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Toronto City Council adopts glass balcony guard safety recommendations

After a series of spontaneous breakages involving glass railings of several buildings in Toronto, the City Council has decided to adopt recommendations from its Planning and Growth Management Committee regarding glass balcony guard safety.

During the summer of 2011, glass railings of several buildings in Toronto broke spontaneously, leading to a city investigation to find out how to prevent such breakages.
And, on 30 November, the Toronto City Council adopted the following recommendations from its Planning and Growth Management Committee regarding glass balcony guard safety.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the recommendations were preliminarily adopted without amendments and without debate, and, therefore, the City Council will:
1.    direct the chief building official and executive director of 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 panelled balconies may break;
2.    direct the chief building official and executive director of 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 of 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 of Toronto Building to re-evaluate wind tunnel standards and criteria and report to the Planning and Growth Management Committee on changes to improve modelling and application standards.

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