for GUARDRAILS on BALCONIES, DECKS, LANDINGS (railings on landings and open hallways, porches, screened porches, balconies that are more than 30" above floors or grade). We investigated a case in which a child got his foot stuck between balusters that were less than 4" apart. It was probably the panic of feeling "stuck" that had trapped Josh in the first place. Horizontal "guardrail enclosures" (can be climbed by children). Contemporary Interior with a Rainier Cable Railing by AGS Stainless. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1.25 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm) or shall provide equivalent grasp ability. Our photographs below show two guardrail hazards. 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 During an inspection the code official should inspect all stringers, risers, treads, and handrails. The width of landings shall not be less than the width of stairways they serve. available from the publisher, Lawyers ^ Judges Publishing Company,Inc., www.lawyersandjudges.com sales@lawyersandjudges.com, [13] Slips, Trips, Missteps and Their Consequences, Gary M. Bakken, H. Harvey Cohen, Jon R. Abele, Alvin S. Hyde, Cindy A. LaRue, Lawyers and Judges Publishing; ISBN-10: 1933264012 ISBN-13: 978-1933264011, [14] The Stairway Manufacturers' Association, (877) 500-5759, provides a pictorial guide to the stair and railing portion of the International Residential Code. www.triodyne.com, web search 02/04/2013, original source: http://www.triodyne.com/SAFETY~1/Sb_v18n1.pdf, copy on file as BarnettSwitalski_Railing_Study.pdf. Standard Test Methods for Cyclic (Reversed) Load Test for At below left the railing is 30 1/2" above the floor surface - too short for modern safety standards, though when the home was built in 1935, perhaps occupants were shorter. 6. ISBN 10: 1-933264-01-2, even where disabled individuals are not the design target. 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 Amazon.com. Excerpts are below. The Safety of Wood Railings", Triodyne Inc. Guard and Stair Railing Height are dictated by the building codes. Shop interior railings & stair parts and a variety of building supplies products online at Lowes.com. [33]. The risk is less, since a fall and strangulation are not a concern. See Sections 423.10.2.4 and 1012.3, Florida Building e-mail: infoserv@triodyne.com (2) Except as provided in Sentences (3) and (4), the height of handrail s on stairs and ramps shall be, (a) not less than 865 mm, and (b) not more than 965 mm. 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. 99 $20.00 coupon applied at checkout Save $20.00 with coupon ], [Additional handrail test requirement citations wanted -, Florida: "Checklist #0460 for the approval of: PM-305.6 Handrails and guards: Every handrail and guard shall be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition. Handrails must be continuous from a point above the top riser to a Industrial Stairs with Railing. inches or more shall be protected by a wall or guardrail Standard Guardrails, California Building Code, provides description of how guard rails should be constructed. Guardrail balusters improperly spaced - too far apart, falling hazard or head trap - this is a very common defect found on older exterior decks and porches, and on older-model steel circular stair kits and stair landings. 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 www.nist.gov, "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. Openings, Railings, and Toeboards,” ANSI A12.1-1973. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Public Law 101-336. 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. Luckily, there are building organizations dedicated to ensuring that all architectural and construction details are safe and secure. height of 34 inches. Washington, D.C., Occupational Balusters (vertical posts comprising the barrier in guards and railings). 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. Railings (Stairs & Balcony)", Miami-Dade County, Florida Building and Neighborhood Compliance Department Product Control Section, Balustrade & Plastic Railing. 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. The guard must be at least 30 inches above the floor of the landing or balcony. the 200-pound requirement. Our photo at left illustrates the addition of a handrailing (blue arrow) placed lower than the top of the stair guardrail (red arrow) at an installation that we photographed at the CIA, Hyde Park, NY. Florida building Code 2406.3 Hazardous Locations, Item No. New York: American Standards 7. International Building Code 2000 (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI). SECTION 1714 IN-SITU LOAD TESTS Dimensions that are absolutely referenced are the distance between balusters horizontally. with standard fastening techniques, but meeting the IRC guardrail requirement is difficult without adding steel GUARDRAILS on BALCONIES, DECKS, LANDINGS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice. Below you can see that the guardrails are open and the connections at the post are rotted and loose. Using electronic stud finder, mark wall studs at top, middle and bottom of staircase. More importantly, they show that compliance with OSHA's requirements for the safe use of ladders and stairways could have prevented many of these injuries. A handrail is in place to provide guidance on a stair. 5. California 2007 Building Code (effective 1 January 2008) for safety guardrails on balconies, decks, and on the horizontal area of stairway landings for walking areas whose surface is more than 30-inches above adjacent walking surfaces (or the ground) for Group 2 individual residential dwellings as well as for Group-3 occupancies specifies that the guardrail must be 42-inches or higher. Association, approved May 3, 1932. First, determine whether you are dealing with a handrail or a guard. -osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/stairlad.html, DEFINITION of a GUARDRAIL vs a STAIR RAIL vs HANDRAIL, SPACE BETWEEN BALCONY HANDRAIL BOTTOM & FLOOR SURFACE, BUILDING CODES SPECIFICATIONS for GUARDRAILS, GUARDRAIL & HANDRAIL STRENGTH & TESTING REQUIREMENTS, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, International Residential Code® For One- and Two- Family Dwellings, 2006, International Residential Code® for One- and Two- Family Dwellings, 2012, Subtitle B - REGULATIONS Relating to Housing and Urban Development (Continued), IRELAND (Northern Ireland) STAIR GUARD LANDING RAMP CODE, OSHA Stair rail and hand rail heights; §1926.1052(c)(6) and 1926.1052(c)(7), Ramp, Stair & Handrail Codes, NFPA 101 (2012) & ADA Standards, (2010), Prescriptive Deck Details based on the 2012 IRC, GUARDRAIL, BALCONY, DECK, LANDING CODE FAQs-3, ARTICLE INDEX to STAIRS RAILINGS LANDINGS RAMPS, Stairways and Ladders, A Guide to OSHA Rules, HOME INSPECTION EDUCATION COURESES (Canada), HOME INSPECTION EDUCATION: HOME STUDY COURSES. Stair Landings are required at top and bottom (with exceptions at top of interior stairs or in garage if door swings in, away from the stairs). In commercial applications, the NBC permits the top or a guard (42″ minimum height) to also serve as handrail. Or see BUILDING CODE DOWNLOADS - free downloadable PDF files of building codes & standards, GUARDRAIL, BALCONY, DECK, LANDING CODE FAQs-3 - questions and answers posted originally on this page. - E.g. 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. Residential properties typically require a railing of 36 inches, while commercial properties should have railings between 42 and 48 inches. The way this is measured is to begin at the leading edge of the stair nosing and run an imaginary vertical line upward until it reaches the top of the railing. The next step is to cut the stair railing and glue on the short … 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. see GUARDRAIL & HANDRAIL STRENGTH. Nearly half of these injuries are serious enough to require time off the job--11,570 lost workday injuries and 13,312 non-lost workday injuries occur annually due to falls from stairways and ladders used in construction. Photo: guardrailings on a building in Havana, Cuba in 2013, courtesy of an InspectApedia.com reader. by Indital. But as our photo (above left) illustrates, it's also feasible to provide both a 42-inch stair guard and include a 34-inch high handrailing along the stairs. [48] “American National Standard Safety Requirements for Floor and Wall Apologies for the delay. For stairs installed before April 3, 1997, this height shall be between 30 and 38 inches. Typically floor level balustrades must be at least 36” high or 42” high, depending on local codes and stair guardrails must be between 34” and 38”. - Joan Florian. Florida Department of Education Our photographs just below show some common stair and guardrailing defects. Here's an example building code citation for the 4-inch rule applicable to guardrails: In public educational facilities, any vertical drop of 18 Treads shall be 11 inches (280 mm) deep minimum. International Code Council, 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, Tel: 800-786-4452. Guards are to contain intermediate rails, balusters or other construction to reduce the chance of an adult or child from falling through the guard. 1607.7 Loads on Handrails, guards, grab bars and vehicle barriers. Cut the rail to length and fit the joint. Belowour photo shows that this is a rooftop balcony from which a fall could result in serious injury. Sketch above is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates. 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