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  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
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    Default handrail requirement for wide stairway

    New construction. I'm pretty sure a stairway that is wider than 6' requires a handrail on both sides. This is an exterior bulkhead stairwell for access in and out of the basement.

    Having trouble navigating my reference material at the moment. Can anyone please point me to the IRC code that would address this?

    I wrote up lack of handrails on both sides. Builder rep told buyer the county approved it so he's not adding another rail for the other side.

    Thanks

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    174

    Default Re: handrail requirement for wide stairway

    The IRC

    R311.7.8 Handrails. Handrails shall be provided on not less than one side of each continuous run of
    treads or flight with four or more risers.

    You may be thinking of IBC 1014.......


  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: handrail requirement for wide stairway

    Residential Code - handrail required on only one side, regardless of width of the stair.

    Building Code - handrails required - at least two*, and additional handrails based on the "required width" (not the "width", the "required width" is based on occupant load, the "width" is as wide as one wants to make it).

    *Does not state 'along each side', although that is the most common place to find handrails - the code actually states, in 1014.9, "On monumental stairs, handrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel."

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: handrail requirement for wide stairway

    Thanks for the info. I'm not sure why I though it was in the IRC.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: handrail requirement for wide stairway

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Thanks for the info. I'm not sure why I though it was in the IRC.
    The problem that I run into is that the more I learn, the more confused I become.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: handrail requirement for wide stairway

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The problem that I run into is that the more I learn, the more confused I become.
    And I need to unconfuse what I posted before as, after reading it again, I realized that my wording could be very confusing, specifically this part:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Building Code -
    .

    *Does not state 'along each side', although that is the most common place to find handrails - the code actually states, in 1014.9, "On monumental stairs, handrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel."
    My wording was about handrails on "monumental stairs", not 'regular stairs', but I did not state that ... so ... here is the code for 'regular stairs' (versus "monumental stairs"):
    - IBC (bold and underlining are mine)
    - - 1011.11 Handrails.
    - - - Flights of stairways shall have handrails on each side and shall comply with Section 1014. Where glass is used to provide the handrail, the handrail shall comply with Section 2407.
    Exceptions: (there are 4 exceptions, but do not affect the aspect addressed here)

    I was point out, that on very wide stairs in the question (monumental stairs, although I don't know if the ), that the "wider than 6' requires a handrail on both sides" in the original question were "monumental stairs", but that if ... IF ... those stairs were monumental stairs (" ... wider than 6' ... " leaves a lot to be imagined), then the handrails would not necessarily be required to be at "both sides".

    If the stairway was 6 feet wide ... I would not call the stairs "monumental stairs" ... but ... the code does not have a definition for "monumental stairs", and a 6 foot wide stairway is certainly wider than the 36 inches which is required ... so ... ???

    I have seen multiple stairs in houses which were wider than 6 feet, even two semi-circular 'up' and 'down' section with a bridge landing in the center - but I never once thought of them as "monumental stairs". I could have been wrong, but, 1014.9 says "On monumental stairs, handrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel." ... which could actually indicate handrails on each side as that would likely, in a house, meet "handrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel." - the sides of the stair.

    The information that I have found implies that monumental stairs are 'wider than the required width' ... with the "required width" in a house being only 36 inches ... a 72 inch wide stair IS DEFINITELY WIDER than the "required width" ... but is it a "monumental stair"?

    https://www.iccsafe.org/forum/non-st...airs-ibc-2003/

    One example given for monumental stairs was the stairs in the ballroom in Gone With The Wind.

    Okay ... while I think (I hope) I "unconfused" my original wording ... I may have confused what I was pointing out "monumental stairs" and the original questions " ... wider than 6' ... "

    The fun of pondering ponderables.

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

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