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  1. #1
    Ian Giesler's Avatar
    Ian Giesler Guest

    Default Handrail question again

    Located in Grand Cayman, Building department subscribes to 1999 SBC.
    New construction, four unit per building condo, classified as type 5 construction. Each unit has their own entry, no common building areas. These are basically 21' wide condo/apartment units, all units are sold upon completion. The interior stair between floor levels has a riser and tread that protrudes into the hallway. The building inspector has suggested that I add a newel and terminate the handrail on the newel instead of the handrail terminating even with the wall line. (wall line is one tread back on the stairs) He says that the design is not code compliant. The other option was to extend the handrail out from the wall to the first riser which in my opinion is more of a hazard as it would stick out from the wall 10". Can anyone cite a way to get around this and leave the handrail as is, terminating at the wall line? Thanks in advance,
    Ian

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Giesler View Post
    Located in Grand Cayman, Building department subscribes to 1999 SBC.
    You mean the 1997 Standard Building Code, the code cycle was 1994, 1997, then to the 2000 ICC codes.

    New construction, four unit per building condo, classified as type 5 construction. Each unit has their own entry, no common building areas. These are basically 21' wide condo/apartment units, all units are sold upon completion. The interior stair between floor levels has a riser and tread that protrudes into the hallway. The building inspector has suggested that I add a newel and terminate the handrail on the newel instead of the handrail terminating even with the wall line. (wall line is one tread back on the stairs) He says that the design is not code compliant. The other option was to extend the handrail out from the wall to the first riser which in my opinion is more of a hazard as it would stick out from the wall 10". Can anyone cite a way to get around this and leave the handrail as is, terminating at the wall line? Thanks in advance,
    Ian
    Your installation is not code compliant as the handrail needs to be continuous from the bottom riser to the top riser and then return to the wall, floor, or end in a Newel post. Not only does the handrail need to extend to the lowest riser, the guard also needs to extend to the lowest riser, being as the wall is the guard for most of the length of the stair, a separate guard needs to go from the end of the wall to the first riser.

    Another question is needed because you stated the stairs "has a riser and tread that protrudes into the hallway" ... how wide is the hallway wall-to-wall and wall-to-lowest stair nosing/riser?

    The minimum width for a hallway is 36" wall-to-wall finished, and if the lowest stair protrudes into the hallway, then the hallway needs to be 36" wall-to-whatever-protrudes into the hallway and makes the hallway narrower.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    the guard also needs to extend to the lowest riser, being as the wall is the guard for most of the length of the stair, a separate guard needs to go from the end of the wall to the first riser.
    Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but
    A guard is only required when above 30"
    not at the 1st riser.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but
    A guard is only required when above 30"
    not at the 1st riser.
    Rick,

    While this is outside the 1997 SBC in the question, and the 1997 SBC language does not clearly address or not address this, your question is regarding newer codes so I am posting the following from the 2006 IRC as many places use that code. The key is not just the exposed open sides, but the total rise of the stair:
    - R312.1 Guards. Porches, balconies, ramps or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 34 inches (864 mm) in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.
    - - Porches and decks which are enclosed with insect screening shall be equipped with guards where the walking surface is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below.

    That stair has, I am sure, a "total rise of more than 30 inches", as such a guard shall on the open sides. This is why, when stairs extend out past a wall by a tread or two, you will see the handrail installed with vertical balusters (i.e., a "guard") ending in a volute installed at the bottom tread.

    Ian,

    This is from the 1997 SBC:
    - B1007.5 HANDRAILS
    - - B1007.5.1 Stairways having four or more risers above a floor or finished ground level, shall be equipped with handrails located not less than 34 inches (864 mm) nor more than 38 inches (965 mm) above the leading edge of a tread.
    - - - EXCEPTIONS:
    - - - - 1. Handrails that form part of a guardrail may be 42 inches (1067 mm) high.
    - - - - 2. As required for Group I Unrestrained in B1024.1.4.
    - - B1007.5.2 Stairways shall have handrails on each side.
    - - - EXCEPTIONS:
    - - - - 1. Aisle stairs provided with a center handrail need not have additional handrails.
    - - - - 2. Stairs within dwelling units, spiral stairs and aisle stairs serving seating only on one side may have a handrail on one side only.

    - B1015 GUARDRAILS
    - - B1015.1 GENERAL. All unenclosed floor and roof openings, open and glazed sides of landings, stairs, ramps, balconies, and porches which are more than 30 inches (762 mm) above finished ground level or a floor below shall be protected by a guardrail.
    - - - EXCEPTIONS:
    - - - - 1. Guardrails are not required on the loading side of loading docks.
    - - - - 2. Guardrails shall be permitted in conformance with requirements for specific occupancies in B1018.
    - - B1015.2 HEIGHT. Guardrails shall form a vertical protective barrier not less than 42 inches (1067 mm) high.
    - - - EXCEPTIONS:
    - - - - 1. Guardrails on open or glazed sides of stairs and ramps shall be permitted to be 36 inches (914 mm) high.
    - - - - 2. The top element of a guardrail at the inside open or unenclosed edge of any intermediate stairway landing where the stairs reverse direction may be at the same height as the stairway handrails when the horizontal distance between the stair flights is 1 ft (305 mm) or less and when a continuous handrail as specified in B1007.5 is provided.
    - - B1015.3 OPENINGS. Open guardrails shall have intermediate rails or ornamental pattern such that a 4-inch (102 mm) diameter sphere cannot pass through any opening. A bottom rail or curb shall be provided that will reject the passage of 2-inch (51 mm) diameter sphere.
    - - - EXCEPTIONS:
    - - - - 1. A bottom rail or curb is not required on stairs.
    - - - - 2. A 6-inch (152 mm) sphere shall not pass through the triangular opening formed by a tread, riser and bottom of a guardrail.
    - - B1015.4 STRENGTH, DURABILITY AND ATTACHMENT. Construction of guardrails shall be adequate in strength, durability and attachment for their purpose as described in B1608.2.

    B1015.5 GLASS. Glass guardrail components shall comply with B2405.5.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rick, Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards
    Thanks

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

  6. #6
    Ian Giesler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Ok, thanks. The hallway remains a width greater than 36" with the lower step protruding. If we end the handrail into a newel, I'm thinking the newel can be located on top of the first tread, technically, then the handrail does not extend past the lowest riser. If the newel is placed below the first riser, then I lose the "36" clear hallway. Thanks again,
    Ian


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Building department subscribes to 1999 SBC
    How quaint.

    Texas Inspector
    http://www.texasinspector.com
    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Giesler View Post
    Ok, thanks. The hallway remains a width greater than 36" with the lower step protruding. If we end the handrail into a newel, I'm thinking the newel can be located on top of the first tread, technically, then the handrail does not extend past the lowest riser. If the newel is placed below the first riser, then I lose the "36" clear hallway. Thanks again,
    Ian
    Ian,

    That would meet the more current 2006 IRC code which is more descriptive than the older code:
    - R311.5.6.2 Continuity. Handrails for stairways shall be continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly above the lowest riser of the flight. Handrail ends shall be returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals. Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 11/2 inch (38 mm) between the wall and the handrails.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Handrails shall be permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at the turn.
    - - - 2. The use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or starting newel shall be allowed over the lowest tread.

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

  9. #9
    Ian Giesler's Avatar
    Ian Giesler Guest

    Default Re: Handrail question again

    Thanks to all!... and I thought that the "good ol days" were much easier. Try going back to 1999 when you are 2012, Geez, that was a few moons ago!
    Ian


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