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Old 01-03-2009, 05:49 PM   #1
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Basement staircase code


Are basement stairs in a non-livable basement subject to the same code as a staircase in the living areas?

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Old 01-03-2009, 07:14 PM   #2
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Basement staircase code


We use IRC, and I see not exceptions for basement stairs.

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Old 01-03-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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Basement staircase code


Yes, the same criteria applies to basement stairs.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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Basement staircase code


Alright, literally back to the drawing board.
Thanks
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Basement staircase code


Every stair in the home must comply. 7-3/4" max rise, 10" minimum run, 3/8" maximum variance between any two treads.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #6
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Basement staircase code


Thanks KC,
In Massachusetts, the code calls for a 9" min tread. I guess we have smaller houses here.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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Basement staircase code


They must be on the old UBC or CABO codes I assume. The International Codes have always required the 10".

Remember, you can leave an existing (old) non-compliant staircase alone during a remodel and not have to modify it. If it becomes part of the scope of work, then and only then should you have to bring it up to current code.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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Basement staircase code


I'm relocating the main staircase and the basement stairs are moving directly beneath. For the basement, I was hoping to go with an 8 1/4 tread; it's currently 7 3/4". With these small houses, you need to be as creative as possible to squeak every square inch of usable space out of it.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Basement staircase code


Ah, I see. That's a tough one.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
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Basement staircase code


Still haven't figured this one out yet. I've revamped my plans for a basement step rise of 7.75" and tread of 9". Massachusetts code rise<=8 1/4" and tread>=9".
These will be directly below the main staircase. The new basement staircase is 5 treads down and then your on a landing and then another 5 treads down to get to the basement floor for a total of 11 steps. The top 5 steps will be to code however, the bottom 5 steps get squeezed to 32.5" because the foundation is thicker than the stud wall. The new staircase would be a huge improvement over the current staircase which have treads anywhere between 7" and 6.75", rise of 8.75", and a lower width of 32.5". The only way I can make the basement staircase code is to increase the main staircase to 44" wide which takes a lot out of an already small bedroom.
Is there ever any leniency by the building department?
Edit: I'll never have the minimum head clearance as well the basement ceiling height is only 78".
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:48 PM   #11
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Basement staircase code


I'd think that you'd be able to negotiate a little mercy since you're in an existing residence. I like to use the term "achievable barriers" when dealing with something like this. Moving existing walls to bring the staircase width to code is not an achievable barrier that you can get past without serious hardship.

Contact the inspector or the building official before continuing...

I'd present it this way...
You're bringing the old steps up to current code for rise/run dimensions, which makes the stair safer. You're certainly not making it worse. You'll have the required handrail and guardrail if your stair needs one. Let them know what would be involved to meet the current code, and demonstrate that a best effort has been made to maintain the existing width.

Personally, I'd grant a code modification/variance in a heartbeat for something like this on a remodel of an old home. On new construction or a totally new staircase, I would not, regardless of hardship.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:06 PM   #12
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Basement staircase code


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
I'm relocating the main staircase and the basement stairs are moving directly beneath. For the basement, I was hoping to go with an 8 1/4 tread; it's currently 7 3/4". With these small houses, you need to be as creative as possible to squeak every square inch of usable space out of it.
I'm not sure I understand this right
I was thinking you were moving both stairs
But you are actually only moving the main staircase, & revamping the basement staircase?

I think that's acceptable
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:27 AM   #13
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Basement staircase code


Thanks KC, I'll talk to the inspector to see what he'll let me get away with on the width. It is a totally new staircase though. It's in the same area, but being moved 3' to accomodate a better second floor layout.
Scubadave, both staircases are moving but I wrote the plans base on the main staircase. It was only that I started taking measurements in the basement for a support wall that I noticed an oversight with the width of the basement stairs. Actually
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:38 AM   #14
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Basement staircase code


Quote:
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It is a totally new staircase though.
Uh-oh. You wouldn't like what I'd tell you.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:56 PM   #15
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Basement staircase code


Yeah, they usually want you to meet new code when you totally rebuild something

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