New York: Handrail assemblies and guards shall be able to resist a single concentrated load of 200 pounds (0.89kN), applied in any direction at any point along the top, and have attachment devices and supporting structure to transfer this loading to appropriate structural elements of the building. Railing loose, not properly secured (litigation photos), Railing wrong dimension - cannot grasp; railing does not permit continuous grasping over length, Stair landing minimum size in direction of travel should be equal to or longer than 36" (=> 36"), Guardrail or handrail not secured - loose, flimsy, won't withstand resistance, Stair platform missing where required (total rise between floors > 12' for example), Landing is pitched, sloped, or damaged (trip hazard), Baluster opening between vertical members (maximum sphere passage <= 4 3/8"), Baluster opening in triangular area below guard bottom rail and stair tread (maximum sphere passage <= 6"), U.S. handrails for stairs with one side against a wall: 30-38", U.S. handrails at open stairs: 34-38" above the stairs, Canadian stair handrails: 32-36" above the stairs, ASTM F 1679 Standard Test Method for Using a Variable Incidence Tribometer (VIT), ASTM E 2126 Ralph L. Barnett* and William G. Switalski, "Case Study Belowour photo shows that this is a rooftop balcony from which a fall could result in serious injury. Guards shall be not less than 30 inches (762mm) high above the floor of the landing or balcony. ), [39] "How Slippery Is It", retrieved 8/29/12, original source, [41] Frictional Coefficients of some Common Materials and Materials Combinations, The Engineering Toolbox, retrieved 8/29/2012, original source: [copy on file as Friction and Coefficients of Friction.pdf ], [43] International Building Code, Stairway Provisions, Section 1009: Stairways and Handrails, retrieved 8/29/12, original source: [copy on file as IBC Stairs Code.pdf], [44] Model Building Code, Chapter 10, Means of Egress, retrieved 8/29/12, original source:, [copy on file as NJ_Bldg_Chapter10.pdf] adopted, for example by New Jersey. Yahpetes Black Single Post Handrail 38.8" Single Post Stair Railing 1-2 Steps Wrought Iron Handrail Grab Rail Single Post Railing Kit with Base Plate for Outdoor/Indoor $152.99 $ 152 . 99 $20.00 coupon applied at checkout Save $20.00 with coupon Guards shall form a protective barrier not less than 42” high, except when top rail also serves as a handrail, guard height shall not be less than 34.” - Alameda CA Residential Stairway, Handrail, and Guardrail Minimum Code Requirements. Sketch above is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates. [45] Ralph L. Barnett* and William G. Switalski, "Case Study 101-A& 101-B (may appear as ANSI B101.0) sets rules for measuring walkway slip resist, OSHA - (Dept of Labor CFR 1910.22 does not specify COF and pertains to workplaces) but recognizes the need for a "qualified person" to evaluate walkway slipperiness, ADA (relies on the ANSI and ASTM standards)Â, [29] A. Sacher, International Symposium on Slip Resistance: The Interface of Man, Footwear, and Walking Surfaces, Journal of Testing and Evaluation (JTE), ISSN: 1945-7553, January 1997  [more focused on slipperiness of polished surfaces, [30] Algae is widely recognized as a slippery surface - a Google web search for "how slippery is algae on steps" produced more than 15,000 results on 8/29/12), [31] Slipperiness of algae on walking surfaces, warning, Royal Horticultural Society, retrieved 8/29/2012, original source:, [32] Slipperiness of algae: "Watch your step, wet rocks and algae are slippery" Oregon State University warning  1977  retrieved 8/29/2012, original source:Â. Handrail height on the stairs should be no less than 34 inches and no greater than 38 inches. Incidentally, where glazing is used in guards and guardrailings (such as our photograph above), including structural baluster panels and non-structural in-fill panels, regardless of the area or height above a walking surface, safety glazing is required. Commentary: Handrails, treads and risers must be structurally sound, firmly attached to the structure, and properly maintained to perform their intended function safely. retrieved 8/29/2012, [34] Jinjin Li, Yuhong Liu, Jianbin Luo, Pengxiao Liu, and Chenhui Zhang, "Excellent Lubricating Behavior of Brasenia schreberi Mucilage" Langmuir 2012 28 (20), 7797-7802, [35] Jason R. Stokes, Lubica Macakova, Agnieszka Chojnicka-Paszun, Cornelis G. de Kruif, and Harmen H. J. de Jongh, "Lubrication, Adsorption, and Rheology of Aqueous Polysaccharide Solutions, Langmuir 2011 27 (7), 3474-3484, [36] "Coefficients of Friction for Ice", The Physics Factbook™, Glenn Elert, Ed., retrieved 8/29/12, original source:, [38] Serway Physics for Scientists and Engineers 4th edition (p. At below left are balcony, facade, and guardrail restoration work in Havana ongoing in 2012. To avoid a small-child foot-trap between the guardrail bottom (or stair railing bottom) and the floor surface, keep the opening at 4", or reduce it to 2" between the bottom edge of the guardrail and the top of the floor surface. We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need. Contact information: Triodyne Inc. Openings, Railings, and Toeboards,” ANSI A12.1-1973. - E.g. Sketch courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates. We investigated a case in which a child got his foot stuck between balusters that were less than 4" apart. This height depends on the standard handrail height for your balustrade which is based on the building codes for your area. The height is calculated in relation to the stairs and is measured from the very end of the stair tread in a completely vertical line. Consulting Engineers & Scientists – Safety Philosophy & Technology If that repair was not possible or did not work, whidh is likely if the wood is rotted, the railing might need to be disassembled and reinstalled properly. Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia. 1607.7 Loads on Handrails, guards, grab bars and vehicle barriers. American National Standards Institute, approved February 16, 1968. Joseph Loferski and Frank Woeste, P.E., "Strong Rail-Post Connections 126. Our photographs below show two guardrail hazards. Web search 09/02/2011,original source: Here we discuss: GUARDRAIL HEIGHT Requirements; DEFINITION of a guardrail compared to a stair rail & handrail - a quick guide to railing types; BALUSTER Spacing & Opening Requirements s for Guards & Railings; SPACE BETWEEN Balcony Handrail Bottom Segment & Top Surface of Flooring; BUILDING CODES Specifications for Guard Railing Requirements. Washington, D.C., Occupational Exceptions to the 42-inch rule for stair guards are allowed when the top of the stair guard is also serving as a handrailing. Art Metal Workshop experts are aware of all the local building laws and codes, so we know how to create interior railings that are both beautiful and safe. Association, approved May 3, 1932. Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, stairways, ramps and landings that are located more than 30” above the floor or grade below. We responded to a hysterical telephone call, dashed across town to rescue the youngster, only to find that moments before our arrival, the child, (godson Joshua Waterman) had, on his own, turned his foot so that he could extricate himself without further adult intervention. Luckily, there are building organizations dedicated to ensuring that all architectural and construction details are safe and secure. See enclosed Figure 2 for an example of a stair rail system installed after January 17, 2017. Treads shall be 11 inches (280 mm) deep minimum. This measurement is from the stair nosing to the railing. [46] “American Standard Safety Code for Floor and Wall Openings, Railings, Guardrail guide: stair landing, porch, deck & walkway guardrail specifications & codes: height, dimensions, spacing, construction, photos & sketches of guardrail defects & safety hazards. FAX: (847) 647-2047 e-mail: Try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly. The building code dictates that the handrail height should be between 34 and 38 inches. E.g. 7. 5950 West Touhy Avenue Niles, IL 60714-4610 (847) 677-4730 [50] “Fall Protection,” 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(4)(vii). 2007, retrieved 02/04/2013, original source: Sample excerpts of sources which a building code compliance inspector would be expected to cite in support of requiring a properly-designed, properly-secured guard rail include but are not limited to the citations below. See Sections 423.10.2.4 and 1012.3, Florida Building Get free shipping on qualified Interior Stair Railings or Buy Online Pick Up in Store today in the Building Materials Department. Contemporary Interior Design. Most people don’t give a lot of thought to the specifics of railings: the height, the space between balusters, the size of openings, etc. Shop interior railings & stair parts and a variety of building supplies products online at Snap chalk line to connect the two wall marks. On 2020-11-1 by Chris My basement handrail is 38in at top and bottom but only 27in in the middle. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. New York: American The minimum width for stairways shall not be less than 36 inches clear. Photo: guardrailings on a building in Havana, Cuba in 2013, courtesy of an reader. [4] "Are Functional Handrails Within Our Grasp" Jake Pauls. ], [Additional handrail test requirement citations wanted -, Florida: "Checklist #0460 for the approval of: 4. After an above-ground swimming pool was removed, the owners continued to use the deck in our photo (left). For more details about balusters (vertical spindles in railing construction) see stairway railing detailsat RAILING CODES & SPECIFICATIONS for a discussion of safety barriers along stairs. Standard Test Methods for Cyclic (Reversed) Load Test for Deer netting was installed across the open edge of the deck - and it worked fine until someone fell thorough it. Handbook that was developed for the Department of Education. Railings, and Toe Boards,” USAS A12.1-1967. The next step is to cut the stair railing and glue on the short … Our opinion is also that horizontal railing members invite children to climb, and perhaps fall. During an inspection the code official should inspect all stringers, risers, treads, and handrails. etc. Cut the rail to length and fit the joint. - Joan Florian. Using electronic stud finder, mark wall studs at top, middle and bottom of staircase. intermediate rails or ornamental pattern such that a 4-inch see GUARDRAIL & HANDRAIL STRENGTH. The majority of residential decks, which rely on notched posts lag-screwed into the band joist, do not meet The top rail must be at least 42 inches in height (§1910.29 (f) (1) (ii) (B)) and the handrail must be 30 to 38 inches in height (§1910.29 (f) (1) (i)) (as measured at the leading edge of the stair tread to the top surface of the rail). This Old House general contractor Tom Silva installs a wall-mounted staircase banister. First, determine whether you are dealing with a handrail or a guard. In addition to a safe height to avoid a fall, the 4" spacing between balusters, which is intended to avoid a head trap for children, would apply to the space between the rail bottom and the floor top surface as well. RCNYS Section R311.5.6 requires stairways having four or more risers to have at least one handrail, at a height of between 34 and 38 inches above the nosing. Guardrail wrong height (see photo): Guard railing wrong height on stairs (above) or landing (at left) - too low to grasp or too high to grasp, or too low to prevent falling off of a platform. Deck railing height should be a minimum of 36” for any platform elevated to 30” and more from the surface. Minimum stair railing height has to be 34” from the top rail to the nosing. This deck railing height code also applies to commercial decks and balconies such as restaurants, bars, and museums as well as multi-family homes, condos, and any deck on a third-story or higher. Apologies for the delay. Stairway handrail & stair balusters & guard details are in this sketch. Dimensions that are absolutely referenced are the distance between balusters horizontally. BOCA National Property Maintenance Code 1993: PM-305.5 Stairs and railings: all interior stairs and railings shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair. FAX: (847) 647-2047 Get free shipping on qualified Handrail, Interior Stair Railings or Buy Online Pick Up in Store today in the Building Materials Department. This means that a handrail's height is measured from the top of the stair treads, or horizontal stepping members. [27] "The Dimensions of Stairs", J. M. Fitch et al., [28] Stair & Walkway Standards for Slipperiness or Coefficient of Friction (COF) or Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF), NSFI 101-B  (National Floor Safety Institute), NSFI Walkway Auditing Guideline (WAG) Ref. 5950 West Touhy Avenue Niles, IL 60714-4610 (847) 677-4730 Optimal Handrail Height Most building codes require handrails for exterior stairs to be between 34 inches and 38 inches above the stair nosings. Railings must withstand at least 200 pounds of pressure in either direction. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the, Decks and Porches, the JLC Guide to, Best Practices for Outdoor Spaces, Steve Bliss (Editor), The Journal of Light Construction, Williston VT, 2010 ISBN 10: 1-928580-42-4, ISBN 13: 978-1-928580-42-3, available from Railings are wonderful structures to run along stairs, decks, and other … Handrails cannot be less than 30 inches nor more than 42 inches above the nosing of the treads (see Figure PM-702.9). Guardrails shall have The railing shouldn’t protrude from the wall more than 4 ½ inches. Railings (Stairs & Balcony)", Miami-Dade County, Florida Building and Neighborhood Compliance Department Product Control Section, Balustrade & Plastic Railing. This edition of the Florida Building Code handbook is a modification of the original 2004 Florida Building Code (6) The height of handrails shall be not less than 34 inches nor more than 38 inches from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread, in line with … For details of guardrail baluster spacing and design see Balusters. Horizontal "guardrail enclosures" (can be climbed by children). The risk is less, since a fall and strangulation are not a concern. Such dimension need not exceed 48 inches (1219 mm) where the stairway has a straight run. 1993. The torn remains of the deer netting can be seen on the left side of this photograph. The same gap is allowed between the decorative elements of the deck railing. and you'll see allowable heights as Railing height => 31.5" one-side-rail, or =>27" with rails on two sides) (historic) - "historic" means not approved in modern nor new construction. Use level to mark bracket height on wall at top and bottom of staircase. Guard and Stair Railing Height are dictated by the building codes. The space you are asking about, between the bottom horizontal member of a guard railing and the floor surface of the balcony or walkway is illustrated by the red arrow in our photo at above-left. Shear Resistance of Vertical Elements of the Lateral Force New York: websearch 02/04/2013, original source: [handrails are not explicitly cited here], Section 1012 - Handrails, [begins p. 84] Florida Building Code Handbook, State Requirements for New Educational Facilities Construction, Residential properties typically require a railing of 36 inches, while commercial properties should have railings between 42 and 48 inches. 6. The interior stairway railing height code in Toronto dictates that the optimum railing height is between 34 and 38 inches. Code, for further information. Note that this is for guardrails along horizontal walking surfaces, not the stairway itself - which we call a handrail or hand railing. Calculate height of handrail and mounting brackets; mark bracket height on level. In the U.S., once a stair has a 30″ drop, a guard (42″ minimum) and a handrail (34″ to 38″) would both be required. A repairman had "glued" these joints with caulk, not a reliable nor safe job. and a Senior Mechanical Engineer, Triodyne Inc., Niles, IL (respectively. International Building Code 2000 (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI). For full details on this topic please New York: American Standards Adult Height Requirements: Top of gripping surfaces of handrails shall be 34 inches (865 mm) minimum and 38 inches (965 mm) maximum vertically above walking surfaces, stair nosings, and ramp surfaces. We suggested trying pre-drilling and trim screws to secure every baluster to the floor more soundly. If a staircase has risers equal to or more than 30 inches in height a hand railing needs to be installed at 36 to 37 inches from the top of the tread. ANSI A117.4 Accessible and Usable buildings and Facilities (earlier version was incorporated into the ADA), ASTM F 1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces, (Similar to the above standard, [7] The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart, [8] Construction Drawings and Details, Rosemary Kilmer, [9] Falls and Related Injuries: Slips, Trips, Missteps, and Their Consequences, Lawyers & Judges Publishing, (June 2002), ISBN-10: 0913875430 ISBN-13: 978-0913875438, [11] The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST (nee National Bureau of Standards NBS) is a US government agency - see, "A Parametric Study of Wall Moisture Contents Using a Revised Variable Indoor Relative Humidity Version of the "Moist" Transient Heat and Moisture Transfer Model [copy on file as/interiors/MOIST_Model_NIST_b95074.pdf ] - ", George Tsongas, Doug Burch, Carolyn Roos, Malcom Cunningham; this paper describes software and the prediction of wall moisture contents. 51 ] “Special Loads, ” section 1615.0, the BOCA National building Code/ 1993 1973. 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