Lean on Me – Choosing Railings Carefully | Michigan


3 Hours | Online Narrated Class | Instructor: Paul Spite
This course teaches building code compliance in design of railings including ADA guidelines, proper mounting, familiarity with different material & finish options, replacing railings in historic projects, and knowledge of trends toward standardized railing systems .

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Lean on Me – Choosing Railings Carefully

In every major city, premier addresses flaunt high-end high-rise residential towers that make it possible to maximize profit from acquiring high priced land. On these towers, row upon row of sleek railings march toward the heights, declaring at least small pieces of outdoor space as being for private use only.

In conjunction with the design of the whole structure, these railings form a large part of the aesthetic of their projects. They are one of the most visible. All the while, the rails do the job for which they were really designed. That is keeping those behind them alive.

This material briefly examines the materials and methods used to construct barriers against fatal falls. Codes governing the performance of railings will be examined, because safety is the main justification for such regulations. Different ways to meet those guidelines will be discussed. Different looks made possible by technology will be portrayed. Finally, the challenges faced by busy design firms in choosing, detailing, and specifying these integral building components will be examined.

Many new tools for railing design are becoming available to architects, engineers and builders. 3D imaging, 3D modeling, BIM and CAD-CAM programs are changing the perception of what once was possible, especially in the area of renovation projects. New business models are beginning to emerge whereby the development of standard details and standard specifications for railing systems will become practical, for busy architectural firms providing services in multiple locales.

This course in intended to convey that knowledge to such firms.

Learning Objectives

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Goals that must be met to achieve building code compliance in the design of railings
  • Increased awareness of ADA guidelines and other regulations besides building codes, that must be satisfied in the design of railings
  • Proper mounting for different railing configurations, being installed on different types of construction
  • Familiarity with different material, design and finish options for railings and dividers
  • Knowledge of issues faced with railing replacements in historic projects, as well as ways to accommodate needed historic detailing while still addressing safety
  • Cognizance of trends toward standardized railing systems, standard details and master specifications, and how these trends help insure code compliance in the design of railings

Course Outline


Course Objectives

Code Compliance

  • Complying with ADA/Building Codes
  • National and Local Building Code Requirements
  • A Moving Target
  • Additional Sources of Restrictions

Defending Design Choices

In Search Of …

  • In Search of Solid Rationale
  • In Search of Aesthetic Choices
  • In Search of Assistance
  • In Search of Resources
  • In Search of Verifiable Compliance
  • In Search of Engineering Proving Compliance

Certifications for Railings and Dividers

Specifications for Railings

  • Sourcing the Product
  • Sustainability
  • Additional Rationale for Choices

Testing to Insure Compliance

Railing Materials and Styles

Choosing Railing Materials

  • Ferrous Railings
  • Stainless Steel Railings
  • Composite Railings/Capped Polymers
  • Available Composite/Capped Polymer Railing Styles
  • Aluminum Railings
  • Available Aluminum Railing Styles
  • Combined Aluminum & Composite Railings
  • Glass Railings
  • Bronze Railings

Choosing Railing Design

Choosing Railing Finishes

  • Options with Aluminum
  • Options for Stainless Steel
  • Paint Finishes

Market Share

Choosing Privacy Dividers

  • Dividers with Solid Panels
  • Dividers with Openings

Designing and Mounting Railings

  • Mounting at the Base
  • Mounting on the Side
  • Determining Anchor Strength
  • Additional Railing Design Considerations

Product Standardization

  • Advantages of a Standardized Product to a Project
  • Advantages of a Standardized Product to an Architectural Firm

Renovation – Reviving the Beautiful

  • Issues Encountered in Historic Railings Replacements
  • Accommodating Historical Detailing
  • Finding the right fabricator
  • Renovation Case Study

Partners in Projects

  • What to Seek in a Supplier
  • Distribution


Course instructors will be available by email or telephone between 8am and 6pm Eastern Standard Time. They will assist you with questions regarding course content.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-727-7104 or send an email to info@onlinecti.com. Email responses will usually be returned promptly, but guaranteed within one business day.

Student policies and procedures are always available by going to our website and scrolling to the bottom of the page (See Attendance, Privacy and Refund Policy).

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