IN THE BEGINNING, there were Stairs! In the beginning of the SMA that is, stairs were threatened by unfounded regulation of our industry through the building code. We went in numbers to the code hearings sometimes as many as 8 or 10 SMA Members in line at the microphone to reason our objections based upon our experience. In number, we were able to impress those listening that if nothing else we were to be taken seriously. We were on foreign ground with little knowledge of the process but with 3 minutes a piece, we were able to make a dent that delayed action until we could muster the testing and research necessary to prove our point.

Today, the SMA has a professional code development representative. Though we are interested, supportive of the results, and knowledgeable of the interpretation and enforcement of the codes we are complacent as to the process of code development and how it is affected by sheer numbers at the hearings. In this cycle we have several issues drawing significant attention of regulators that will have a direct impact on your business.

• A prescribed method of how to build the edge of a floor system to resist the loads transferred by guards will eliminate the need to add blocking where I-joists and trusses have not been engineered for the attachment of guards. Strongly supported by the SMA, through their efforts to organize an industry-wide task group of all sectors affected to submit a proposal for a prescriptive engineered solution.
• Application of a load on cables to test opening limitations. SMA needs to defeat a proposals that tries to identify cable guards like traffic barriers and/or invoke extreme loads.
• Elimination of a deflection requirement for guards. A complicated unenforced and unnecessary requirement the SMA has proposed to be eliminated for residential guards.

The next code hearing will be held within a few miles of the demographic center of our membership in Louisville, Kentucky, September 14 -21, 2022. Your presence, or lack thereof, may be the deciding factor…the proverbial straw. Look at your calendar and mark the dates. If it might be possible for you to attend and stand up for how you make your livelihood, let us know by contacting Dave Cooper, SMA Code Development Representative, at He will organize the SMA contingent and will be sure to contact you to be among those defenders that STAND UP, and TESTIFY, willing to do their part.

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