Securing requirements for balcony railing - Is from bottom only acceptable?
I am about to buy a condo in an apartment style building that's abut 6 yrs old, in Ontario, Canada. During the home inspection we noticed that the glass railing on the balcony is only secured at the bottom by bolts, and where the top edge of the railing "joins" to the walls there is caulking of sorts, but no fasteners. In a smaller portion on the side this has detached completely from the wall. Is it ok to only be supported from the bottom, perhaps assuming it has been verified that this design holds a standard load (I saw 200 lb, 50 lb references on this webpage)? The inspector noted this, but did not know if it was a code issue. Also it is in the jurisdiction of the condo board, not the owner of the unit.
There are some minor differences between the US and Canadian codes in this regard. But that aside, from what you are describing I am seeing a big red flag. Not only does a residential guard rail in Ontario have to meet a concentrated load of 1.0 kN (224.6 lbs) but there are distributive (uniform) loads over the length of the rail. This is 0.5kN (112 lbsft).
Then safety factors are applied if testing is done to approve a manufactured railing. Safety factors are determined by the modes of failure. Without photographs all that can really be said here is that it does not sound very good.
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