron Nickson and members of the climbable guards study group who he believed could assist with funding and presented a 2 stage plan. • Those study group members who attended the January 17, 2006 conference call were then brought up to date.

    4. Third Party Review – Phase One • Contract with one to three independent researchers to review the following data as they relate to guard climbing injuries: • Currently submitted and new CPSC data • Published studies • News reports on guard related injuries • Insurance claims • Law Suits • Others as suggested • These researchers will compile and publish a report of their findings

    5. Third Party Review – Phase Two • Once completed, a report will be made to the CTC. • The study group will propose action based on the recommendations of the independent research.

    6. Third Party Review • Study will take time. • Present March 2006 code submittal deadline is for the first of two code cycles for the 2009 publication. • Our goal is to have this study completed before the deadline for the second round of code cycle submittals is due for the 2009 publication. • The study group asks that the CTC allow us the time necessary to provide the committee with the best possible information prior to making a decision and subsequent recommendation to the ICC.

    7. In the meantime, the study group has two code change proposals which have been the topic of discussion in our meetings to date. We would like to now present them to the CTC for review while the climbable guards study group continues its efforts on further research and study.

    8. First code change proposal

    9. Proposed Code Change IReduction of the 8 inch sphere from the current 2006 IBC 1013.3 Opening limitations. Open guards shall have balusters or ornamental patterns such that a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere cannot pass through any opening up to a height of 3436 inches (864914 mm). From a height of 3436 inches (864914 mm) to 42 inches (1067 mm) above the adjacent walking surfaces, a sphere 8 5 inches (203127 mm) in diameter shall not pass. Note: Power Point does not allow strike through so the yellow 25% lowered text is showing the to be deleted text.

    10. Reason One The climbable guards study group has been established by the ICC Code Technology Committee (CTC) which is presently doing an in depth review of guards and whether additional building code parameters may be needed and added to the present family of ICC building codes as it directly relates to the area of climbability. The climbable guard study group has reviewed the presently submitted CPSC injury data[1] as well as the published paper of Dr. Istre and others[2]. Dr. Istre’s study was conducted in Dallas, Texas over a two year period. It targeted high fall injuries in children who were then visited and interviewed by the researchers who also physicaly photographed and inspected the site in question. The findings of both reviews concur that large openings -- either between balusters or any pattern of infill -- were the leading cause of injury as children are falling through guards with large spacing. The presented CPSC data clearly references in a large number of incidents the wording “fall through” or “fell through” and Dr. Istre’s study published the same statement of finding (see key points chart labeled figure 1) while also noting in the same paper that the average size spacing that was found on site inspections by researchers was 7 inches and greater. Therefore the majority of the study group has agreed that the present 8 inch sphere opening now allowed should be reduced and has made this recommendation of finding to the ICC-CTC directly. Additional research and study review continues by the climbable guards study group which may result in further change submittals at a later date. This is the first recommendation brought forth to the CTC by the climbable guards study group. [1] Database file compiled by Thomas B Zuzik Jr which said information was transferred to the database from printed CPSC injury data reports ranging 1990 through 2000 and electronic data from the CPSC website for years 2002, 2003 & 2004. Both the electronic data and PDF scanned copies of the information was turned over to the CTC @ the September 2005 CTC working meeting in Detroit, MI for public record. [2] Article: Childhood Injuries due to Falls from Apartment balconies & Windows published in Injury Prevention 2003; 9:349-352 (page 351), copy retrieved from IP Online and downloaded on June 28, 2005 by Thomas B. Zuzik, Jr from http://ip.bmjjournals.com

    11. Key points from Dr. Istre’s Published Study Figure 1

    12. Reason 2 Presently the 8 inch sphere criteria for the upper section of required guard(s)[1] is based on the 0 to 34 inch height being the main area of a required guard that protects small children from accidentally falling through a required guard and the current 42 inch minimum height in the IBC was set in place for the protection of older, taller adults with a higher center of gravity from potentially accidentally falling over the required guard. For this reason the height between 34 and 42 inches (8 inches) was established as the sphere diameter as the main concern is having the additional bar at 42 inches. However this lies in conflict with IRC[2] where the required minimum guard height of 36 inches is set. Thus at a minimum the upper 4 inch sphere limit should be revised from 34 inches to 36 inches when combined with a top molding set at 42 inches (which top molding could sustain the required minimum 200 lb point loads as required by the present IBC 2006 publication) will more than likely be at a minimum 1 inch in height leaving a 5 inch sphere as a maximum size opening between the two points. [1] International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600; Falls Church, VA 22041-3401, publication of the 2006 International Building Code section 1013.0 Guards [2] International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600; Falls Church, VA 22041-3401, publication of the 2006 International Residential Code section R312Guards

    13. Reason 3 • Base justifications for the 5 inch (127mm) sphere which would allow for more freedom in design and fabrication of guards while still providing public safety to children. • Presently many foreign countries are using a sphere standard of 125 mm which translates to 4.92 inches. This is published in many countries that have recently and are presently updating there building code minimum standards like Australia, France and Germany. The United States has had for many years the most stringent spacing rule of 4 inches except for Canada which recently adopted a 100 mm sphere rule -- 3.94 inches. The standard in foreign countries still overwhelmingly remains at 4.92 inches. • b. In an effort to provide third party information on children’s average head sizes the chart in figure 2 was populated with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    14. Table list age and gender for head size and height Figure 2[I] Thus for the height location of the upper opening (36 inches above the walking surface) of a guard the 5 inch sphere can be concluded to provide comparable protection from fall through that the 4 inch sphere does for required guards below the established 36 inch residential height. [I] Center for Disease Control and Prevention website; information was originally reviewed and translated by Tim Moss, the information was then crossed check by Thomas B. Zuzik Jr for additional content. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/growthcharts/clinical_charts.htm

    15. Second Code Change Proposal

    16. Proposed Code Change II2006 IRC – Section R312 Guards R312.1 Guards required. Porches, balconies or raisedRaised walkingfloor surfaces, porches, balconies, landings or open sides of stairs located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards.not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 34 inches (864 mm) in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads. Note: Power Point does not allow strike through so the yellow 25% lowered text is showing the to be deleted text.

    17. Continued changes for R312 R312.2 Guard Height. Required guards on open sides of stairs shall be not less than 34 inches ( 864 mm) high measured vertically from the sloped plane adjoining the tread nosing. Required guards at raised walking surfaces, porches, balconies or landings shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) high measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or adjacent seat board. R312.23 Guard opening limitations. Required guards on open sides of stairways, raised floor areas, balconies and porches shall have intermediate rails or ornamental closures which do not allow passage of a sphere 4 inches (102mm) or more in diameter. Note: Power Point does not allow strike through so the yellow 25% lowered text is showing the to be deleted text.

    18. Continued changes for R312 Exceptions: 1. The triangular openings formed by the riser, tread and bottom rail of a guard at the open side of a stairway are permitted to be of such a size that a sphere 6 inches (152 mm) cannot pass through. 2. Openings for required guards on the open sides of stair treadsstairs shall not allow a sphere 43/8 inches (107mm) to pass through. Note: Power Point does not allow strike through so the yellow 25% lowered text is showing the to be deleted text.

    19. Reasons: 1. There are several editorial changes to clarify confusing language by adding the word landing and correct use of terms such as, stairs and stairway. In addition the editorial changes separate the guard height from the text that requires guards. 2. The use of fixed benches and seat boards adjacent to guards is a known safety hazard that reduces the effective height of the guard. If seats are to be fixed adjacent to guards or incorporated into the guard design then the guard height must be measured from the seat board.

    20. Supporting Statement: The data, studies and testing reviewed by the Climb Resistant Guard Configuration Study Group of the Code Technology Committee has shown that children often use furniture such as seats, chairs, and other objects to raise themselves to a higher elevation. Furthermore when children use such items adjacent to guards the child looses the advantage of the guard’s required height because it is presently determined by measuring from the floor in the IRC. This is not the case in the IBC where the guard height is measured from the adjacent seat board in such incidents. Such incidents involving “props” do not necessarily involve climbing of the guard but have been found to be a significant contributor. Although unrelated to “actually climbing” the guard, these accidents are often confused with guard climbing as are fall through accidents documented in the CPSC data that is available. The NEISS reports are difficult at best to make any determination, however other studies and news articles researched, concur that the use of “props” is a factor. Until we know more about If, Why, What and How children climb, this is a reasonable improvement to what has proven to be a good standard for new construction when compared to other countries.

    21. This concludes this presentation by the Climbable Guards Study Group for this portion of the of the working meeting.We wish to thank you for your time on this matter.