Toronto City Council Adopts Glass Balcony Guard Safety Recommendations
December 2, 2011

On November 30, the Toronto City Council adopted recommendations from its Planning and Growth Management Committee regarding glass balcony guard safety.

The recommendations were preliminarily adopted without amendments and without debate, according to the meeting minutes. Upon completion of this week’s meeting, City Council will:

  1. Direct the chief building official and executive director, Toronto Building to advise the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of the results of the city's review of the use of glass panels in balcony guards and request that they consider an emergency amendment to the Ontario Building Code to better address concerns for public safety when glass paneled balconies may break. 
  2. Direct the chief building official and executive director, Toronto Building to advise the Toronto Building and Land Development Association, TARION, Ontario Association of Architects and Professional Engineers Ontario of the results of the city's analysis of glass panel safety in balcony guards and encourage these organizations to update their practices and professional training regarding the use of glass panels in balcony guards.
  3. Direct the chief building official and executive director, Toronto Building to advise Industry Canada, Canadian Glass Association, the Safety Glazing Certification Council and the Glass Association of North America (GANA) of the results of the City's analysis of glass panel safety in balcony guards and encourage these organizations to communicate and coordinate a comprehensive review of compliance safety standards for the manufacturing of non-metallic product used to produce architectural glazing materials. (GANA recently announced that its Laminating and Tempering Divisions and its Glazing Industry Code Committee are looking at updating and creating resources to address the use of glass in balcony railing systems.)
  4. Request the chief building official and executive director, Toronto Building to re-evaluate wind tunnel standards and criteria and report to the Planning and Growth Management Committee on changes to improve modeling and application standards.

During the summer of 2011, several buildings in Toronto had glass railings spontaneously break on multiple occasions, leading to a city investigation for how to prevent similar such breakages. Click here to read the related article in the October issue of USGlass magazine.

Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for further updates as they emerge.

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