Date of Award

Summer 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Balcony guardrails, Building code, Wind tunnel test, Wind-induced pressure


S. Chen


B. Zhou




The wind-induced pressure coefficients for the balcony guardrail design are based on the provision of wall cladding and components provided in building codes, such as the National Building Code of Canada 2015. However, the balcony guard’s failure frequently occurred, which caused a number of accidents and casualties in the past years. This work studies the wind-induced pressure coefficients on the two typical balconies guard models, an isolated balcony and a continuous balcony, based on various wind direction, wind speeds, and balcony configurations through wind tunnel test. The test results in the wind tunnel are compared with the provisions of the National Building Code of Canada 2015. The study concluded that the wind direction effectively declined the wind-induced pressure coefficient on the windward side of the balcony guards as the wind attack angle increased. The variation of wind speed also influenced the wind-induced pressure coefficient. For the different balcony types, the wind-induced pressure coefficient was still different. The balcony configuration such as the gap between the front panel and the floor did not alter the wind-induced pressure coefficient. The tested results verified that recommended wind-induced pressure coefficients in the provision of the National Building Code of Canada 2015 are too conservative.