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Director, Sales and Marketing

Since 2013 Kevin Harris has served as Director of Sales & Marketing for AGS Stainless, Inc. Mr. Harris has an extensive track record in business development, marketing, communications and sales. Prior to his position with AGS Stainless, Mr. Harris founded 4 industry-leading firms including 2-information technology firms, one specializing in the creation of web-based process management tools for Fortune 100 corporations and one that specialized in building predictive modeling applications for federal agencies, a real estate development firm that spearheaded the restoration and redevelopment of a historic seaport communities downtown waterfront and a state-chartered community bank. Two of these four companies he sold to publicly traded corporations.

The Aesthetic Appeal of External Railings

sponsored August 16, 2016

What role do external railings play in the overall look of a home? 

In short, they can become one of a home’s most visible exterior elements, enhancing an outdoor living space through clean, straight lines and a modern aesthetic. 

But sometimes, the role of railings is not to interfere with dramatic sightlines out to the water, mountains or landscape. 

“We build a lot of homes in very scenic locations, so the goal is for the view to be the focus and the railing to disappear,” says Brian Abramson, Co-Founder, Method Homes in Seattle. “You want to look out at the water or mountains, so it’s important that it’s low profile, clean and matches the design of the house.” 

Check out this video excerpt from a panel discussion hosted by AGS Stainless at the recent Dwell on Design exhibition and conference in Los Angeles.



Do you have any tips for dealing with building officials that are reluctant to approve cable rails by siting the ladder effect?

The use of stainless steel cable as a railing infill (cable rail) is a rapidly growing trend within the architectural design community, as well as builders and the homeowners themselves. To meet this increasing demand, many of the railing industry’s leading manufacturers have added cable rail to their product offerings.

That said, cable rail is still new enough that not all local building departments have approved its use. The most common argument against using cable rail is that the horizontal orientation of the cable creates a potential safety hazard for young children. The reasoning is that the cable can create a potential ‘toe-hold” or “ladder-effect” allowing them to climb up on the railings and place themselves at risk of injury.

To be clear, the use of horizontal stainless steel cables as a railing infill is not prohibited by the International Building Code (IBC). Although language to this effect appeared briefly in the IBC some years ago, it was quickly removed. If your local building officials are using the IBC as a basis for denying your cable rail request, this should be fairly easy for you to overcome. Just ask them to show it to you.

Local jurisdictions do have the authority, however, to edit or amend the model versions of the code. This means that, even though the use of cable rail is not restricted by the IBC, its use can still be prevented or controlled by more restrictive local building codes. For example, cable rail is specifically banned in Chicago while Oakland allows it, but has a maximum cable spacing of 2 ½” o.c.

If the latter is the case in your area, ask your railing manufacturer to assist you in working with the local building officials. The railing manufacturer should be able to provide you with additional documentation that may help.

They should be able to provide you with architectural drawings and engineering calculations for your railing system. Sometimes having more substantiation as to the safety and stability of your railing system may help to ease the concerns of your local building officials.

However, at the end of the day, it may be that cable rail is just too new for your local building officials to approve as an infill. If that is the case, take heart, you have other options: consider using a railing system with “vertical” cable instead of “horizontal” cable or a system with glass panels. Both styles look great and you should have no problem getting them approved for use by your local building officials. For more info on the building codes effecting cable rail you can contact us directly at 888.842.9492 or visit our website at

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