Building code changes for glass balconies

The Ontario housing minister announced just last week that interim measures will be changed on the Ontario building code beginning July 1st, 2012 to prevent glass panels from breaking off on balconies. These regulations are meant to be temporary, as the province has asked the Canadian Standards Association to develop national guidelines that could then be adopted under Ontario’s code.

The rules follow recommendations made to the province by an expert panel on the glass-panel issue after 30 balconies on 11 buildings have shattered in Toronto. The new and safer standard require builders to use the same type of glass used in car windshields for outside panels. Construction firms will also have to use laminated or tempered glass meant to withstand high temperatures for inside panels.

These changes will only affect new construction developments only, but anyone with concerns can contact the city. The City of Toronto also plans to send letters to condo developers and owners built in the last five to seven years to voluntarily inspect the balconies.

The advisory panel also mentioned that the risks from falling glass are small, as tempered glass is meant to shatter into small pieces – where the liklihood of injuring anyone is small. One woman had minor injuries after being hit by falling glass on Bay Street last year.

What are your thoughts? Do you think these measures are good enough to protect the residents of Toronto?

Ashley Lo | Real Estate Advice, Real Estate Solutions

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