1. ## Stairs Dimensions Help

Stairs Dimensions Help
While opening the ceiling in one of the apartment units that my family owns I found this one apartment had high ceiling and an existing attic. We were just going to replace the popcorn ceiling with drywall, but I decided to make the most use out of the extra space and convert the existing attic space to a loft. So we replaced the 2X6 rafters with 2X12 joists; to reinforce the attic flooring to use in the attic.
This is for one apartment in a 12 unit apartment building. Only this one apartment has this higher ceiling already built into the existing building. So all we did was 1) add sheer walls 2) replace the rafters into joists 3) add drywall 4) electrical 5) windows.
The current use of the apartment will be for me to use as an owner occupied unit, but I am concerned about the stairs dimensions. The stairs were created for only going from the loft to the living room of the room below; like a mausoleum.

The dimensions are as follows: there are 13 steps, the landing, and then one step from the landing to the loft floor. ( start counting from riser # 1 below)
---------------------------------Loft Floor
\14 riser 7 7/8
---------------------------- Run 35
\13 riser 6 5/8
--------------------- Run 11
\12 riser 7 3/4
-------------- Run 10 1/4
\11 riser 8 3/16
------- Run 10 1/2
\10 riser 8
----------------------------------- Run 10 1/2
\9 riser 8 3/16
---------------------------- Run 10 3/8
\8 riser 8 1/16
--------------------- Run 10 1/2
\7 riser 8 1/8
-------------- Run 10 1/4
\6 riser 8 1/4
------------------------------------------ Run 10 1/2
\5 riser 8 1/8
---------------------------- Run 10 1/2
\4 riser 7 15/16
--------------------- Run 10 1/2
\3 riser 8 1/8
-------------- Run 10 1/2
\2 riser 8 3/8
------- Run 9 1/2
\1 riser 8 3/8

For now I need to point out that we tried to align the dimensions for the steps to existing walls limitations.
question is: Are the dimensions of these stairs dangerous enough for me to obligate the contractor to redo the work?
I understand that I am pushing the code requirements.
But I found that this information here Uniform Building Code for Stairs in California; www.ehow.com/list_6677904_uniform-building-code-stairs-california.html; can justify an exception for the tight space I am presented with.
Also it states About the RISERS ; www.ehow.com/list_6619944_california-building-codes-stairways_.html ;
Rise, Run and Step Surfaces
The code requires the rise, or vertical height, of stairs to fall between 4 and 7 and 1/2 inches. The run, or horizontal depth, of stairs to be 10 inches or greater. The law further specifies that the variance in tread run and rise height between the largest and smallest stairs must be no greater than 3/8 inch. Private stairways with occupant loads of fewer than 10 may have up to an 8-inch rise and a minimum of a 9-inch run.
So my questions are
Is the 1/4 inch in excess of the 8 inches mentioned above serious enough to be hazardous to cause safety and liability issues. Also note that this building was built in the 1920s. or is it close enough for an inspector to allow an exception? For example the web pages listed above permits risers to be higher for some situations such as circular stairs.
All of the risers are less than 1/4 inch different; with exception of the top step to the landing and from the landing to the loft floor.

2. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help

The Code is a minimum standard. So your contractor was unable to meet the minimum crappiest construction allowed, that right there is a safety concern. As far as liability you have provided docs that opposing counsel would likely provide when they sue to crap out of you after their client falls down the stairs.
Exactly why would an inspector allow you an exception and put his job at risk? You rehabbed the attic. There is no exception for vintage anything. The new work has to meet current requirements.
There's more than 1/4-3/8 between risers 11-14.
Why are you posting this question anyway? You already know the answer, its a poor stair build. Why not make him do it right. Calculating riser and run is math. You work within the dimensions you have. Contending 'they did the best they could with the dimensions present simply means they can't do math well enough.
I'm very suspicious of the motivations behind these questions. Doesn't make sense for an actual owner.

3. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help

Originally Posted by sefnfot
Stairs Dimensions Help
While opening the ceiling in one of the apartment units that my family owns I found this one apartment had high ceiling and an existing attic. We were just going to replace the popcorn ceiling with drywall, but I decided to make the most use out of the extra space and convert the existing attic space to a loft. So we replaced the 2X6 rafters with 2X12 joists; to reinforce the attic flooring to use in the attic.
This is for one apartment in a 12 unit apartment building. Only this one apartment has this higher ceiling already built into the existing building. So all we did was 1) add sheer walls 2) replace the rafters into joists 3) add drywall 4) electrical 5) windows.
The current use of the apartment will be for me to use as an owner occupied unit, but I am concerned about the stairs dimensions. The stairs were created for only going from the loft to the living room of the room below; like a mausoleum.

The dimensions are as follows: there are 13 steps, the landing, and then one step from the landing to the loft floor. ( start counting from riser # 1 below)
---------------------------------Loft Floor
\14 riser 7 7/8
---------------------------- Run 35
\13 riser 6 5/8
--------------------- Run 11
\12 riser 7 3/4
-------------- Run 10 1/4
\11 riser 8 3/16
------- Run 10 1/2
\10 riser 8
----------------------------------- Run 10 1/2
\9 riser 8 3/16
---------------------------- Run 10 3/8
\8 riser 8 1/16
--------------------- Run 10 1/2
\7 riser 8 1/8
-------------- Run 10 1/4
\6 riser 8 1/4
------------------------------------------ Run 10 1/2
\5 riser 8 1/8
---------------------------- Run 10 1/2
\4 riser 7 15/16
--------------------- Run 10 1/2
\3 riser 8 1/8
-------------- Run 10 1/2
\2 riser 8 3/8
------- Run 9 1/2
\1 riser 8 3/8

For now I need to point out that we tried to align the dimensions for the steps to existing walls limitations.
question is: Are the dimensions of these stairs dangerous enough for me to obligate the contractor to redo the work?
I understand that I am pushing the code requirements.
But I found that this information here Uniform Building Code for Stairs in California; www.ehow.com/list_6677904_uniform-building-code-stairs-california.html; can justify an exception for the tight space I am presented with.
Also it states About the RISERS ; www.ehow.com/list_6619944_california-building-codes-stairways_.html ;

So my questions are
Is the 1/4 inch in excess of the 8 inches mentioned above serious enough to be hazardous to cause safety and liability issues. Also note that this building was built in the 1920s. or is it close enough for an inspector to allow an exception? For example the web pages listed above permits risers to be higher for some situations such as circular stairs.
All of the risers are less than 1/4 inch different; with exception of the top step to the landing and from the landing to the loft floor.
The stairs have been built wrong. As Markus noted, it is simple math to figure out the rise/run for a set of stairs.

A few items to ponder:
The maximum riser height can only be 7 3/4".

The minimum thread or run is 10".

You can not have more than 3/8" difference between any tread depth or riser height.

You also need a light for the stairs and landing with a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs since you have more than 6 risers. (If you don't have them)

Sounds like you have a mess and the contractor screwed up.

4. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help

Originally Posted by Scott Patterson
The stairs have been built wrong. As Markus noted, it is simple math to figure out the rise/run for a set of stairs.
Originally Posted by Scott Patterson
A few items to ponder:
The maximum riser height can only be 7 3/4".
The minimum thread or run is 10".
You can not have more than 3/8" difference between any tread depth or riser height. ( I dont claim it makes a difference , But riser 13 leads to the landing and riser 12 leads to the step before the landing; riser 14 goes from the landing to the loft floor. I have found that the riser dimensions at these 3 points make it more comfortable to maneuver these steps. ) I admit that I am rationalizing the dimensions, but I am not trying to argue. If this is still an unsafe illegal construction then I will force the contractor to redo it.
You also need a light for the stairs and landing with a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs since you have more than 6 risers. (There are LED riser lighting with switch on top and bottom )
Thanks for taking the time to read my thread, as I know it is technical.
But doesnt the following imply that there are exceptions that are available; such as for spiral stairs it says:
http://www.ehow.com/list_6677904_uniform-building-code-stairs-california.html
The standard number of required stairs in a spiral design is 12, with an acceptable rise of between 8 7/8 inches and 9 1/2 inches.

I did use a licensed contractor but I was unable to do the project with a permit.
The main reason is because the inspection office said that before they would even consider a permit they would require the building to add 12 parking spaces because there are 12 apartments in the building. The building was built in the 1920s to the maximum lot space. It is impractical and nearly impossible to accommodate this. This building has grandfather rules ( this is a topic for a separate discussion)

5. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help redone

after taking your advice, I had the contractor redo the stairs. He ripped out the flooring and reconfigured the stairs.

The dimensions are as follows: there are 9 steps, the landing, and then 3 steps from the landing to the loft floor; so there is 14 risers . ( start counting from riser # 1 below)

---------------------------------Loft Floor
\14 riser 7 7/16
---------------------------- Run 111/4
\13 riser 7 15/16
--------------------- Run 10 7/8
\12 riser 7 12/16
-------------- Run 10 3/4
\11 riser 7 8/16

--Stairs turn right as you go up from here--
------------------------------------ Run 35  3/8 X 36"
stairs turn left as you go down from here

\10 riser 7 12/16
----------------------------------- Run 11 1/8
\9 riser 7 13/16
---------------------------- Run 11
\8 riser 8
--------------------- Run 11
\7 riser 7 15/16
-------------- Run 11
\6 riser 7 15/16
------------------------------------------ Run 11
\5 riser 7 14/16
---------------------------- Run 11
\4 riser 7 15/16
--------------------- Run 11 1/8
\3 riser 7 14/16
-------------- Run 11
\2 riser 8
------- Run 11
\1 riser 8 4/16

The floor landing at bottom of stairs has 5 foot 5 inches in front of the stairs

6. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help

sefnfot,
Here are 3 things you need to do immediately.

2-Get a permit

........on second thought
2-Get a permit

7. ## Re: Stairs Dimensions Help

Originally Posted by chris mcintyre
sefnfot,
Here are 3 things you need to do immediately.

2-Get a permit

........on second thought
2-Get a permit
Take this advice, that contractor obviously does not know what they are doing.

If I added your riser heights up correctly (*IF*, I got lost a few times) your floor-to-floor height is 112" (you can easily verify this by measuring from one floor to the other floor).

112" / 7.5" riser (start with that riser height) = 14.934 risers, or 15 risers
112" / 15 risers = 7.467" per riser or 7-7/16" riser height

(Note: 112" / 14 risers = 8" riser height which is too high)

Your stairs needs 15 risers at approximately 7-7/16" each (based on 112" floor-to-floor height).

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