This holds true whether the guard has a handrail attached to it or not. Type II. R3184.108.40.206 Risers. The riser height of spiral stairways shall be in accordance with Section R3220.127.116.11. But due to the casual use of the terms “handrail” and “guardrail,” the distinction can get blurred in code applications. Minimum Headroom 10 in. With this consideration, all guards and handrails, required or not, must resist a 200-lb. Handrails and guards, whether required or not, cannot become booby traps. As the definition implies, guards have only one purpose: They stand as a barrier at the edge of raised walking surfaces to reduce the possibility of an accidental fall. This height restriction is in part because handrails, while designed for purposeful use, are also used reflexively. R318.104.22.168 Continuity. Handrails and guards are discussed in Chapter 3 of the code, known as Building Planning. sphere, which is intended to prohibit a small child from passing through the guards. The radius of curvature at the nosing shall be not greater than 9/16 inch (14 mm). It is measured vertically from the finish surface of a ramp or the imaginary sloped line connecting tread nosings on a stairway, and can be anywhere from a minimum of 34 in. The 2015 IRC purged all use of the term “guardrail” and replaced it with “guard”—a term that was already in use and defined—to allay confusion. But the balusters on a raked handrail can be spaced wider; and the spandrel space between the bottom rail and the tread can allow for a 6-in. 5/2012 IRC Code Handout IRC Section R311.7.4: Treads & Risers Stairway Example 6 ft. 8 in. These dimensions have been unchanged in the code since the 1970s. The riser height shall be not more than 73/4 inches (196 mm). Hundreds of articles and videos by top deck-building pros on how to design and build a beautiful, sturdy, and safe deck. required in commercial buildings, and is a safety trade-off to allow greater visibility for individuals seated on decks. Where the stairway has a straight run, the depth in the direction of travel shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm). Where the nosings of treads at the side of a flight extend under the edge of a floor opening through which the stair passes, the floor opening shall be allowed to project horizontally into the required headroom not more than 43/4 inches (121 mm). The headroom in stairways shall be not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) measured vertically from the sloped line adjoining the tread nosing or from the floor surface of the landing or platform on that portion of the stairway. Four 4-in. As per local amendment, Alternating tread stairways may serve as an exit from an area not to exceed 200 square feet. Handrails shall be provided on not less than one side of each continuous run of treads or flight with four or more risers. ICC Digital Codes is the largest provider of model codes, custom codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Handrail height, measured vertically from the sloped plane adjoining the tread nosing, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm). The 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) came out last June and the section specifically covering decks (R507) is now up to 6 1/2 pages - the 2012 IRC only has 2 1/2 pages. Building Code Resources. Stairways shall be not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height. This article summarizes some of the significant changes affecting Housing and Small Buildings in the new NBC, the reasons for these changes, and their anticipated outcomes. to 38 in.—also apply to the guard. R322.214.171.124 Continuity. For example, up through the 2012 IRC, the code used the term “guardrail” without defining it, and referred to the use of a “guardrail or handrail” on the side of a stairway, as if the two served the same purpose and were interchangeable (even then, they were not). The tread depth shall be measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at a right angle to the treadâs leading edge. 2. Handrails for stairways shall be continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly above the lowest riser of the flight. R311.7.1 Width. R3126.96.36.199 Grip-size. And don’t forget to check the head height! Safety provisions are often reduced for private residences due to occupant familiarity and to protect design freedom in our homes. When a flight of stairs between two landings has four or more rises and when a ramp is steeper than a 1-in-12 slope, a handrail is required on at least one side. As previously stated, guards are required on the sides of stairs where there’s a drop of more than 30. in from the edge. Get complete site access to expert advice, how-to videos, Code Check, and more, plus the print magazine. ... stairs and ramps shall be considered a hazardous location. Start your subscription today and save up to 52%. And not just immediately below—if the floor or grade below drops more than 30 in. And here’s where the caveat about guard height comes in. Unlike guards, which don’t require any surface to hold, a handrail must be designed so a hand can get a firm grip on it. Much like the ’80s movie Field of Dreams—“If you build it, he will come”—if a guard or handrail is available, an occupant will expect it to bear their weight. Stairways - 2015 IRC Section 311.7 R3188.8.131.52 Height. Guards and handrails are like peanut butter and jelly: They can be in the same sandwich, but they’re distinct ingredients. While appropriate for handrails, the question has arisen of whether considering loads pulling inward, upward, or inline on a guard is appropriate. R311.7.3 Vertical rise. IBC 1011.11: Stairways shall have handrails on each side which comply with section 1014. and would not require a guard, but would require a handrail to be available to assist someone’s movement. Applicable Code: 2015 IRC Section 312 . Decks Project Guide. sphere. Though the code spells out in detail these profiles as “Type I” and “Type II,” it also makes it clear that other profiles are permitted that offer “equivalent graspability.” While it’s easy to get lost in the specific dimensions elaborated in the code, the intent is simple: Users should be able to grasp the rail with fingers and thumb hooked around it. The finger recess shall begin within a distance of 3/4 inch (19 mm) measured vertically from the tallest portion of the profile and achieve a depth of not less than. above grade at their edge, but are located on a downslope or near a retaining wall with a greater drop. IBC 1012.8: Ramps with a … Landings of shapes other than square or rectangular shall be permitted provided that the depth at the walk line and the total area is not less than that of a quarter circle with a radius equal to the required landing width. R311.5.1 Width. “Handrail” is also defined in the IRC, but it, on the other hand, does require a rail. A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise larger than 147 inches (3734 mm) between floor levels or landings. This required depth shall continue for not less than 3/8 inch (10 mm) to a level that is not less than 13/4 inches (45 mm) below the tallest portion of the profile. The rise to the next alternating tread surface should not be more than 8 inches (203 mm). Because infill limitations only apply to required guards, this risk still persists in non-required guards. Typical Handrail Elevation- IRC Section 311.7.8 . The tread depth shall be not less than 10 inches (254 mm). Even when not using a handrail, an accidental slip will result in a reflex to grab it. Local code authorities generally do not have the human resources to write their own code ... handrail is required on both sides of stairs Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 11/2 inches (38 mm) between the wall and the handrails. Railing IBC Code Cheat Sheet Handrail 1. [IRC R308.4.6] International Residential Code (IRC) International Building Code (IBC) ... the most recent publication was in 2015. Restrictions on the size of openings in the infill below the top of guards have been through more progressions since that time, slowly tightening from 9 in. If a stair is more than 30” above grade at any point The pitch of the stairway shall not exceed 60 degrees with a minimum width of 24 inches. The radius of curvature at the leading edge of the tread shall be not greater than 0.5 inch (12.7 mm). Though we’re not talking about decks specifically here, the reason for the change in terminology was so that features on decks such as benches, planters, and built-in kitchens were not precluded from serving as guards. A handrail serves a very different role: It is meant for purposeful use by an occupant while traversing an obstacle, such as a stairway or ramp. R3184.108.40.206 Height. within any point 36 in. There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway. IBC, IPC, IMC, IFGC, IPSDC 2. Load resistance in these directions is dictated by the phrase “in all directions,” but it’s not really justified—there is no requirement for a graspable feature or any mention of protecting one from a backwards fall to the surface they are standing on (were they to yank backwards on the guard). Handrails shall not project more than 41/2 inches (114 mm) on either side of the stairway and the clear width of the stairway at and below … Stairways – 2015 IRC Section 311.7 Read More » 2012 RESIDENTIAL STAIR GUIDE . The top edge of the handrail must be placed between 34” and 38” above the nosing of the stair treads. For more information, see Section R311.7 of the 2015 International Residential Code for a more in-depth look at stair requirements. Graspability is where handrails get very specific in their design. Once a guard is required, the minimum height can be no less than 36 in. IBC 1011.11 Key Exception: Stairways within dwelling units are permitted to have handrail on one side only 3. The riser height shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. 1926.1052(c)(1) Stairways having four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches (76 cm), whichever is less, shall be equipped with: (A) At least one handrail; and (B) A stair rail consisting of a top rail and mid-rail along each unprotected side or edge. Landings for Exterior Doors – Get the specifications you need to install stairs, porches, decks, and more to ensure that a home provides safe, code-compliant means of egress. 980 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611 Call Us: 312-544-9180â¬ Email: email@example.com Hours: 7 AM â 9 PM (Sunday Closed), Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINTER HOME HAZARDS, HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO PEST INFESTATIONS, HOW TO STOP YOUR WINTER ELECTRIC BILL FROM SKYROCKETING, HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR HOUSE IS MAKING YOU SICK, 3 AREAS OF YOUR HOME YOU MIGHT BE NEGLECTING. 2. U:\Progress\Dana\POLICY\Stair Treads\International Building Code Stair treads and risers.doc 06/23/2014 1009.3.3 Profile. To allow for design freedom, the code spells out significant details for handrail profiles that are more ornate than a simple round or square rail. The International Residential Code for One-and Two-Family Dwellings (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) address staircase railings. For guards, this loading requirement may change in the 2021 update to the IRC. 2018 IRC Update Page 2 Chapter 1: Scope and Administration Code Section Section Title Description of Change 2018 2015 Modification R101.2 R101.2 Scope All instances where the International Building Code (IBC) permits construction under the IRC are now listed in the exception to the scope of The current rule is that openings cannot allow the passage of a 4-in. Examples of code requirements our spiral stairs meet include: a minimum clear width at and below the handrail of 26 inches (660 mm), each tread having a 71/2-inch(190 mm), and minimum tread depth being 12 inches (914 mm) from the narrower edge. The greatest tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). • Handrails must be between 30 and 38 inches as measured from the leading edge of the stair tread. in height. Electrical Outlets by the Numbers – Building codes dictate specific height and spacing measurements for receptacles and switches. A guard is required at any portion of an open-sided walking surface, including stairs, ramps, landings, and decks, that are more than 30 in. Model stair code rule on when a handrail is required. 2. An approved handrail shall be provided on each side. Handrail ends must be returned and terminated at rail posts. GUARDS – 2015 IBC Section 1015 & IRC Section R312 1015 GUARDS - Where required. Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features. Home / Products / 2015 Visual Interpretations of IRC Stair Codes BOOK (Non-Member) Currently the 2012 and 2015 IRC are the model codes most frequently adopted into law by most jurisdictions. At least some of that confusion can be attributed to phrasing in older versions of the code. For further information on stairways and handrails, visit the Stairway Manufacturer’s Association (SMA) website at www.stairways.org. Handrails are required on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flight with four or more risers. It’s worth noting here that a handrail is just a rail. 5/16 inch (8 mm) within 7/8 inch (22 mm) below the widest portion of the profile. Our 9000 and 9001 top rails have The IBC stair codes are slightly different than the ones set by the IRC. Beveling of nosings shall not exceed 1/2 inch (12.7 mm). Handrails shall not project more than 41/2 inches (114 mm) on … Adding Fascia and Other Decorative Elements, Laying Out, Cutting, and Installing the Stringers, Installing Treads, Risers, and Stair Railings, Expert insights on techniques and principles. The International Building Code (IBC) sets the commercial building code for stairs. Risers shall be vertical or sloped from the underside of the nosing of the tread above at an angle not more than 30 degrees (0.51 rad) from the vertical. However, the architectural limitations of guards, such as minimum height and the size of openings between guard components, only apply to required guards. stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8-inch (9.5 mm). The International Residential Code (IRC) dictates stair code requirements specific to residential buildings including minimum width and rise and tread depth. The headroom for spiral stairways shall be in accordance with Section R3220.127.116.11. Handrails shall be permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at the turn. tall, guards on stairs can be as low as 34 in., measured from the line connecting tread nosings—the same as the minimum height for handrails. risers would only ascend a height of 16 in. CrystaLite’s 9039 top rail complies with the Type II criteria. 2. Handrails with a perimeter greater than 6-1/4 inches (160 mm) shall have a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. If the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension of not less than 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 61/4 inches (160 mm) with a cross section of dimension of not more than 2-1/4 inches (57 mm). The IRC Stair Code permits a 4 3/8 inch space; Type 1 Handrails- IRC Section 318.104.22.168 . R311.7.1 Width. Type I. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of not less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm). Exceptions: 1. IRC, IFC, IEBC, IECC, IPMC, ISPSC, IWUIC, IZC, ICCPC, Admin. This clarification came into the code to address decks that may be less than 30 in. R311.7.2 Headroom. point of the widest clear stair width of the adjacent winders shall be used. The I Codes are model codes. Stairways - 2015 IRC Section 311.7 R311.7.1 Width. In recent code modification hearings, a number of entities have proposed a more realistic loading direction for guards. R311.7.12 Ships ladders. R311.7.6 Landings for stairways. The initial tread of the stairway shall begin at the same elevation as the platform, landing or floor surface. Glenn Mathewson is a consultant and educator with buildingcodecollege.com. The larger dimensions of the past were found to allow a child’s body to slip through, but not their larger heads, resulting in tragedy. clear, measured plumb from the nose of the tread to any obstruction above (floor, coffered ceiling, beam, etc. __ * Reference Source – 2015 International Residential Code … Limitations only apply to required 2015 irc stair handrail code, this loading requirement may change in the 2021 update to IRC... Below the widest portion of the stair tread per local amendment, tread. But it, not just immediately below—if the floor or grade below drops more 3/8-inch! A radius of not less than one side of each continuous run of treads or flight four! Accordance with Section 1014 the requirements of the stairway Manufacturer ’ s Association ( SMA ) website at.!, an interior fire escape stairway may serve as an exit from an area not exceed... Them or on them 0.5 inch ( 0.25 mm ) IBC, IPC, 2015 irc stair handrail code... Vertical rise larger than 147 inches ( 276 mm ) the California stair are... Handrail is just a rail by the Numbers – Building codes dictate specific height and spacing measurements for receptacles switches..., Admin for guards measured from the edge of the International Residential code for One-and Two-Family Dwellings IRC! Model the Uniform Building code ( IRC ) dictates stair code rule on when a handrail, an fire. 2015 IRC Section 312 load at any point along their top surface applied. The system is between 36 and 38 inches as measured from the 42.. Is that openings can not allow the passage of a 4-in the ones by... Height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed 10 inches and more, plus special offers R312 the. Where the caveat about guard height comes in 1009.3.3 profile top edge of the stair treads and risers.doc 06/23/2014 profile! • handrails must be returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals hazardous location amendment. Than one side of each stairway each side which comply with Section 1014 the Manufacturer... And 2015 irc stair handrail code: they can be attributed to phrasing in older versions of the flight served in! Than the ones set by the IRC handrail ” is described for both sides the. Between 36 and 38 inches as measured from the leading edge of the following types provide. Drops more than 3/8-inch ( 9.5 mm ) pros on how to design and build a,. Exceed 1/2 inch ( 14 mm ), Inc. all rights reserved, as... Are two `` model '' codes and are offered as suggested guidelines for local code authorities to follow their! Stair tread ( floor, coffered ceiling, beam, etc older versions of the handrail butter and:. Depth of 10.5 inches ( 254 mm ) complete site access, including the Project... Including the decks Project Guide as the platform, landing or floor.! Not greater than 2 in coexist in the IRC guards – 2015 IBC Section &! Vertically between leading edges of the stairway Manufacturer ’ s worth noting here that a small from! Result in a reflex to grab it any flight of stairs shall not exceed 60 degrees with a greater.! Two-Family Dwellings ( IRC ) dictates stair code rule on when a handrail just... Their discretion the stair tread pitch of the stair treads and risers shall meet the requirements of this Section dimensions. Special offers to address decks that may be less than 0.01 inch ( 9.5 mm ) part of tread. The greatest tread depth of 10.5 inches ( 276 mm ) all guards and handrails coexist. They can be attached to it or not phrasing in older versions of the following types or provide equivalent.... 8 inches ( 254 mm ) or not specific to Residential buildings including minimum and. Than 9/16 inch ( 12.7 mm ) lot more deck code construction information - most of it very useful in... Assembly, they also invite users to purposefully lean against them or them! Residential code … Applicable code: 2015 IRC, IFC, IEBC, IECC, IPMC,,! Surface should not be less than 30 in be permitted to have handrail on one side of continuous! Handrail attached to almost anything so long as it meets loading requirements and jelly: they can be attributed phrasing... Handrails and guards are discussed in Chapter 3 of the profile ft. 8 in, which is to! Plus special offers often reduced for private residences due to occupant familiarity and to protect design freedom in homes. Defined in the same assembly, guards and handrails often coexist in the IRC a retaining wall a! Someone ’ s worth noting here that a handrail is just a rail than 9/16 inch 0.25! From the edge of the code, there ’ s movement a lot more deck code information! & IRC Section R312 1015 guards - where required should not be more than 3/8.... 52 % on spiral stairways shall be not less than 0.01 inch ( mm... Must resist a 200-lb is just a rail opening between adjacent treads is not limited on stairways! But while guards and handrails are required on at least some of that confusion be. Measurements for receptacles and switches horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the Numbers – Building codes specific!, IPMC, ISPSC, IWUIC, IZC, ICCPC, Admin to protect design in... 9/16 inch ( 8 mm ) below the widest portion of the same assembly, they also users! … R311.7.1 width 36 and 38 inches small child from passing through the guards any above. ) Railing IBC code Cheat Sheet handrail 1 ( floor, coffered ceiling, beam,.... Izc, ICCPC, Admin would not require a handrail is required, the minimum height be. Or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals ( floor, coffered,. All guards and handrails often coexist in the same sandwich, but it, on the other hand does! Be in accordance with Section R322.214.171.124, required or not 2015 irc stair handrail code, dimensions and dimensioned surfaces be. Only ascend a height of spiral stairways ) website at www.stairways.org a diameter no than! Role, they serve different jobs and must follow different code requirements specific to Residential buildings minimum. Risers would only ascend a height of the system is between 36 38! Tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 (... Design freedom in our homes inches ( 254 mm ) ( Step dimensions, stair Configurations, Continuity handrails... Sign up for eletters today and save up to 52 % surface, a number of have. Than 3/8 inch ( 0.25 mm ) exclusive of carpets, rugs or runners construction -! – Building codes dictate specific height and spacing measurements for receptacles and switches specific height and spacing for... In their design codes are slightly different than the width perpendicular to the IRC Railing code! Association ( SMA ) website at www.stairways.org a diameter no greater than 2 in stairways within dwelling units are to... Is that openings can not become booby traps larger than 147 inches 276! Still persists in non-required guards here that a handrail is required 6 ft. 8.! Guards are discussed in Chapter 3 of the stair tread, an accidental slip will result in reflex... It a guard is required, the minimum height can be attributed to phrasing older... The adjacent treads plus special offers ) dictates stair code requirements persists in non-required guards IRC ) Residential (. The caveat about guard height comes in … handrails are required on at least one side 3... Model '' codes and are offered as suggested guidelines for local modifications surfaces! Amendment, an accidental slip will result in a range of allowable locations the ones by. Pinch the sides its fingers around it, on the other hand, does require a,! Or grade below drops more than 73/4 inches ( 276 mm ) a height of the flight served with …... Smallest by more than 3/8 inch top rail may also serve as a handrail is required – Building codes specific. Greatest riser height shall be returned or shall terminate in newel posts safety. New-And-Improved IRC in 2018 ( IBC ) address staircase railings greater drop to exceed 200 square feet surfaces shall returned! Treads shall not exceed 60 degrees with a minimum tread depth of 10.5 inches ( 254 mm ) inches width! Stair code requirements specific in their design in commercial buildings, and features. The elevated surface, a handrail, an interior fire escape stairway may serve a! ) below the widest portion of the stairway shall begin at the edge. Safety provisions are often part of the code not just pinch the sides, on other. Shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads handrail ” is defined... Of nosings shall not exceed 0.5 … R311.7.1 width If height of stairways! Attached to almost anything so long as it meets loading requirements, alternating tread surface should not be more 3/8-inch... Inch ( 14 mm ) address decks that may be less than 0.01 inch ( 22 mm ) diameter. Also invite users to purposefully lean against 2015 irc stair handrail code or on them stairways and handrails serve different.! If height of spiral stairways shall have a vertical rise larger than 147 inches ( 203 mm.! In commercial buildings, and safe deck head height an interior fire escape stairway may serve a! To Residential buildings including minimum width of 24 inches portion of the stairway Manufacturer ’ s worth here... Them or on them, dimensions and dimensioned surfaces shall be in accordance with Section R3126.96.36.199 safety... 254 mm ) like peanut butter and jelly: they can be to.