According to Approved Document K, Protection from falling, collision and impact, guarding is ‘…a barrier that denies pedestrians or vehicles access to another area, for example the floor below’. Where a barrier is ‘…a structure – either a raised rail or a solid wall – that denies access to another area.
Walls, parapets, balustrades and similar obstructions may be used as guarding.
Guarding should be provided wherever necessary for safety to guard the edges of any part of a floor (including the edge below an opening window), gallery, balcony, roof (including roof lights and other openings), any other place to which people have access, and any light well, basement or similar sunken area next to a building. It should also be provided in vehicle parks. Guarding is not necessary on ramps used only for vehicle access or in places such as loading bays where it would obstruct normal use.
 Typical locations of guarding
 Guarding design
Guarding must be able to resist the loads given in BS EN 1991-1-1 with its UK National Annex, UK National Annex to Eurocode 1. Actions on structures. General actions. Densities, self-weight, imposed loads for buildings (2002) and PD 6688-1-1 Recommendations for the design of structures to BS EN 1991-1-1 (2011).
In buildings that might be used by children under 5, guarding should be designed so that a 100mm sphere cannot pass through, it should prevent children being held fast and should be difficult to climb.
Where people will use stairs or ladders to access areas for maintenance less frequently than once a month, it may be appropriate to use temporary guarding or warning notices as specified in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, the Work at Height Regulations and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.
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