1. ## handrails

Consider you find a set of steps to a front porch. The steps are 4 feet wide and have 4 risers.

In reality, they only require a handrail on one side. This particular set of steps has handrails on both sides. One handrail is graspable as defined by code, and the other is not.

Do you write up the non-graspable handrail because it's there? Point being, a person might use it since its there. The result could be a fall due to the non-graspable nature of the handrail.

2. ## Re: handrails

I would think that this would fall under the same "rule" about stairs that is being discussed on another thread.

If a rail is not required then it does not have to be there, but if you put a rail then it should meet code, and this is a perfect example of why...

...a person might use it since its there. The result could be a fall due to the non-graspable nature of the handrail.

3. ## Re: handrails

Were the stairs open on both sides, or were there walls at the sides?

4. ## Re: handrails

Originally Posted by neal lewis
Were the stairs open on both sides, or were there walls at the sides?
Exterior porch steps - open on the sides, except for the rails.

5. ## Re: handrails

John, don't they need a rail on both sides, it it's open?

6. ## Re: handrails

If the total 'drop' of all 4 risers exceed 30 inches, then a handrail on both sides would be required. If the 'drop' is less than 30 inches, then I would say no; 1 rail meets the requirements.

7. ## Re: handrails

Darren
You may be confusing "handrails" and "Guards"
Guards are required on the open sides of stairs, porches, ramps, and decks if 30" or more above the lower surface.
A(only one)handrail is required when there are 4 or more risers in a stairway, reguardless of height above the lower surface.

8. ## Re: handrails

Rick, the original question was about an exterior porch with stairs. I'm assuming they were open on both sides.

Thanks Neal

10. ## Re: handrails

What year did IRC begin requiring handrails on exterior stairs with four of more risers? And if a wall is on one side of the stairs, a rail would still be required, correct (referencing some comments above)?

11. ## Re: handrails

You have the code covered by the one. I always think safety first in areas like this. Make a note of the one and recommend that the other one match for safety reason. As if a handrail is there then it will be use and relyed upon to work as a handrail should and if it is unsafe then it needs to be corrected and made safe.

As it stands the one is unsafe for use.

Best

Ron

12. ## Re: handrails

The Florida Building code only requires on one side. Common sense tells us if its there bring it to code. But there is no code that requires you to.

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