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Old 03-18-2018, 08:52 AM   #1
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Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


We replaced our old basement stairs and hired a contractor on Thumbtack (unfortunately). The stairs seem fine and safe, but I'm finishing up the basement and wondering if an inspection is required for Pittsburgh.

I also didn't get a permit, because the structure already existed - so it wasn't a new addition. Don't know if that is the correct move.

Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:29 PM   #2
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


You will need to check with your county office.

Here you can replace anything in your property, yourself, or hire it done, but still need a safety inspection afterward.

The contractor should have gotten the proper permits, and paid for them, and the inspection.

Probably not licensed though which has other built in broblems.

I hope that it was done correctly.


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Old 03-18-2018, 04:16 PM   #3
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


I believe that Pittsburgh uses the Uniform Construction Code, so I don't believe any permit or inspections should be required for stair replacement. Not 100% sure on that though.

Either way, I don't believe any "stair police" are going to be coming around to your home any time soon. So how would anyone know the difference anyway. The other thing is if a permit and inspection are required for a project and you don't do so you have broken the law whether you report yourself or not, you are still guilty. You can be forced to tear out all work that was done without a permit or inspection and face fines, so reporting yourself for such issues probably isn't the smartest option.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


Thanks for the input @CrazyGuy . My concern is for when I go to sell my property, if this will become an issue then. If I have to have someone redo the work, I'd rather do it now while I'm working on finishing up my basement rather than tearing it down, redoing, fixing drywall, etc later down the road. I come from Connecticut who I know if very stringent on this type of stuff.
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Old 03-18-2018, 06:43 PM   #5
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


Quote:
Originally Posted by dpdiy View Post
Thanks for the input @CrazyGuy . My concern is for when I go to sell my property, if this will become an issue then. If I have to have someone redo the work, I'd rather do it now while I'm working on finishing up my basement rather than tearing it down, redoing, fixing drywall, etc later down the road. I come from Connecticut who I know if very stringent on this type of stuff.

Read this thread http://www.diychatroom.com/f50/basem...2/#post5284162

to pick up some insight on basement permits. The old geezer reads as if he is still living in the 1800's. The Bud guy, reads as if he is staying current on his building and permit knowledge.
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Old 03-18-2018, 06:44 PM   #6
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


Dpdiy, I wouldn't call for an inspector just yet. Make sure that the railing is 2' 10" from the nose of the treads. Balusters should no more than 4" apart. Space between each step can't be more than 4" either if you didn't install risers.
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


@Guap0_ , so I did some measurements based on your last comment. Here is what I found (don't think it's looking pretty). Looking forward to you and others feedback.

- Ballisters are anywhere from 6 to 7 inches apart. They are also fastened to the skirtboard, not the actual treads themselves.

- Tread is 32.5" W x 10.5" L

- Handrail is just a piece of standard wood that is 2.5" W x 0.75" H. It also doesn't have any supporting beam underneath, except for the Ballisters.

- Riser heights vary from 6-7" H

- Nosing on the tread is 2.75"
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:39 PM   #8
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


More balusters have to be added. It's okay that they are not attached to the treads. Risers are okay. I think that you misunderstood the tread measurement. From the nose of the tread, measure straight upwards/vertically to the railing. The height should be 2' 10".
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:52 PM   #9
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


@Guap0_ , so from the nose of tread to the handrail is 2'6". If I go further in on the tread and measure next to actual banister, that height varied from 2'9" to 2'10".

Also is the handrail concerning to you? From what I've read quickly, if that is less than 2" x 4", they need to have supporting beams underneath them.

Last edited by dpdiy; 03-18-2018 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Added more info
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:20 AM   #10
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


The measurement is from the nose to the top of the rail/banister, what ever you want to call it. That part is easy to flx. Just nail a board on top of it. I did that on a railing around a pool. The code there was 3'.

You need to do 2 things. Add a baluster between each of the current balusters & add a board or anything on top of the existing rail/banister. It's a simple fix. It's up to you if you want to demand the original contractor to fix it or if you want to do it or if you want a 3rd party to do it.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:15 AM   #11
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


The 6-7 in riser height is most likely a code violation. The difference between the smallest riser, and the largest riser can Not be more than 3/8 of an inch where I live.

I’d bring in a good contractor to inspect that stair and see what he finds wrong. You got enough problems that are easily found which makes me wonder if you may have structural problems underneath.

No sense trying to fix balusters or handrails if the whole stairway needs ripping out and redoing.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:30 PM   #12
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


I'm not saying that it doesn't exist but I haven't heard of that 3/8" difference rule. If he fixes the glaring violations, I think that he will be ok.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:38 PM   #13
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


It’s the IRC R311.5.3.1

Quote:
R311.5.3.1 Riser height. The maximum riser height shall be 7 3/4 inches (196 mm). The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm).
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:50 PM   #14
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


I believe you. I just never heard of it & I don't know if it exists here. I don't know if home inspectors who work for buyers would see the difference, w/o actually measuring it. They will certainly see 7" spaces between balusters, in a flash. It all depends on what chances the OP wants to take.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:00 PM   #15
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Re: Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA


Thanks for the back-and-forth everyone. This is helpful. One last question: can I get rid of the railing and balusters all together? There is a railing attached to other side of stairs, anchored to concrete wall.

I've attached the current setup and what I'm thinking would be best, given the fact I'd like to avoid tearing down the stairs and having to go through the process of hiring and installing a new set.

You think this is ok? Exposed area shown is about half the total rise of stairs.

Current:
Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA-stairs-current.jpg

Idea for alteration:
Do I Need Inspection After New Stair Installation in Pittsburgh, PA-stairs-new.jpg
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