What are Glass Railing Code Requirements? Glass railings give interiors and exteriors a pleasantly chic aesthetic appeal. To comply with safety regulations and receive inspection approval, you must fulfill glass railing code requirements.

To begin, a railing that is not up to code creates safety hazards, causes expensive building delays, and necessitates reinstallation regardless of the material you select. Moreover, the choice of glass material or the cost-effectiveness of a top handrail, among other decisions, significantly impacts safety regulations and installation.

In addition to breaking codes, poor railing construction can result in ugly flaws and consistency issues that degrade the quality of the building’s overall appearance.

To ensure that you get the most out of your glass railing installation, In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the codes you should consider for your glass railing.


Always check the specifications of a glass railing system against the standards established by glass railing codes. Some important coding considerations to be aware of are listed below:

Governments and authorities worldwide see the International Building Code (IBC) as a fundamental norm for building safety. The IBC is a basic level of protection that architects and contractors should go by to preserve the general welfare of the public. It is renowned for balancing safety with ease of usage.

An update to the IBC occurs every three years. It’s important to remember that not all cities or countries employ the most recent version of IBC; some still use previous versions.

Considering IBC 2018 criteria, those involved in glass railing installations should begin by focusing on four things to understand compliance better:

  • Evaluate the requirement for tempered laminated glass.
  • Determine the top rail requirements
  • Learn about edge tolerance standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
  • Before installing anything, check with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).


It requires fully tempered, or heat-strengthened laminated glass is required over walkways or anywhere falling glass could harm people. Only in situations where the walking surface is shielded from the possibility of falling glass the monolithic tempered glass is permitted. Ignoring this rule could result in a pricey rebuild that would delay projects and reduce profit margins.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – The NFPA specifies fundamental safety criteria, and compliance with those standards depends on the height and design of railings. Even though many of the NFPA’s standards have nothing to do with fire safety, they are essential for reducing falls and other safety dangers.

Considerations for accessibility (ADA and ABA) — Glass railings are more than aesthetic choices. They also provide a valuable role for people with disabilities as functional architectural components.

The ADA regulations have a whole section devoted to ADA compliance for stairways and railings. Additional rules under the Architectural Barriers Act ensure criteria for accessibility linked to stairways, mezzanines, and other buildings that may include glass railing for buildings like post offices constructed with federal funds.


The code considerations we provide here are merely illustrations; you should always conduct careful research to ensure you adhere to the standards that apply to your situation and line of work. If not, the outcome will be expensive rework, code violations, and unhappy customers.

Published on:
Sep 3, 2022
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