Injuries Suffered Due to Commercial Apartment Railing Failure

This case study explores a commercial apartment railing failure incident, focusing on the importance of building code compliance for safety.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Hand on wooden railing

Case Overview

This case study examines an incident in which an individual sustained injuries due to a defective railing in a commercial apartment building. The plaintiff was utilizing the railing for balance when it unexpectedly collapsed, causing them to fall and suffer injuries.

Allegations have been made that the railing was not compliant with building codes. If accurate, it would necessitate its replacement to prevent such incidents from occurring. The central issue of this case is determining whether the rail should have been replaced according to building code regulations specific to commercial apartment buildings.

Questions to the expert and their responses


Could you provide some insight into your professional background in building codes, specifically pertaining to commercial apartment buildings?

I am a licensed professional architect operating in several states, including Oregon.

My career spans three decades, with approximately 20 years dedicated to forensic architecture. I’ve handled numerous cases involving railing failures and falls resulting from these failures, including apartment buildings. My experience extends to designing railing systems and investigating failed railings.


What are the key factors that determine whether or not a commercial building's railing should be replaced?

The railing’s structural integrity is paramount and requires regular maintenance and inspection. Typically, corrosion near the anchor points of railing systems can be seen. Once maintenance personnel notice wear and tear, a determination must be made regarding repair or replacement.

About the expert

This expert boasts over three decades of experience in architecture and premises liability, specializing in property condition assessments, construction defect analysis, and premises liability assessments. They hold a BS in Architecture from a renowned university and are a certified XL tribometrist, walkway auditor, and playground safety inspector. Currently serving as the president and architect for an independent premises liability consulting group, they are also registered as a professional architect in multiple states and actively participate in several professional organizations such as the International Code Council and the ASTM International Committee on Pedestrian/Walkway Safety and Footwear.

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