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Today I inspected a house with the garage in the basement. There are masonry brick veneered retaining walls on each side of the driveway. The rest of the property is level. At one wall there is a railing at the top due to a sidewalk to the front entry. On the other side of the driveway at the top of the other wall is a turf area, no walkways. The wall is 7'6"high from the base of the garage entry to the top and 22" above grade at the top where the turf area meets it. Is a railing needed at the top of the this section of wall?

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I meant required to replace needed in my OP. I can't find a referance but it makes sense anyway so I am telling them to have rails installed. While I was at the property a young relative was walking along the top of the wall near the sidewalk and holding the railing at the higher portions. That was enough to make the call. It's like falling into the deep end of the pool, with no water.

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The garage is going to fill up like a swimming pool in the first place.

I know, I know ... different construction in all parts of the country.

Just wondering about snow, ice, etc.. No way in hell is one getting out of that garage and entering (on ice) will be "quick". !

I know there is 'some' ice/snow in NJ. I lived there once or twice in my prior lifetimes.

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Trough drain at the base of the driveway into a sump pit in the garage, another set of issues.

Snow, ice and inclines are a way of life. Sub-terranean garages have been around for a long time. It's the way to fit a garage when you can't meet property line setbacks. I wouldn't do it, doesn't mean someone else can't.

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The IRC requires a guard at "open-sided walking surfaces". In my judgment, the right side of your photo doesn't meet that criteria. A guard would certainly make it safer (...but you already knew that).

What's the height of the drop-off on the left side where the guard ends?

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The way I see it is that I tell them to install a guardrail on the wall. If they don't and someone gets hurt then they were forewarned.

Even though there is no walkway on the right side it is an access to the rear yard as there is a fence and gate on that side.

[:-yawn] and what did the forewarning accomplish?

It's not needed.

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I recommend them in those situations (based on my personal professional opinion and experiences), and advise why I feel it's a potential safety hazard. Lots of things that can hurt people used to not be in codes, but are now. Even if it's not required by code doesn't mean it can't seriously hurt you.

It's obviously up to them whether it is a concern to them or not to have a rail installed, but make the case for why I feel it should be. A lot of times people don't even think about the potential hazard until something bad happens.

I also recommend flip up cover grates on basement egress window wells on the exterior, even though they aren't required by AHJs here. I simply put it in perspective of kids running around outside playing, and falling into it (or in this case off of it). That is, if they get out from in front of the TV to go outside.

Have been in the fire service for many years and have pulled a few seriously injured people out of situations where simple guards could have prevented the falls.

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