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code requirements for irregular path

code requirements for irregular path

code requirements for irregular path

My client -- a county in California -- has asked me to design an erosion protection wall for a relatively steep irregular slope (1:1 and steeper) up to about 30 feet tall. The wall is in an environmentally sensitive recreation area, and will require a shotcrete facing, sculpted and stained to closely resemble the native geologic materials.

I've designed many such structures, so the structural aspects are a relative "slam dunk."

However, the existing bluff contains numerous irregular foot paths created over the years by the users of this area climbing down the face of the slope, and the client wishes to reproduce these features in the erosion protection wall to maintain the utility of the area for its users. Accordingly, the County has stipulated that irregular paths be included in the face of the wall to allow people egress from the area at the base of the wall to the top of the wall -- and has provided a conceptual sketch of how the path should look. It depicts a series of irregular sculpted steps, 18"-24" wide, projecting from the face of the wall, "snaking" up the face of the wall at about a 2:1 inclination. The path is to include no handrail, and will be provided with signage indicating that the paths are to be used for emergency egress only. (I realize that's a little cryptic. The "emergency" is not a fire or earthquake; suffice it to say that it is anticipated that some users at the base of the slope/wall may wish to extricate themselves from that area.)

I am confident that these artificial paths would provide safer egress than that provided by the current condition, or any conditions likely to exist in the future if the slope were left as-is. My employer will require that the County indemnify us and hold us harmless from any claims that may arise from parties injured using the paths. It occurs to me, however, that designing these features as requested by the County may subject me to potential disciplinary action by the state licensing board in the event that I was found to be negligent -- regardless of whether the County protected me from individuals' claims.

I would welcome any opinions on whether there is there any way to give the County and users what they want while maintaining a modicum of reasonable protection for myself.


Thanks in advance!


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RE: code requirements for irregular path

Hang a sign stating "No Thoroughfare" & No Trespassing" and build what the county wants.

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