Guard rail or not?

The following statement: “And just for further clarification’; 30” inches also applies to the ground slope for 36" past the base of the wall." …which code or standard (such as IBC, IRC, OSHA, etc) was this criteria derived from??

I gotta go with Jeffrey on this one. If it presents a hazard it gets reported. Those of you that think because its less than 30 inches your off the hook are delusional. You are not code inspectors, so forget the numbers and think safety.

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IRC 2018
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The only way you’d be overstepping your bounds is if that wall wasn’t on the property you were hired to inspect.

Otherwise, to not call it out would be a dereliction of duty.

On another note, if the wall is in an easement, it would then be the responsibility of whoever oversees the easement, but should still be written up as a potential safety hazard.

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Funny this thread got brought back to the top. I was just thinking of it the other day. Was at a house that had a retaining wall, with of course no guard. As I was contemplating that, I walked around the corner and there were 2 fairly large and deep window wells. Does anyone call out lack of guards around window wells? If not, what’s the difference?

Absolutely!!

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I guess nobody is taking that advice because I have yet to see guardrails around a window well in a residential application. Nor have I saw guardrails at a retaining wall, unless there is a sidewalk or similar on top. I’m not advocating for or against guardrails, just trying to figure out my stance moving forward, lol. I did recommend a cover for the window wells, but these were large custom built wells using landscape timbers and an off-the-shelf cover will likely not work. I’m sure I could go back in 2 years and find them still uncovered.

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No difference, at least not in my book, a safety hazard is a safety hazard and I report all potential safety hazards I see.

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Window well egress and window well guards I would place a premium on. Retaining walls, for me it depends on the likelihood of pedestrian traffic. Here is a photo of one I did not recommend a guard. (20 yr old home). I am sure some will disagree.


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But have you ever seen a guard rail around a window well? And I don’t mean covers. These one’s were very large and deep. One issue with a guard rail around a window well is that it could restrict entry/exit.

I agree! Window wells are rare here in GA. I would think a guard with a gate or a hatch would make sense.

Although local codes and jurisdictions may not require, you can always point out potential safety hazards and present remedies if not against any code restrictions on egress.

well rail

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They are present on about 75% or more of homes in my area due to the fondness of putting bedrooms in basements. I have yet to see a single instance of a guard rail in a residential setting. We do see a fair amount of covers, maybe 50% of the wells. I think I would get crazy looks if I recommended a guard rail! Lol. I also never see guard rails at retaining walls, unless there is a sidewalk as mentioned above. I feel I would get the same crazy looks.

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Based on this, there may not be a code requirement. However, our opinion matters when it comes to safety.

For me, if I think someone is going to be walking around it…I recommend a guard.

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Agree… …

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