Use of Glass in Handrails & Guards

The 9th Edition of 780 CMR, which adopts the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), includes new provisions for glass used in handrails and guards. Previous versions of the IBC, including the 2009 which was adopted as part of the 8th Edition of 780 CMR, contained vague language on what types of glass were compliant when installed in a handrail or guard.  The code now contains more specific language and specifies that all glass used is required to be laminated glass constructed of fully tempered or heat-strengthened glass. The new language was inserted into the code based on the practicality of laminated tempered glass and laminated heat-strengthened glass over other glass or safety plastics. Single fully tempered glass is no longer permitted in normal handrail or guard installations, but is addressed in the new exception in which it can be used where there are no exposed walking surfaces below. The full code requirements of both the 9th Edition and 8th Edition are shown below:

8th Edition – 2009 IBC 9th Edition – 2015 IBC