Roof Level Edge Protection

In addition to being required at the edge of certain walking surfaces within the interior of a building, there are various locations which guards are required at the roof level of a building, which may not be found on every project. The inclusions of these guards are in general related to either the protection of maintenance personnel servicing equipment on the roof, or for the protection of fire department personnel in the event firefighting operations are required on the roof. Roof level guards are required in the following locations:

  • Roof Hatches: Where a roof hatch opening is provided within 10 feet of the roofs edge (780 CMR 1011.13). These guards are required around the entire perimeter of the roof hatch.
  • Mechanical Equipment Access: Where mechanical equipment the requires service is located within 10 feet of the roofs edge (IMC 304.11). These guards are required between the mechanical equipment and the roofs edge, and must extend 30 inches beyond the mechanical equipment in each direction.
  • Interior Courts: Where interior courts are provided (surrounded on all 4 sides) which are not protected by either a skylight or a roof (527 CMR 10.11.4). These guards are required around the entire perimeter of the court, whether it is an interior light well, or large court one may find interior to a school or residential amenity space.

The guards at these locations are required to be installed in accordance with 780 CMR Section 1015, including a minimum height of 42” and maximum opening width of 21” as the guards are solely provided at mechanical equipment access points and therefore not intended for access by the general public.

Do you have any unique roof access points which may warrant the inclusion of a guard? Feel free to contact us to discuss your specific project!


Application of any information provided, for any use, is at the reader’s risk and without liability to Code Red Consultants. Code Red Consultants does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in this blog as applicable codes and standards change over time. The application, enforcement and interpretation of codes and standards may vary between Authorities Having Jurisdiction and for this reason, registered design professionals should be consulted to determine the appropriate application of codes and standards to a specific scope of work.