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Security bar layout question


arete

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A client has asked for some burglar bars to be installed on a commercial building that he owns. Not a big job, just three windows. Any thoughts on the spacing? I was thinking 6" o.c.

Thanks,
BCT

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Yeah, Here in Phoenix and most of the surrounding communities there are some rather strict codes regarding security grilles and such. The most common spacing on any type of "burglar" bars, pool fencing, stair railing or the like is 4", or the 4" ball rule, anything bigger and it is considered a strangulation hazard for a child. That is why some of the old classic hand wrought stair rails are being removed because they can't pass the 4" ball rule and that is a grave insurance liability for the owners. Your "friend" is better off hiring a company that specializes in installing security hardware because they have the secondary insurance to his primary insurance if someone is injured because they are injured do to a malfunction of the hardware or a code violation. You know how lawyers can hunt down and harm even the nicest of "friends" when looking for money.

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Check as to whether you need to be licensed. In Boston security grates must be installed by someone with a "light iron" license. This covers signs, gates, fences, security and fire escapes. Habitable rooms need grates that can be opened from the inside quickly and easily. This can be very tricky. Certainly any space larger than four inches would be unsafe.

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I have done a fare amount of this type of work over the past.

Here in my area there are codes which must be followed. You can usually find them on the internet for your city. Security bars for windows have no spacing requirements. I have usually gone no less than 5 and no greater than 6 inches depending how the math works out. For a residence if it is in a bedroom or a buisness with a office space and the window can be opened, it has to have a panic or emergency release latch which can be operated from the inside, which allows someone to release the grill and swing it out of the way to get out incase of a emergency. There are few types you can buy commercially from a supplier like King Architectural.

With my old liability insurance policy added more cost to have this coverage, to do these types of windows and pool fencing. I did not do a lot of this type of work to justify the added cost so I did not have it. My new policy covers it at no added cost.

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I may as well point out the fact that most construction requires permits. Adding in that it is commercial and your asking a basic question about this, suggests you are not likely to get the permits from the local enforcement group.

Most building codes exist to protect everyone, not just the current owner of the building, but also future owners/users/neighbors. This is how people that do things "odd" can get in trouble later, when they assumed because its theirs and it dont matter, when in fact it can.

Not suggesting you pass, just that you check local enforcement first. A thing I learned when I was testing for my contractors license: it does not matter what we think it means, but the governing body's opinion that given day.

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If you do not know something as basic as bar spacing it leads me to think you have never done this before and then to why are you being asked to do this job? Did the client get other quotes from shops with experience and proper licencing and insurance?

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