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Old 08-18-2009, 12:45 PM   #16
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


Looks nice! Those stairs do need a handrail though.

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Old 08-18-2009, 03:04 PM   #17
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Looks nice! Those stairs do need a handrail though.
Ha - Yeah...I figured someone might point that out...I debated it...but because of the 7ft wide steps...and the fact that it's only 26" off the ground...I really didn't think that it was necessary....
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:43 PM   #18
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


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Originally Posted by EightmanVT View Post
Ha - Yeah...I figured someone might point that out...I debated it...but because of the 7ft wide steps...and the fact that it's only 26" off the ground...I really didn't think that it was necessary....
Four or more risers requires a handrail on at least one side of the stairs. IRC R 311.5.6
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:39 PM   #19
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


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Four or more risers requires a handrail on at least one side of the stairs. IRC R 311.5.6
What purpose does that serve..."on at least one side"?

At any rate... I get it - the code says a handrail - I chose not to put one up......the posted speed limit is 55mph...and I've been known to exceed that once in a while... .Everything else about the deck meets or exceeds code I considered a handrail...but didn't think it added anything to the deck , both functionally or aesthetically.
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:35 PM   #20
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


How about monetarily? A visitor comes to your house, falls going down on the steps, critical injury. His family sues you. Your Insurance Company rejects the claim because they were not built to minimum safety code. (Look at your policy). And a nice pubic record of it all right here, a virtual paper trail. A year later, his family owns your house, with the new deck, they install a handrail.

4" maximum gap under your fence and guard-rail assemblies, and at each riser of the stairs- otherwise close them off. (To prevent a toddler or baby from getting it's head stuck there and suffocating or a broken neck). IRC 312.2, IRC 311.5.3.3

What purpose does that serve..."on at least one side"? Wait until you get older, you will look for that handrail........ask your parents!
These are minimum safety codes to keep your family safe, being you are taking that responsibility, not a Contractor.

Be safe, G
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:56 PM   #21
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBAR in WA View Post
How about monetarily? A visitor comes to your house, falls going down on the steps, critical injury. His family sues you. Your Insurance Company rejects the claim because they were not built to minimum safety code. (Look at your policy). And a nice pubic record of it all right here, a virtual paper trail. A year later, his family owns your house, with the new deck, they install a handrail.

4" maximum gap under your fence and guard-rail assemblies, and at each riser of the stairs- otherwise close them off. (To prevent a toddler or baby from getting it's head stuck there and suffocating or a broken neck). IRC 312.2, IRC 311.5.3.3

What purpose does that serve..."on at least one side"? Wait until you get older, you will look for that handrail........ask your parents!
These are minimum safety codes to keep your family safe, being you are taking that responsibility, not a Contractor.

Be safe, G
Seriously - what logic does that really serve? The risk is not minimized by mandating that the rail be only on one side - what's to keep someone from falling off the non railed side?? We're not talking about 5 feet...we're talking 26" off the ground...and steps that are 7 feet wide. I have a 14 month old daughter that can already handle those steps...and in fact...took great pleasure at demonstrating that multiple times. Oh...and the handrail.....requirement isn't much help unless it's accompanied by a guard rail requirement as well.

BTW - where is this IRC code? Is it freely downloadable? I used the code guidelines that I could find on my county's website and the general code guidelines from the Deck book which formed the basis of my research. Like I indicated previously - all other code stipulations are met or exceeded - including the baluster spacing which you mentioned.

I mean - why is it that you guys want to just rub on the one observable "omission" - even though it really isnt? You're going to be liable if you're in an accident caused by excessive speed - I'd be willing to be that most on here have exceeded the speed limit once or twice.

The point is - I don't need a handrail on this deck. If someone can come over and figure out how to injure themselves on this deck...they probably shouldn't be walking without a helmet.

Coming up with such a low probability occurance...is really ridiculous - I could contrive a million such scenarios at your own house...for which you MAY risk some liability given just the right set of circumstances.

And finally... according to the Howard County, Maryland website - which is where I live - cut and paste below

"Residential 'R315 Handrails, International Residential Code (IRC): It has been and continues to be the interpretation of this department that handrails are not required until the elevation difference between floors or floor and grade is more than 30" (763 mm). 'R316 Guards, IRC: Porches, balconies, or raised floor surfaces located not more than 30" (763 mm) above the floor or grade below may omit guards. Where the floor or grade below are not more than 48"(1220 mm), fixed barriers (e.g. planters, seats, or benches) placed around the perimeter of the open sides may be used in lieu of guards."

Last edited by EightmanVT; 08-20-2009 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:27 PM   #22
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Yes...Another Deck Question :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by EightmanVT View Post
And finally... according to the Howard County, Maryland website - which is where I live - cut and paste below

"Residential 'R315 Handrails, International Residential Code (IRC): It has been and continues to be the interpretation of this department that handrails are not required until the elevation difference between floors or floor and grade is more than 30" (763 mm). 'R316 Guards, IRC: Porches, balconies, or raised floor surfaces located not more than 30" (763 mm) above the floor or grade below may omit guards. Where the floor or grade below are not more than 48"(1220 mm), fixed barriers (e.g. planters, seats, or benches) placed around the perimeter of the open sides may be used in lieu of guards."
Good job doing your research and knowing your local requirements. Although I agree in full with GBARinWA you've got it straight from the horse's mouth on your county's website.

To answer your question, the IRC code is the International Residential Code. Most jurisdictions in the US are using it nowadays. It isn't free or downloadable but you can get it at any library or bookstore, or your city/county is required to have copies for people to look at if needed.

As for us rubbing on the observable omission...People here are spring loaded to help, nothing more. If anyone had said your deck looked terrible and check out that code violation that would be one thing. Take it as constructive and helpful because that is how I intended it...Not with malice. There are a couple other things I see that I elected not to mention in my first post because of their relative insignificance. If you're not into complying with code, fair enough.

Now here comes my opinion as a code official and someone that knows chapter 3 of the IRC backwards and forwards. The county is doing a very poor job of reading the code and one of these days they'll get sued for it. The 30" rule in the code pertains to the guardrail requirement and has absolutely nothing to do with the handrail requirement that is purely driven by the number of risers in the stair regardless of dimension. They are totally separate code sections and have no pertinence to each other. The building official in your county is mistakenly and poorly interpreting code that leaves no room for interpretation (some code does leave room). Their mention of 48" if planters or benches are used is plain goofy and is certainly not code-based in any way! I will say that their interpretation does work out in your favor since you don't want the rail!

EightmanVT, you've got to understand the difference between a handrail and a guard in order for our explanations to make sense. That's where your county is dead wrong. A handrail is simply for grasping as you go up or down the stairs. Although it is to provide balance or assistance it is not in any way intended keep you from going over the side of the stair. It doesn't involve spindles or ballusters to keep someone from falling more than 30". A guard has ballusters (or wires, pipes, wrought iron, or is solid) spaced closely together to prevent falls. A guard and handrail are often incorporated together to satisfy both code sections when the fall potential off the side of the stair or the deck exceeds 30". Your deck would be 100% compliant with a simple piece of handrail going down one side (no ballusters) to a newel post at the bottom.

Actually, at 26" off the ground there is absolutely no need for you to have installed the guardrail around the perimeter of the deck. That's the 30" rule in action!

Not trying to get you to install a handrail, just giving you some justification for the statement I made and GBAR's statements as well.

As I stated in my first post, your deck looks great.

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