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CSA releases new building guard standard

December 1, 2016  By Canadian Standards Association

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has published A500-16 Building Guards, a new standard governing materials, hardware and installation of balcony guards, including glass balcony balustrades. The standard is expected to be referenced in future national and provincial building codes to prevent well-publicised issues of falling balcony glass.

From the CSA website:

In recent years, there have been a growing number of building guard failures in Canada, some involving a number of prominent buildings in major cities. While many of these incidents are the result of material failures, some are related to the building guards’ overall system design and performance characteristics.

The growing risk associated with these failures coupled with the potential catastrophic outcomes has led to an increased need for a standardized approach to building guard design. Up to this point, there has not been a reference standard, clear design requirements, or a consistent set of test protocols for building guards, which has led to lack of clarity for designers and reduced public safety.


Introducing CSA A500 – Building Guards, a new standard that specifies requirements for materials, design, construction, testing, and performance of permanent guards in and about buildings.

  • Aims to help reduce the risk of building guard failure for improved public safety
  • Reduces uncertainty and improves clarity for designers
  • Helps make building guard design more consistent and reliable
  • Can be referenced in building code regulations

CSA A500 Covers:

  • General requirements, including methods of analysis & design, new method for guard height determination, climbability
  • Loads, load effects and load combinations, including wind load determination, infill design
  • Deflection limits and openings (posts, rails, pickets)
  • Anchorage
  • Construction to improve safety, security and durability
  • Testing of load-resistance (service and ultimate), impact and post-breakage retention of infills, main connections, and anchors/fasteners
  • Materials used for building guard assemblies (concrete, masonry, glass, aluminum, steel, wood

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