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  1. #1
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
    mitch buchanan Guest

    Default outlet at stair riser

    I recently inspected a home with a regular duplex outlet (not rated for floor use) installed at one of the stairway risers. I've never seen this in 16 years and when I come across an issue I've never seen before, it's usually wrong. Can anyone give me a code reference for this? Thanks to all for your responses!

    Mitch

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    Deleted, misread the OP.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-10-2009 at 12:03 PM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    I don't have a code reference, but on a common sense stance I do. I don't see that as a safety concern until someone plugs a cord into it-- then it's a trip hazard and I'd write it as such.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    Does the receptacle encroach upon the required tread depth? If its not a damp or wet area, and its on the riser not the tread, I can't see a reason for a floor box. A not-in-use cover might be good idea.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch buchanan View Post
    I recently inspected a home with a regular duplex outlet (not rated for floor use) installed at one of the stairway risers. I've never seen this in 16 years and when I come across an issue I've never seen before, it's usually wrong. Can anyone give me a code reference for this?

    Regardless whether it is in "the required width" of the stairs or if the stairs are 12 feet wide and are only required to be 3 feet wide, and while I am not aware of a code which specifically prohibits INSTALLING that receptacle in a riser, the code for stairway width and use would prohibit installing a cord and plug into the receptacle ... thus installing the receptacle would be an enticement to create an unsafe hazard at that stairway, and that in itself would not be allowed by "the intent of the code".

    Here is the code which would prohibit the cord and plug from being inserted into the receptacle: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R311.5 Stairways.
    - - R311.5.1 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 31.5 inches (787 mm) where a handrail is installed on one side and 27 inches (698 mm) where handrails are provided on both sides.
    - - - Exception: The width of spiral stairways shall be in accordance with Section R311.5.8.

    The above actually allows the wall on one side, or both sides, to project into the 36" "clear width" below the handrail to the projection of the handrail. The above does not allow a cord to be plugged into a receptacle and then be strewn along/across treads or the stairway.

    There is no "reasonable" reason to place a receptacle along a stairway, neither in a stringer or in a riser as doing so would create an enticement to plug in a cord and plug, which would create an unsafe trip and fall condition.


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

  6. #6
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
    mitch buchanan Guest

    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    To all that reponded,

    Thanks for your input - I totally agree with the idea that this outlet is "just asking" for someone to plug a cord into it and cause a hazard. It's odd what we sometimes find in homes, but it does make this line of work interesting!

    Mitch


  7. #7
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    Default Re: outlet at stair riser

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch buchanan View Post

    this outlet is "just asking" for someone to plug a cord into it and cause a hazard

    Mitch
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