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While in general the building code specifications for exterior stairs, landings, and railings are the same as for indoor star is, we often see special trip hazards at exterior stairs and walks, conditions that do not occur indoors, and details which may escape some building inspectors. When we encounter steps and a deck such as the version shown in our photo (above left) we are confident that the construction was done without the benefit of building permits and code approvals, is unsafe, and may harbor other hidden structural or safety hazards. And some stair design requirements, such as stair treads that will not hold water, naturally pertain principally to outdoor stairways.
Proper structural support for the stair assembly is critical to avoid catastrophic failures and serious injuries. Proper exterior stair tread drainage: Outdoor stairs should be designed so as not to accumulate water on the tread surface Wet stair tread surfaces become slippery from water, ice, or algae and fungal growth.
Watch out: as we detail at EXTERIOR STAIR FALLS, algae, ice, snow and water make outdoor stairs very slippery and dangerous. The bark side of lumber determines the natural curvature of the tread board as the wood dries, and it makes for the best stair tread drainage and the minimum cupping or or holding of water on the stair tread. Not all carpenters don't agree with this sketch as shown here and would have flipped these boards (or stair treads over). Watch out: On wooden decks and stair treads a defect shelling can occur with the bark side down method. If after construction a deck or stair tread board misbehaves and cures with a concave cup that will tend to hold water (and form algae, ice and slip hazards such as discussed at Slippery Stairs, Walks), drill small drainage holes in the center of the cupped board. The exterior stair shown above appears to have been installed as a fire-exit way, but lacks a guardrail around the stair top balcony.
The board is opposing our request to widen the steps on aesthetic grounds, and not considering my mother's safety. Is there a way to determine what the proper width of each flagstone should be (side to side) based on the incline of the staircase? If I can't appeal to them on ethical or moral grounds, maybe I can convince them that it's the proper thing to do based on the incline to create a safe staircase for my mother. I have attached some photos below for reference, however they really don't show how steep the steps actually are when you try to climb them especially when they're wet or icy or have snow on them. A wider step from side to side would definitely make one feel more confident negotiating the steps up and down.
I appreciate any technical input or knowledge you can provide that would help me with my request to the board. From your photos, two of which we include above, I see a trip hazard where someone routes a garden hose across a stair tread - the hose can easily wind up in the walking path and is a serious trip hazard for anyone, young or elderly. In a companion article STAIR DIMENSIONS, WIDTH, HEIGHT you can read standard stair measurements.
You will want to involve the local building code officials in the jurisdiction where your mom's stairs are located. The stairs you describe are a less than the minimum recommended width, and in my OPINION we should do all feasible to make stairs safe and navigable particularly where their users are known to include people at extra risk of falling injuries. In a second companion article STEP TREAD DIMENSIONS you will see that although it makes perfect sense to provide a slight slope to exterior stair treads so that they will drain, the slope must be very slight, not more than 1 inch of rise in 48" of run. The minimum recommended stair landing length is 36" (or a length and width sufficiently greater than the swing of the door if a wider door is present.
Check that the exterior stair walking surfaces are level when measured side-to-side - in your photos the stairs look to as if they might be out of level in two directions.
Continue reading at STAIR DIMENSIONS, WIDTH, HEIGHT or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Question: We lease in a Denver office building with concrete exterior stairways (some with handrails). Denver publishes its building codes - othwerwise the authorities would be embarrassed about taking anyone to task for non-compliance. Stairways are discussed in Code Amendments Section 1009 where we see that the *only* amendment has to do with roof access stairs. Which means you ought to be able to get exactly the section you need from your local building department. Incidentally, differences in stair tread height greater than the accepted standards is indeed a trip hazard. I wonder why, when you encountered a building manager who says his stairs comply, you couldn't just ask him for a copy of the code to which they comply - so that you can compare that to your measurements.
Another excellent source of stair codes & standards is the Stairway Manufacturers' Association.
The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3a?„8 inch (9.5 mm).
OSHA estimates that there are 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors.
Exterior stair railings come in the form of metal, stone, iron, and wood handrails, giving you plenty of choices. This article series explains critical safe-construction details for decks and porches, including avoiding deck or porch collapse and unsafe deck stairs and railings. You may require stairs to get from the yard to the deck, from the deck into the house, from one deck level to another. When they are needed, stairs can also add a welcoming, visually appealing element to a well-designed deck. Deck stairs may not have the glamour and character of a fine interior stairway but they do pose the same risks and require the same level of care regarding safety, m This article series provides the basic information you need to design and build attractive, functional, and safe stairs for your deck. Our photo at above left shows a stair stringer and construction design that tells us the builder may have had trouble figuring out just how to attach and support these steps. This deck access stair that may be unsafe due to its age, connections to the deck structure, and the absence of guardrails and handrails. Ramps such as the access ramp shown at left can make your deck even more accessible, but their construction can vary because of local code differences and the variations from deck to deck.
Ramps also require guardrails and handrailings (the guardrail and handrails on the ramp shown at left are not code compliant). The need to add support at mid-span on this stair could have been avoided and the handrailings would have been more secure if the vertical railing post at mid span in the stair had been brought to ground level and secured to a pier.
The stair at above right was built by the website author and had to cope with a sloped entry point at the lowest step and an interrupted railing to permit access from the uphill side of a drive. As parts of a house go, stairs are dangerous places because of the risk of tripping and falling.
The tread depth (or run) is measured from the face of one riser to the face of the next (or from tread nosing to tread nosing).A  Codes may require a 9-inch minimum for the run, but 11 to 12 inches is better. This discussion is followed by links to articles giving more detailed codes & specifications for guardrails and stair handrails.
A handrailing is placed along stairs to assist someone climbing or descending the stairs and to help arrest a fall should the stair user trip. At left our photo illustrates both guardrailings (red arrows) and the handrailing along the deck stairs. Local building codes regarding deck railings (also called guardrails) range from extremely lenient to tightly restrictive. A deck guardrailing and a deck stair handrail and guardrail may not be required in some code jurisdictions unless your deck surface is 30 inches or more above ground. Other codes may refer to the number of steps rather than the height above ground - typically three steps - that is, three risers. If you are concerned about the well-being of children who might use your deck, keep in mind that there is no reason why you cannot put a railing on any deck, no matter how close to the ground it is. Our photo (left) illustrates construction of a large deck to be used as a performing stage at the SummerBlue Arts Camp, Two Harbors MN. Railings are often designed to withstand a force of 200 pounds pushing down on them or against them. The minimum height of a railing is usually 36 inches, but some people prefer a higher railing.
Spacing between all components of the railing should not be large enough to allow a 4-inch sphere to pass through (some codes say 6 inches).
In some jurisdictions you are not permitted to notch railing posts to fit against the outside of the deck perimeter structure (rim joist for example), although notched posts are often used. The minimum height of a railing is usually 36 inches, but some people prefer a higher railA¬ing. In the photo at left, my friend Paul Galow is standing on a deck he's built with no railings - happily he later added them. Watch out: as we report at TABLES of ACCIDENT FREQUENCY by TYPE more people are hurt and lose work time due to stair falls than just about any other hazard. At SLIPS, TRIPS & FALLS, EXTERIOR STAIRS we catalog a litany of stupid tricks that assure people are eventually going to fall down an exterior stair.
Adding injury to the insult of unsafe stairs is an improperly constructed guardrail or more often, an improperly constructed handrailing along an exterior deck or porch stair. When a person is falling they instinctively reach out to grasp a nearby railing to try to arrest the fall. Continue reading at DECK STAIR BUILDING DETAILS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines.
The Stairway Manufacturers' Association, (877) 500-5759, provides a pictorial guide to the stair and railing portion of the International Residential Code. Caliper Studio is an integrated design office and metal fabrication shop located in Brooklyn, NY. Caliper has experience with a broad range of projects, detailing expertise, and extensive knowledge of current design and fabrication technologies. This article explains and illustrate the requirements for safe, useable railings used inside or outside buildings, including guardrails, hand railings on steps and stairs, and stair rails or stair guards for both interior and exterior stairways.Railings in all of these categories are a critical safety feature on outdoor and indoor stairs, and ramps, both as graspable handrails to guide a user or to protect against a stair-fall, and as are guardrails along stairs, landings, platforms, decks, porches, and similar structures. What are the Definitions of Guardrail, Handrail, & Stair Rail & How do These Differ?


Railings in stair codes and specifications refer to the safety barrier along steps or stairs. A handrail is a horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the hand for guidance or support. Handrails and top rails of the stair rail systems must be able to withstand, without failure, least 200 pounds (890 n) of weight applied within 2 inches (5 cm) of the top edge in any downward or outward direction, at any point along the top edge.
Handrails must not be more than 37 inches (94 cm) high nor less than 30 inches (76 cm) from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread.
Temporary handrails must have a minimum clearance of 3 inches (8 cm) between the handrail and walls, stair rail systems and other objects. Stairways with four or more risers, or that rise more than 30 inches (76 cm) in height- whichever is less- must have at least one handrail.
Winding or spiral stairways must have a handrail to prevent use of areas where the tread width is less than 6 inches (15 cm).
Our photo (left) illustrates very challenging stairs with a high rise, climbing to over 230 feet at the Pyramid of the Sun in TeotihuacA?n outside of Mexico City.
Stairways with four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches (76 cm) in height- whichever is less- must be installed along each unprotected side or edge.
Stair rails installed after March 15,1991, must be not less than 36 inches (91.5 cm) in height.
Top edges of stair rail systems used as handrails must not be more than 37 inches (94 cm) high nor less than 36 inches (91.5 cm) from the upper surface of the stair rail system to the surface of the tread.
Stair rail systems and handrails must be surfaced to prevent injuries such as punctures or lacerations and to keep clothing from snagging. Ends of stair rail systems and handrails must be built to prevent dangerous projections, such as rails protruding beyond the end posts of the system. Unprotected sides and edges of stairway landings must have standard 42-inch (1.1 m) guardrail systems.
Intermediate vertical members, such as balusters used as guardrails, must not be more than 19 inches (48 cm) apart. Other intermediate structural members, when used, must be installed so that no openings are more than 19 inches (48 cm) wide. Screens or mesh, when used, must extend from the top rail to the stairway step and along the opening between top rail supports. A stair fall can be initiated by many conditions or events, some related to the condition of a tread or walking surface (slippery, uneven, sloped, loose, gaps, knots, rot, breakaways, bad lighting) but also to other more independent causes (person is running and missteps, person trips over own shoelace). But as a general rule, when a stair fall occurs the existence of the railing and its condition take on a very important role in stopping the fall or reducing its extent. A person using stairs often does not think at all about railings and may not even touch them - until a fall begins. Graspable Vs Non-Graspable Stairway HandrailingsBelow our photographs illustrate a properly designed & installed graspable stair railing or handrail. As you can see from our model's hand on top of the railing, the width of this particular rail, roughly 6", is too great to be grasped and held on-to should a stair fall occur. But an improperly designed or installed handrail is likely to be discovered, and will contribute to the extent of injuries suffered by someone who slips, trips, or falls when using the stairs. A loose handrailing can actually contribute to or even be a root cause of the initiation of a stairfall. Even if a porch or deck complies with local codes that do not require installation of guardrails at the deck and handrails at the deck steps, trip and fall hazards may be present. Railing wrong height on stairs (above) or landing (at left) - too low to grasp or too high to grasp, or too low to prevent falling off of a platform, as I'm demonstrating in the right-hand photo above and in the stair landing photo shown here. 2.A  Handrails my have starting or volute newels within the first tread on stairways in Group R, Division 3 Occupancies and within individual dwelling units of Group R, Division 1 Occupancies. Stairways shall have handrails on each side, and every stairway required to be more than 88 inches (2235 mm) in width shall be provided with not less than one intermediate handrail for each 88 inches (2235 mm) or required width.
Note: Local building standards may require 4-inch spacing of intermediate vertical members. Exception: Handrails and stair rails on flights of stairs serving basements or cellars that are covered by a trap door, removable floor or grating when not in use, shall stop at the floor level or entrance level so as not to interfere with the cover in the closed position. Continue reading at RAILINGS, DECK & PORCH or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.
We have had our front porch rebuilt on a commercial property, so we need to bring everything up to current code. If the local building department permits you to have no guards at all, you have that option though I don't recommend it. The reason that guard railings have a higher height than hand railings is that hand rails are at a height to be graspable when climbing stairs while a guardrail is to be high enough that someone doesn't accidentally step backwards and flip out over the railing. On a commercial property, where thus clients or customers or tenants or occupants are on-site, in my OPINION an owner ought to be extra cautious about safety hazards, recognizing that over time a variety of site visitors and behaviours may create risks that you wouldn't have thought about. Nice article to learn how to identify the mistakes in the handrail and guidelines as well for constructing handrails perfectly. My issue is that at the front of the tread this measures 36" and I am being told by customer that this will not meet code. Customer is treating this as two separate units with the one being a guardrail and the other handrail. 1926.1052(c)(2) Winding and spiral stairways shall be equipped with a handrail offset sufficiently to prevent walking on those portions of the stairways where the tread width is less than 6 inches (15 cm).
1926.1052(c)(3) The height of stair rails shall be not less than 34 inches nor more than 38 inches from the upper surface of the stair rail to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread. 1926.1052(c)(7) When the top edge of a stair rail also serves as a handrail, the height of the top edge shall be not less than 34 inches nor more than 38 inches from the upper surface of the stair rail to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread. ACTS is a not-for-profit corporation that provides health, safety, industrial hygiene, technical services, and safety publications to the arts, crafts, museums, and theater communities. ACTS also will not accept money or take advertising in our publications from manufacturers of artists materials or businesses whose interests could conflict with ours. Exterior or Outdoor Stair, railing, guardrail, landing, tread, and step specifications & codes.
We include references to articles cataloging the causes of stair slips, trips, and falls and to building code specification details for proper stair, landing, balcony and railing construction. We add some more subtle warnings about outdoor stairs and stair construction, and tips or tricks of carpentry and masonry to avoid problems with stairs. Our two stair photos just above show a large, complex exterior stair built along a rocky hillside - more of a cliff.
Bliss, Best Practices in Residential Construction, depicts the end grain of wooden deck boards stair treads as they would appear if you had placed the bark side down.
Make sure the drain holes won't catch a high-heeled shoe by making them small or locating them out of the walking path.
It is exactly during an emergency that a frightened user is more likely to fall at this location. Her unit is on the first floor and her patio is served by an outdoor staircase made of flagstone steps. But we point out that in general, the minimum recommended stair width is between 34" and 36" Across the width of the tread. In the middle of a run of 8 steps, the 4th step (middle of the run) is taller than all other steps and has caused many falls. You can buy a copy from a publisher but codes are usually also provided free - when a municipality adopts a model code as part of more local law they're obligated to provide copies of that code to their constituents.
Nearly half of these injuries are serious enough to require time off the job--11,570 lost workday injuries and 13,312 non-lost workday injuries occur annually due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Part 1 of deck stair building (below) outlines the basic codes & specifications for deck or porch stair construction. But as we warn below at Warnings about Unsafe Deck & Porch Stairs by their very nature, stairs can be dangerous, and they are a primary site of household accidents. Also this structure is in a shaded area exposed to slippery algae growth on the step and deck surfaces.
These steps are a trip and fall hazard, increased by the absence of guard railings and handrails. The tread depth shall be measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at right angle to the tread's leading edge. Winder treads shall have a minimum tread depth of 11 inches (279 mm) measured at a right angle to the tread's leading edge at a point 12 inches (305 mm) from the side where the treads are narrower and a minimum tread depth of 10 inches (254 mm).
Guardrails are also required along stairways but most codes permit the same structure to serve both purposes. This stair handrailing is not correctly built: it uses a 2x6 on flat and is not graspable along the stairway.
But 30 inches is a long way to fall, and more safety-conscious codes lower the requirement to 24 or even 15 inches. We recommend installation of guardrails and handrails on all outdoor structures at any height above ground level.
Imagine the stress caused by someone sitting on or leaning against the railing, and you will understand the need for such considerations. Maximum railing height is often limited by restrictions that limit the span of 2 x 2 balusters to 34 inches, but adding a middle rail will allow you to use longer balusters and thus create a higher railing. The 4-inch limitation is meant to eliminate the chance of a childa€™s head getting stuck and is well worth obeying. Maximum railing height is often limited by restrictions that limit the span of 2 x 2 balusters to 34 inches, but adding a middle rail will allow you to use longer balusters and thus create a higher railing. If you build a railing with horizontal members (such as in the illustration at right), which is perfectly legal in many areas, it is almost inevitable that children will want to start climbing the railing. We describe typical hazards such as slippery algae, snow, ice on steps, uneven or damaged treads or risers on stairways, or loose flimsy stair railings or deck guardrails. A non-graspable or otherwise improper railing denies the person that help, surely aggravating the fall and perhaps injury that may result.
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That is, if the railing is intended to be able to be grasped to help protect against a fall, it is called a handrail regardless of where it is installed.
In most specifications such as you'll see below, the height requirements for stair rails and handrails are identical.
How many steps, what total rise height requires a handrail?The final authority on when and where railings (stair rails or guards and handrailings) are required on steps, stairs, landings, balconies and decks, rests with your local building code official. When the top edge of a stair rail system also serves as a handrail, the height of the top edge must be no more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 36 inches (91.5 cm) from the upper surface of the stair rail to the surface of the tread.
A stair rail may itself be graspable and serve as a handrailing, or the stair rail might be higher, larger, and not-graspable, as shown in our photo at left.
The following opinions derive the author's experience in building stairs, inspecting stairs in and at buildings, in researching stair construction practices & building codes, and in the occasional assistance in the investigation of stair falls.
In that circumstance, an improper or unsafe railing is in one sense, worse than had there been no handrailing present at all, since in the latter case a stair user will have observed that there was no railing and may have been inclined to move more slowly and with greater care without that security, just as we are not inclined to step to the very edge of a tall balcony if no railings are installed on its perimeter.Our photo at left illustrates a stair railing that is much to large to be securely grasped. At that moment there is an instinct to "grab on" to something to try to arrest the fall or at least to reduce its severity.At the start of a fall up or down stairs, people will drop packages or even throw them into the air in the process of trying by instinct to grab onto a railing. The two sketches here illustrate graspable (and X'd out non-graspable) handrailing profiles. At below right, a photograph taken from the under-side of the handrail shows that when the railing is of a proper dimension and profile the hand can make a secure grasp with thumb and fingers.
At below left, the thumb is pressed against the vertical side of a 2x6, relying on friction alone for security - there is no mechanically-locking grasp of this railing - it is unsafe.
But even when the stair-fall occurs for some other reason, if the falling person cannot maintain a grasp on the railing, that person is likely to suffer more serious injury.See GRASPABILITY of HANDRAILINGS for complete details about handrail graspability.
Imagine a cocktail party with lots of people chatting, some standing with their back to the edge of the deck. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1.25 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm) or shall provide equivalent grasp ability. Intermediate handrails shall be spaced approximately equally across with the entire width of the stairway. Stairways less than 44 inches (1118 mm) in width or stairways serving one individual dwelling unit in Group R, Division 1 or 3 Occupancy or a Group R, Division 3 congregate residence may have one handrail. Stairways having less than four risers and serving one individual dwelling unit in Group R, Division 1 or 3, or a Group 4, Division 3 congregate residence or Group U Occupancies need not have handrails. This is not a residential building code requirement, but this text in our OPINION models stair construction safety & design specifications. Stair Rails and Handrails [35](a) Stairways shall have handrails or stair railings on each side, and every stairway required to be more than 88 inches in width shall be provided with not less than one intermediate stair railing for each 88 inches of required width. Stair railings on open sides that are 30 inches or more above the surface below shall be equipped with midrails approximately one half way between the steps and the top rail.
Stair railings and handrails shall be continuous the full length of the stairs and, except for private stairways, at least one handrail or stair railing shall extend in the direction of the stair run not less than 12 inches beyond the top riser nor less than 12 inches beyond the bottom riser. The handrail shall be designed to provide a grasping surface to avoid the person using it from falling.
And forgive my candor, but your final remark sounds more like a threat than sound reasoning. I've personally seen a catastrophe when a tenant fell off of a low platform and broke an ankle. I am willing to add glass balustrade in railings they look good and gives a classic and royal touch to the house. My feeble mind believes that this complete welded unit is considered a handrail since the elevation of the actual grab is at 34" to front of tread. If I were to build a simple pipe run of handrail with top and intermediate rail, would I not make it 34" high and go on?
I am in a big bind here and feel as though I am not in the wrong, but could use some help in convincing the architect of this. The handrail needs to be at the proper height above the treads for graspability, as measured in this article series. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones. A part of the fees from our consulting services goes to support our free and low-cost services for artists. We want artists to know that we have no financial incentive to make our product and safety recommendations. Construction Requirements for Safe Outdoor Steps, Stairs, Railings, Newell Posts - exterior stair trip & fall hazards. But indeed if the steps are too pitched (say for aggressive drainage) that excessive pitch is itself a trip and fall hazard. My own mother, also elderly, has tripped on a dead flat surface, and easily falls on even a single step. Our building manager says they meet code, but I contend the variation between steps is the problem. It's reasonable to say that the stair requirements are either expressed in the model code or are adjusted by a Colorado or Denver amendment. The adhesion and friction forces of the confined biopolymer were monitored as a function of time, shearing distance, and driving velocity under a large range of compressive loads (pressures).
Study of frictional values of car tires involved in collisions on snow or ice covered roadways. Part 2 of this article provides step by step details for laying out and cutting the stair stringer, attaching the stair stringers to the deck or porch, cutting and installing stair treads & risers. Specific requirements vary from place to place, however, so be sure to check your local code. The riser height shall be measured vertically between the leading edges of adjacent treads. Railings perform an important function on decks by ensuring that they can be used safely by people of all ages and sizes. The building code requirement for stair railings typically requires handrailings on stairs that have a total rise of three feet or more.
It might help to steady someone walking up or down the stairs as one can place a hand on the railing.
The reach for a secure hand-hold in in such moments is rapid and the opportunity to obtain a secure grasp to stop a stair fall is brief, giving import to the term readily graspable handrails.
Railings of this design are not approved by any of the model building codes.At below right on the same railing design you can see that the four fingers of the hand also must rely on friction alone, as there is no groove that might give a mechanical purchase, and certainly the wood rail is far too large to be grasped around by the hand.
Also see STAIR TREAD DIMENSIONS and the other stair measurement parameter subtopics outlined in our detailed article links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article . Intermediate stair railings shall be spaced approximately equal within the entire width of the stairway. Ends shall be returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals, or otherwise arranged so as not to constitute a projection hazard. We're not policemen here, nor code enforcement officials but we don't care for threats any more than those folks do. When the property owner turned the claim over to their insurance company the company's site investigation led to the company's refusal to pay the claim and to cancel the owner's insurance on all of the properties they had insured. We gratefully accept donations, but do not solicit them from the artists who call here for help and advice.
More importantly, they show that compliance with OSHA's requirements for the safe use of ladders and stairways could have prevented many of these injuries. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Some building codes are more flexible for exterior stairs than for those inside the house; some are not.
In some jurisdictions you are not permitted to notch railing posts to fit against the outside joists.
She has provided background research and text for InspectApedia's articles on deck and porch construction methods & procedures. But what if the railing is one that is improperly located, secured, sized or shaped?Because a defective stairway handrailing denies the stair user an opportunity to arrest or reduce the extent of a fall, non-functional handrailings are a significant contributor to the both the occurrence of the fall down stairs and the severity of the fall. Intermediate rails (all those except the handrail), balusters and panel fillers shall be designed to withstand a horizontally applied normal load of 50 pounds (0.22 kN) on an area not to exceed one square foot (305mm2) including openings and space between rails.
Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Stair rail requirements, when, where, why; stair rails (guards) may serve as handrails, and vice-versa.
Our friend Asta S., visiting el Nigromante Art and Cultural Center in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is illustrating the extent of this oversized stair rail - just compare the size of her hand to the railing size. The house is 125 years old (bed and breakfast) and the old railings were only about 32 inches high. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Codes for [Graspable] Handrails Along Stairs & for Stair Rails Along Open Stairways as Guards.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Unsafe or Non-Functional Handrails & Stair Railings Contribute to to Stair Falls & Injuries. Guards are to contain intermediate rails, balusters or other construction to reduce the chance of an adult or child from falling through the guard. If the guard is missing some intermediate rails or balustrades, it is recommended that the guard be repaired to its original condition if it will provide protection equivalent to the protection it provided when originally constructed.



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