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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oklahoma City
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    Default Handrail Question

    Should this stairway have a newel post and handrail on the floor where the first step down is? I did not find a code that I could relate to it. Pic came out bad, but I think you can see what I mean.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Handrail Question

    That would probably be the easiest way to meet code, which requires the hand rail to extent from the top riser to the bottom riser, and a Newel post at the top riser would all that.

    Another way would be to brace the handrail off the wall, extend to the top riser, then return the hand rail to the floor below, a bit trickier to do.

    Neither addresses the guard rail problem at both sides of the top of that stair.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Handrail Question

    That's an accident waiting to happen. A truly bad design and the architect, designer and builder should be publicly flogged.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Handrail Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    That's an accident waiting to happen. A truly bad design and the architect, designer and builder should be publicly flogged.
    They thought about public flogging but nobody in the design department could figure out a safe way to do it.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: Handrail Question

    You mentioned you couldn't find a code reference...you'll find referenced & quoted below, hope it helps.

    Not just a post and handrail extension - you need to GUARD both open sides and newl posts with handrail extensions alone aren't going to accomplish that.

    Guards required on landing from sides of stairway (other than the direction of travel) at the top of the stairway.

    I think its reasonable to presume that flight of stairs decends to a level which is at an elevation more than 30" vertically lower than the carpet at the landing...so Guards are needed at both sides of the last steps to the landing and the handrail at least to the landing's riser. The newl post exception is for the begining (bottom) of the flight, not the top of the flight.

    Half-walls projecting extensions from both walls enclosing the stairway would work well and seem to be in keeping with the architecture, likely may have even existed previously at one tme. Handrail returned at landing, Handrail continuous for the flight (continuity).

    Look under Guards for the code rules regarding same in relation to stairs, in the IRC (in the 2009 edition you'll find Guards in Chapter 3, R312, and stairways info under R311 Means of Egress); although perhaps the IPMC would be more appropriate (which incorporates the IFC regards maintaining adequate and safe means of egress including stairways, guards & handrails).

    IRC (2009):

    R312.1 Where required. Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, ramps and landings, that are located more than 30 inches (762 mm) measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches (914 mm) horizontally to the edge of the open side. Insect screening shall not be considered as a guard.

    R312.2 Height. Required guards at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies or landings, shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) high measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface, adjacent fixed seating or the line connecting the leading edges of the treads.

    Exceptions:


    1. Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height not less than 34 inches (864 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the leading edges of the treads.2. Where the top of the guard also serves as a handrail on the open sides of stairs, the top of the guard shall not be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the leading edges of the treads.Stairways under MEANS OF EGRESS you'll find some more references...

    R311.7 Stairways.


    R311.7.1 Width. Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height. Handrails shall not project more than 4.5 inches (114 mm) on either side of the stairway and the minimum clear width of the stairway at and below the handrail height, including treads and landings, shall not be less than 311/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-14-2012 at 05:39 PM.

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