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'A disaster waiting to happen': Missing glass guard rail at Coquitlam open house

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said a second-floor glass guard rail was missing during an open house. (Courtesy: facebook.com/mayorstewart)

Days after NEWS 1130 reported on missing glass panel at Burnaby highrise, Coquitlam's mayor outlines similar issue

Coquitlam's mayor discovered a glass guard missing on the second floor of a new home during an open house

Richard Stewart said he looked down at a potential 10-foot drop during an open house in Coquitlam

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Just a few days after NEWS 1130 told you about a missing glass panel on the balcony of a new Burnaby highrise, we’re learning about another similar incident — this time, in Coquitlam.

The city’s mayor discovered a glass guard missing on the second floor of a new home during an open house, opening up to a 10-foot drop.

Richard Stewart is outraged by the discovery. “The little children, the senior citizens, the families that would come to visit an open house would have no protection from falling down a flight of stairs, 10 feet, and landing on a wooden staircase.”

“The ones that are glass, it’s less obvious when a guard has been left off … it isn’t apparent to a passerby that there’s something missing there.”

“There was a potential 10-foot drop beside me.”

He was touring the newly built home over the weekend, and even spent a couple of minutes on the second floor before noticing the barrier was missing.

“I remember actually leaning over one of the guard rails — a glass guard rail — and looking at one part of the lower level, and then went through the rest of the upper floor without realizing that the rest of the guard rails weren’t actually in place. There was a potential 10-foot drop beside me, without the guard rail being in place,” he said.

“It was something that, I would think, would never be in a situation during an open house or at any time when the public is allowed into a building,” he added.

RELATED: Missing panel on new Burnaby highrise shocks mom whose young son was on balcony

Stewart said he was shaken up after hearing NEWS 1130’s story about a missing glass panel on the 31st-floor balcony at a new Burnaby highrise.

“Shivers go through my entire body,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

He called the incident in Coquitlam “a disaster waiting to happen.”

Stewart says the builders of the Coquitlam home have been notified and the city is looking into it. “I immediately sent photos to our head of our planning department, our building department, and our chief building inspectors. They were acting on it early this week, to make sure that WorkSafeBC was notified [and that] the builder was brought to task on the question.”

“A disaster waiting to happen”

He points out building code requirements demand that there be a guard rail.

“They obviously intended to have one,” Stewart said. “WorkSafeBC would require that before the guard rail gets installed, there has to be a barrier during construction to prevent workers from falling down. You can’t remove that barrier until the guard goes in.”

“Obviously, at this point, they decided to remove the barrier before the guard was ready to be installed, and to have an open house with there being no protection for the visitors at the open house.”

He adds there needs to be better diligence before opening a building to the public.

“I’m concerned on lots of levels that this kind of mistake could happen because the consequences are enormous. If the person that falls doesn’t die, they’re probably injured for life in a very serious and life-changing way.”