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Glass Panels in Balcony Guards – Expert Panel Report, Amendment and FAQ

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Ontario’s Building Code has been amended to address the issue of balcony glass breaking on newly constructed buildings. The government has adopted all of the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Glass Panels in Balcony Guards.

The government has amended Ontario’s Building Code to provide requirements related to the design and installation of glass balcony guards, including the type of glass that can be used and how they can be framed.

The new amendment comes into force on July 1, 2012 and makes reference to a new Supplementary Standard SB-13, "Glass in Guards" [*].

These changes are intended to help minimize the likelihood that balcony glass will break on newly constructed buildings and help reduce the chance of broken pieces falling to the ground below if balcony glass does break.These measures are intended as an interim solution. As a longer-term strategy, the government will support the work of the Canadian Standards Association in the development of a technical standard for glass panels in balcony guards. Once this standard is finalized, the ministry will consider referencing it in the Building Code.

In response to requests — including one from the City of Toronto for an emergency Code amendment — the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing established an Expert Advisory Panel on Glass Panels in Balcony Guards to review the Building Code requirements for balcony guards. The Panel submitted a report which included seven recommendations to the ministry on how to amend the Building Code.

The ministry has acted quickly on the Report and has amended the Building Code to implement the interim solution recommended by the Panel.

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[*] This resource is available in English only.