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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    Default Railings at non-required locations

    Sets of stairs with 2 risers, elevated surfaces less than 30" - If there are railings present do you:

    A - Say nothing if they're built wrong, loose or otherwise incorrect?

    B - Recommend they be removed because they're not needed?

    C - Note the things that are incorrect as if they were in required locations?


    Over the years I think I've gone back and forth on this one. Mainly, if they're loose I'll call it because I can see a definite hazard if someone goes to grab a railing and it falls over it's not a good situation.

    6" gaps in a deck railing for a surface that is 12" off the ground? I think I usually let that one go.

    Non-graspable railings and large openings for one or two risers? I think I usually let that one go also.

    It doesn't come up a lot but I ran across it a couple times this week and am curious what the masses say?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
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    3,177

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    Here's one way to look at it: if there is a rail/guard at an elevated surface that measures 29 inches, and there are 6" gaps, would you write that up? If you would, and I would, at what elevation would you decide not to, and based on what?


  3. #3
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    Since railings are sometimes used as a means to direct foot traffic, or merely as a decorative element, and there is nothing saying you CAN'T have a railing, just because it's not a required location, I would not write it up.
    If there were a safety reason such as sharp edges, loose, then I would point those out, in writing of course.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    "Sets of stairs with 2 risers, elevated surfaces less than 30" - If there are railings present do you:
    A - Say nothing if they're built wrong, loose or otherwise incorrect?"

    If it is incorrect, say so

    "B - Recommend they be removed because they're not needed?"
    There may be many things in a home that are not required . 2 windows in a room, when 1 would meet the requirement. Would you recommend the 2nd be removed?. No.
    C - Note the things that are incorrect as if they were in required locations?
    Yes

    Over the years I think I've gone back and forth on this one. Mainly, if they're loose I'll call it because I can see a definite hazard if someone goes to grab a railing and it falls over it's not a good situation.

    6" gaps in a deck railing for a surface that is 12" off the ground? I think I usually let that one go.

    Not only does the 4" requirement prevent a child from squeezing through the rails and falling, it also prevents a child from getting their head stuck between the rails. Does not matter is the rails are 12' or 12" off the floor.

    There may be some execptions (I can't think of any right now), but anytime something is present, it should still be to code, even if it was not required to be installed to begin with.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,243

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    Look at it this way:

    a) The code tells you the minimum standard to which "something" (in this case a "guardrail") must be constructed.

    b) The code tells you the minimum conditions under which that "something" must be installed.

    You can "meet" the code by following a) and b).

    You can "exceed" the code by going above and beyond a) and b).

    To "exceed" the code in a), the spaces between balusters would be even less than the maximum allowed, the height would be even greater than the minimum required, its strength would be even stronger than the minimum required, etc.

    To "exceed" the code in b), you could install it at heights lower than the maximum allowed, to install it in locations other than the required minimum locations.

    However ... if the code is exceeded in b) by installing in more than the minimum required locations, a) must still be met or exceeded if you so chose.

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

  6. #6
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
    Richard Pultar Guest

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    its 3 risers now in NJ


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Railings at non-required locations

    For the safety of the client and family, I would include a note. Openings between 3.5" to 9" can entrap 2 to 12 year olds and cause strangulation. (Playground Safety Reg)

    Steve


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