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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Landing / stair section without guard / handrail

    Saw this in new construction. Landing has a 10" long section without a guard. A person could step from landing onto stair tread below that is ~15" down, a fall hazard IMO. This would be prone to occur with a person not familiar with the home, in the dark feeling along the stairs with feet and hands on railing, a child, etc.

    I could not find a code violation based on my interpretation of stair rail and landing guard requirements. But I thought I'd dig a little deeper because it bugged me. I got the following response from our State building code division:

    "Based only on the attached pictures you sent, I would say that the handrail (can’t see the handrail in any of the pictures) meets the intent of R311.7.7.2 Continuity since the newel post is sitting on the top landing. The definition of “flight” in chapter 2 of the 2012 NC Residential Code may be helpful for you in this section since the section requires handrails to be continuous for the full length of the flight. I also don’t see a guard issue here since the drop from the top landing is not more than 30 inches to the lower landing or the two treads adjacent to the top landing. I don’t see a code violation here based on what you sent."

    I mentioned this in the report as a potential hazard, but curious what other's think about this. Concern or not?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Landing / stair section without guard / handrail

    Landings are required at the top and bottom of every flight of stairs.
    - Landing width - minimum width shall be the width of the stair.
    - Landing depth - minimum depth shall be the width of the stair, except not required to be greater than 4 feet if the run of the stairs are straight.

    Riser heights (in case someone questions the above in relation to the photos).
    - Maximum riser height is 7-3/4".
    - Maximum riser height variation is 3/8" (tallest riser to shortest riser).

    The photos show a stair which does not meet the above.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( )

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Santa Rosa, CA

    Default Re: Landing / stair section without guard / handrail


    I agree with you and Jerry. Stairways are particularly hazardous (see Jerry's other post) and it's important to make sure any hazards are reported.

    Department of Redundancy Department


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