Guardrail installed on deck less than 30"

I recently did an inspection on a deck that was built less than 30 inches above grade that had a guardrail installed. This guardrail had spindle spacing of more than 4 inches so I made a general recommendation about spindle spacing. About a week later I received a call from the local building department and I was chastised about mentioning the spindle spacing since the deck was below 30 inches from grade (I don’t know why they got involved…I only made a mere suggestion and didn’t tell anyone that they had ti do anything). I was told by the code enforcement inspector that since the deck was below 30 inches they could build the railing any way they wanted.

I was always under the notion that if the deck was under 30 inches there was no requirement for a guardrail, but if someone elected to install a guardrail anyway it must be build to code (kids could get their head stuck between the spindles no matter how high above grade the deck is). Any insight on this issue? Any reference to code?

BYW, the code enforcement inspector made reference to the 2014 IRC.

Is not improper spacing still an entrapment hazard no matter the height above grade?

I agree with you.

I also agree with you.

My policy is: If it’s there, it better be to current accepted building and safety standards.

Note: Are you sure the call was from the local AHJ, or could it have been the sellers/realtors drinking buddy acting the part?

Never assume!

Yes it was from the building dept. They left a message and I called back.
I have no access to the 2014 IRC but here is what says. Not sure if this is a reputable source or not.

Even if your link did not support your/our view…

Q: Can an infant crawl on a deck that is only 10 inches off the ground and still get it’s head stuck in/or crawl through…


This is why I inspect for the safety of my clients and NOT the benefit of the “minimalist code” grubbers.

My issue at this point is with the code enforcement inspector who is attempting to throw me under the bus for something that he missed. I will always take responsibility for my own mistakes. I will never take responsibility for his.

If the code official wants to take responsibility that’s his business.

You did your job and offered your opinion.

There is no point in getting in a pissing match with the AHJ.

If you must, tell your client he paid you for your opinion not to argue with the AHJ.

Let it go.

We’re getting into the weeds on this question. Does anyone have something to add that’s related to code?

You don’t need no stinking code!
It’s the buyers call. They sign the frigging check at close of escrow.

The AHJ can do whatever the hell they want to. I have been trying to tell you all this forever. Just because it is in some book, doesn’t mean you have to do it. They have to deal with the State.

So how high is this deck anyway?

BTW: If you playing Barney Fife, you deserve to be chastised.

Your not enforcing any rule, law or code. So they can stick there chastising up their ***.

Your obviously not the one I should turn to for any sort of an intelligent response. Now back to the question. I have seen websites that state that any elective structures need to be built to code and I have also seen Ben in a video state the same. Now…does anyone have a reference to the IRC that supports this? Anyone that wants to pontificate or get upset (yes you Mr. Andersen)…please don’t respond. I come to this forum to learn, not argue with emotional narcissists.
BYW, the code enforcement officer asked me to get back to him if I were to find documentation that refuted his position. We are having a friendly and professional discussion regarding this issue. Neither he or I are in a pissing match. But it seems like some of you are. Now…are there any level headed people out there that would like to add something constructive to this discussion?

What you are failing to understand is… your local AHJ is considered God Almighty in the jurisdiction for which they are empowered, and there is nothing you or the IRC can say or do about it!

Actually, I’m well aware of that. But thanks for providing yet another response that doesn’t answer my question anyway.

How high is the deck?

Can you answer a question?

Quit being a freaking snowflake! Learn how to read.

The AHA has no right talking to you the way they did unless you are being an *** hole. Maybe you were. That’s why I asked.

Again, and again, I’m not speaking out against you but the AHJ. It doesn’t matter what AHJ says “doesn’t have to be”. It’s all about your client and their contract. You’re not there to discuss, interpret or demand compliance with building code. You’re there to document and report to your client and let them decide what they want to do which is basically should I buy the house.

The answer to your question is that there is no answer to your question. It doesn’t matter what Ben said in a video. It doesn’t matter what’s in a building code or standard. It’s what the AHJ decides that it wants based on how they interpreted it. If you don’t do what they want, you don’t get to live in the house.

No one should be using “it passed code” for ***not ***doing something. Things are done wrong every day in houses that are built to code.

Seeing how emotionally you get on a simple message board post, I wouldn’t be surprised that your demeanor in reporting and addressing the AHJ could use some fine tuning.

Why are you here trying to find a code reference? So you can get in a fight with the AHJ about it? If you are, you’re pissing up a rope.

David I believe He called You a Pontificating Emotional Narcissist … it kind of has a nice ring to it don’t You think ?

Just respond with the common sense approach as Jeff pointed out. pg19

It would make a great INACHI Certification if you ask me. Can not wait to see the LOGO/Badge.

Finally! A response with some real substance. I look forward to reading this. Thanks Brian!!

don’t forget about the coffee mug and shoe covers…