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  1. #1
    Ken Zegel's Avatar
    Ken Zegel Guest

    Default Opinion on NYS Building Code Landing and Handrail Requirements

    I'm designing a backyard patio (for myself) and always get confused with the NYS building code on stair, handrail, and landing requirments. Applicable codes and questions from the attached:

    1) Handrails are required for stairs with two or more risers. I assume this means if you add one "step" between landings, that is considered two risers from one landing to the next and would require a handrail.
    2) As far as I can tell, the main exit door requires a landing, but none of the other doors require a landing (not that it wouldn't be good practice). The code used to be that the landing could be no more than 1.5 in below threshold, but now it's 8.25".
    3) Landings are required for sliding glass doors when served by more than two risers.

    Ultimately, I have no interest in putting in a handrail. For my front door, I have a landing, a second landing, and then two risers (one additional "step") going down to the walkway. The town inspector did not require a handrail for this.

    I've attached some chicken-scratch sketches also. Based on my understanding of the code, all of these scenarios would technically require a handrail (two risers shown). I don't understand why the inspector did not require it in the front though. Other than inspectors discretion and he was actually being reasonable.

    I'm curious if anyone's dealt with this and the crazy requirements in NYS (two risers for a handrail?).

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Opinion on NYS Building Code Landing and Handrail Requirements

    You are over thinking this. The patio is a patio and if you can get in the house with two risers, or less, you are done. Not sure about your area, but the IRC, I believe, allows raised areas to be 30" high without the need for guardrails, it's 24" around here. So, if your patio is under the height limit and you have two or less risers to your sliding door you have nothing else to worry about.

    Your first option would work, just step down 8" right away, then another 8" step, then patio, and done.

    I'm curious, if the AHJ OK'ed the front why is there an issue on the back, different guy?


  3. #3
    Ken Zegel's Avatar
    Ken Zegel Guest

    Default Re: Opinion on NYS Building Code Landing and Handrail Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    You are over thinking this. The patio is a patio and if you can get in the house with two risers, or less, you are done. Not sure about your area, but the IRC, I believe, allows raised areas to be 30" high without the need for guardrails, it's 24" around here. So, if your patio is under the height limit and you have two or less risers to your sliding door you have nothing else to worry about.

    Your first option would work, just step down 8" right away, then another 8" step, then patio, and done.

    I'm curious, if the AHJ OK'ed the front why is there an issue on the back, different guy?
    Same guy. During the construction, he told me if those two steps up were leading into the "main" landing at the front door, he would have required it. but not two landings away? My best bet is to probably meet up with him face to face and have him tell me. Of course I'm not interesting in going the permit/CO route right now so I don't want to tip them off. However, I do want to build it to code in the event I ever go to sell the house.


  4. #4
    erika krieger's Avatar
    erika krieger Guest

    Default Re: Opinion on NYS Building Code Landing and Handrail Requirements

    You are using a out-of-date code reference. Note the date on the Technical Bulletin. 2003. The current [2010] Residential Code of NYS states:

    R311.4.3 Landings at doors. There shall be a floor or landing on each side of each exterior door. The floor or landing at the exterior door shall not be more than 1.5 inches (38 mm) lower than the top of the threshold. The floor or landing at exterior doors other than the exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be required to comply with this requirement but shall have a rise no greater than that permitted in Section R311.5.3. The landing shall be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 0.25 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).
    Exceptions:
    1. Where a stairway of three or fewer risers is located on the exterior side of a door, other than
    the required exit door, a landing is not required for the exterior side of the door provided the
    door, other than an exterior storm or screen door does not swing over the stairway.
    2. The exterior landing at an exterior doorway shall not be more than 81/4 inches (209 mm) below the top of the threshold, provided the door, other than an exterior storm or screen door does not swing over the landing.
    3. The height of floors at exterior doors other than the exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be more than 81/4 inches (209 mm) lower than the top of the threshold.

    The width of each landing shall not be less than the door served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.


    R311.5.6 Handrails.
    Handrails shall be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flight with four or more risers.

    If you're dead set on continuing this work without obtaining proper permits, you'll want to read this bulletin: http://www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/pdf/TBworkwopermit.pdf

    Be prepared to prove the date of construction when you get around to selling/legalizing, or you'll be stuck using the then-current code, which could be different. Better yet, do the right thing and get the permit now.


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