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Thread: Hand Rail??

  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Hand Rail??

    The top of the guard rail is 47 inches above the treads so it's too high. However, the metal rail second from the top is the correct width and height, can this be considered a hand rail.

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  2. #2
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    That is some very nice custom fabricated work. I see no problems.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Unless permitted otherwise horizontal rails are climbable.


  4. #4
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Park City allows them. I didn't see a problem with it.


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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Without the measurement of the rail I can't say for sure, but it looks like it is acceptable.
    PS
    All "RAILS" are (pretty much) horizontal
    "Guards" are allowed to be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, cross hatch, basket weave, maybe even polka dot.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    If it is 1.5" wide it make a handrail for the vertically challenged of any height.

    Climbing issue is a local issue, I think most allow it. Since it is not a pool.
    Even though it is not a good idea if your kids are not trainable.


  7. #7
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Or any visitors' kids.


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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    The top of the guard rail is 47 inches above the treads so it's too high.
    That is correct.

    However, the metal rail second from the top is the correct width and height, can this be considered a hand rail.
    No.

    While the IRC does give clearances between the handrail and the wall, the IRC is vague on the clearances required above the handrail for graspability, so ... the best explanation of clearances and a visual are in the Accessibility Code.

    Go to ADAAG: ADA Accessibility Guidelines
    - then click on the 4.26 link: ADA Accessibility Guidelines
    - - then, at the end of 4.26.2, click on the link (see Fig. 39(d) ): ADAAG Figure 39d

    That shows the necessary clearances above a recessed handrail for graspability.

    As the guard is shown in the photo, that lack of a handrail is a sure-fire fall-down-the-stairs hazard.

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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    The top of the guard rail is 47 inches above the treads so it's too high. However, the metal rail second from the top is the correct width and height, can this be considered a hand rail.

    NO!

    The area above a handrail must be clear .

    "Clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height."

    The presence of the too-high-wood "handrail" eliminates the safe and functional use of the metal rail below. The stairway is a means of egress and the area immedately above a handrail in a stairway must be clear up to the minimum required headroom height for the stair.

    The Code is also very precise regarding the grip-size and graspability of required handrails which are not circular.

    Following citations and quotations are from 2009 IRC, the language is nearly, if not exactly, the same in 2006, just numbering different.

    You'll find under Means of Egress in Chapter 3.

    Regarding the area being clear above the handrail - in the same (311.7) sub-section you find the required height of the handrail, just slipped in earlier in the required width language:

    R311.7.1 Width. Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in clear width atall 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 31-1/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides.

    R311.7.7.1 Height. Handrail height, measured vertically from the sloped plane adjoining the tread nosing, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).

    Exceptions:
    1. The use of a volute, turnout or starting easing shall be allowed over the lowest tread.
    2. When handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide continuous transition between flights, the transition from handrail to guardrail, or used at the start of a flight, the handrail height at the fittings or bendings shall be permitted to exceed the maximum height.

    Regarding grip-size, neither the wood, nor the metal rail below would be a Type II, so see Type I below.


    R311.7.7.3 Grip-size. All required handrails shall be of one of the following types or provide equivalent graspability.
    1. Type I. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1-1/4 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm). If the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension of at least 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 6-1/4 inches (160 mm) with a maximum cross section of dimension of 2-1/4 inches (57 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).

    2. Type II. Handrails with a perimeter greater than 6-1/4 inches (160 mm) shall have a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. The finger recess shall begin within a distance of 3/4 inch (19 mm) measured vertically from the tallest portion of the profile and achieve a depth of at least 5/16 inch (8 mm) within 7/8 inch (22 mm) below the widest portion of the profile. This required depth shall continue for at least 3/8 inch (10 mm) to a level that is not less than 1-3/4 inches (45 mm) below the tallest portion of the profile. The minimum width of the handrail above the recess shall be 1-1/4 inches (32 mm) to a maximum of 2-3/4 inches (70 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).
    HTH.


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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    While the IRC does give clearances between the handrail and the wall, the IRC is vague on the clearances required above the handrail for graspability, .
    The clear width area for the Stair begins above the handrail and continues upwards to the required headroom height.

    This means (up to the minimum required headroom height) nothing is allowed above the surface of a permitted handrail in a means of egress stairway, which is not expressly permitted to encroach by specific exception (such as the continuity exceptions, for example).

    The clear area requirement above the handrail has been slipped into the clear width requirements of the means of egress stairway in 2009 IRC R311.7.1.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-24-2012 at 07:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    I missed this one
    Thank you Jerry and Mr W

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I missed this one
    Thank you Jerry and Mr W
    You're welcome.


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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    NO!
    You are correct there.

    The area above a handrail must be clear .
    But not there, it is in the code quote you quoted.

    "Clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height."
    Above *the permitted handrail height*, that does not say above *the handrail*.

    The Code is also very precise regarding the grip-size and graspability of required handrails which are not circular.
    The code is not precise when you read what the code says instead of making it up to read as Watson wants it to read - another example of you not reading what is written but instead trying to make it read what you want it to read.

    I am going to de-Wastonize the following and use bold and underlining for highlighting:
    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 31-1/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides.
    Here is an example of what that is saying:
    - a) the minimum width of the stairway is 36 inches
    - b) above the permitted handrail height, but not necessarily above the handrail
    - c) the handrail is allowed to project a maximum of 4-1/2 inches from either, or both, sides of the stairway
    - d) when one handrail is installed, the minimum clear width below the handrail is 31-1/2 inches (36 - 4-1/2 = 31-1/2, no magic there, just math)
    - e) when two handrails are installed, the minimum clear width below the handrails is 27 inches (36 - 4-1/2 = 31-1/2 - 4-1/2 = 27, no magic there either, just math)
    - f) thus, the minimum stairway width is 36 inches above the permitted handrail height, and the handrails can project into that 36 inches by no more than 4-1/2 inches on each side, and the area below the handrail is allowed to be bumped in to align with the handrail, i.e., one could have solid walls 27 inches apart below the handrails, the handrails mounted to the top of those walls, with the walls above stepped back to a minimum of 36 inches (to the minimum height required for headroom).

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    The clear width area for the Stair begins above the handrail and continues upwards to the required headroom height.
    Correct again.

    This means (up to the minimum required headroom height) nothing is allowed above the surface of a permitted handrail in a means of egress stairway, which is not expressly permitted to encroach by specific exception (such as the continuity exceptions, for example).
    Correct again as stated ... "above the surface of a permitted handrail", which is different than 'above the handrail'.

    The clear area requirement above the handrail has been slipped into the clear width requirements of the means of egress stairway in 2009 IRC R311.7.1.
    Almost correct.

    You keep mixing "above the surface of a permitted handrail" up with 'above the handrail', they are two different things.

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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by PECK
    You keep mixing "above the surface of a permitted handrail" up with 'above the handrail', they are two different things.
    WRONG.

    A handrail may not be present if it is not permitted - allowed, i.e. not allowed. A handrail may be present, if it is permitted, even where not REQUIRED.

    allowed (permitted) position/orientation to the egress stairway, handrail(s) present, the top surface thereof IS the point of demark for required CLEAR AREA above same. The code is not ambiguous - the required clear area above the handrail is to the required headroom height above the stair.

    IF a handrail is present the area above it must be clear - all the way up to the minimum required headroom height.

    With a very few exception locations, as already indicated.

    Not all stairs in a means of egress require a handrail. In those locations where a handrail is not required, if installed within the stairway clearances, it is permitted.

    Where a stairway requies a handrail only on one side, and there are installed on both sides, when the clearances allow the presence of that second (unrequired) handrail - the permitted handrail (the unrequired one) still requires clear area immediately above it to minimum headroom clearance height.

    Its clear and unambiguous as it is written.

    But wherever a handrail is installed in a means of egress stairway the clear area (clearance above) is always to minimim headroom requirements.

    You're desperately trying to justify your claim that the code was vague regarding clearance above the handrail. It is not. You're wrong PECK.

    .

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-24-2012 at 10:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Interesting, I'll have to read up on this further.
    Again
    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  16. #16
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Once again, this is being made more complicated than it should be for an HI. Recommend modifying the existing equipment (which won't happen) or recommend installing a proper rail on the other side (which also won't happen) and go do the next inspection.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    R311.7.1 Width. Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in clear width atall 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 31-1/2 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides.

    I guess it depends on your def of in clear width


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    All of the dimensions are regarding the path of travel. The Code here is giving the starting point where the measurements are taken. They are taken from that point for any handrail. Whether there are one, two, three or even more, handrails placed in a means of egress stairway. The areas above handrails require clearance (upwards) above the handrail to minimum headroom and extend clear out (width) on either or both sides (if intermediately placed in the stairway such as in the middle - example an extra wide stairway in landscape requiring no side guards, quite wide, having a handrail down the middle - you see this a lot on exterior stairway means of egress pathways beyond outside of secondary exits which are in a means of egress path) which serve more than one path of travel on the stairway.Stairway and stairs pictured are lacking legal and functionally maintained required handrails, period. The pictured guard is not a handrail. No part of same as pictured and described (height wise) can be considered a handrail.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hand Rail??

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    WRONG.

    A handrail may not be present if it is not permitted - allowed, i.e. not allowed. A handrail may be present, if it is permitted, even where not REQUIRED.
    You are not making any sense now - "if it is not permitted"? Please provide a code section which does *not permit* a handrail to be installed at a stairway or ramp.

    allowed (permitted) position/orientation to the egress stairway, handrail(s) present, the top surface thereof IS the point of demark for required CLEAR AREA above same. The code is not ambiguous - the required clear area above the handrail is to the required headroom height above the stair.
    Okay ... 'splain the ADAAG drawing then ... I am waiting for this explanation.

    IF a handrail is present the area above it must be clear - all the way up to the minimum required headroom height.
    As stated above ... you got some 'splainin to do.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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