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benjamincall 01-25-2011 10:25 PM

Floor space at the top of interior stairs
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Any insights on this portion of the IRC?:

benjamincall 01-25-2011 10:28 PM

Does this exception mean that I can have an interior stair that ends 24" from an interior wall?

benjamincall 01-26-2011 11:01 AM

I spoke with the building official for the borough, and he interprets that exception to apply to doorways at the top of the stair, i.e., I can't end my stair under 36" from the wall. He referred me to the New Jersey rehab code, suggesting that I might not have to comply with the IRC, but I'm not sure if the rehab code applies to a replacement stair built in a different location. Any one in Jersey care to chime in?

benjamincall 01-26-2011 05:34 PM

Well, I reached someone at the state code administration office, and I learned that a relocated stair would be considered a new stair under the rehab subcode. At this stage, I believe the local building official will grant me a variance based on the fact that the new staircase is larger and provides more headroom than the staircase being replaced.

Gary in WA 01-26-2011 10:05 PM

I need to chime in or it wouldn't be a forum..... LOL.
It needs to be 36" net if the only stairs from/to below any habitable space for a hallway width as egress path;
Let us know the outcome....


benjamincall 01-26-2011 11:03 PM


I couldn't find a width exception for secondary stairs (those not required for egress) in IRC 2009. Am I missing your reference?

I have a walk-out basement, so this stairway wouldn't be the only means egress. In light of this fact, I'm pretty sure my building official will grant the variance.

I think I'm going to go with narrow landings instead of low headroom, short treads, or tall risers, since narrow landings seem to be the least likely to cause a safety hazard. I'll take the landing at the top of the stairs down to 30" and I'll do the same with the intermediate landing.

ubenhad4 01-26-2011 11:27 PM

landings have to be the same size as the stair width. If you have a 36 in stair you have to have atleast a 36 in landing. The exemption only applies to door swings, you still need at least 36 in finished at the top you just cant swing a door into that space.

benjamincall 01-27-2011 12:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback!

I'm going to reduce the size to 30" in the direction of travel at the top of the stair, and I'll either reduce the width of the stair below the intermediate landing or I'll make a return stair instead of an L-shaped stair.

In light of the fact that this stair is going into an existing building with space constraints, I believe the building official will allow those variances from the IRC. I hit my head as I descend the existing basement stair, so the new stair will definitely be an improvement over the present configuration.

When I have to sell my house down the road, I believe a spiral stair would be more unpopular families than a narrow landing.

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