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RE: Railings on Park Bridges - What Code Applies?

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Title: RE: Railings on Park Bridges - What Code Applies?

I think that there are many non-building structures where there is some question as to what codes may apply.  OSHA applies to places where employees work or to construction sites; and building codes generally apply to occupied spaces.  If no codes explicitly apply, it is likely up to the professional engineer to determine what industry standards apply or what is needed to limit liability.

I just called a county in a mid-western state to ask what the applicable building code is for the county - I was told that "there is no building code for rural areas, if not part of a municipality".  But a building permit is still required, so I presume that PE sealed drawings will be required - and my guess is that the PE will be held responsible if a structure does not meet "reasonable" standards.

William C. Sherman, PE
(Bill Sherman)
CDM, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)

From:   M. David Finley, P.E., P.A. [mailto:davidfinley(--nospam--at)]
Sent:   Tuesday, January 24, 2006 1:46 PM
To:     Seaint(--nospam--at)Seaint.Org
Subject:        Railings on Park Bridges - What Code Applies?

Question for the young, the young at heart, the formerly young, and those who are just spry:

What code, if any, is applicable to pedestrian and bicycle bridges in parks, boardwalks, etc.  The structures I am thinking of are the 8' to 10' span multi-span timber bridges/boardwalks you commonly see in city and county parks for crossing small ditches, along wetlands, etc.  These are non-vehicle bridges (disregard service vehicles).

I'm not asking what are good design standards - I'm familiar with the AASHTO code for pedestrian bridges, etc.  And all of the codes have requirements for handrail for drop-offs exceeding a certain height.  And there are certainly ADA provisions.

Rather, I'm asking, in the absence of any special criteria that the park owner has adopted, what code requirements apply by default?  Would the OSHA guardrail provisions have to met?

In other words, if someone asked you if a particular park bridge "met code",  what code would you check compliance with?  And on what basis would you say that that code applies?

David Finley
M. David Finley, P.E., P.A.
2086 SW Main Boulevard - Suite 111
Lake City, FL  32025