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What is the max. length of a step before you need a center handrail
You need to clarify what you mean by a " center handrail".
Is this an exterior staircase and are you asking about the width of the staircase with a center railing?
Ron
 

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I agree that the best bet is to call your local building department. Local amendments to the code or local policies may be enforced.

That being said, the International Residential Code has no requirement for a center handrail on a stair of any width. Center handrails are never mentioned. A stair that requires a handrail requires only one, and it could be on one end of a 20' wide stair and completely satisfy the minimum code requirement.
 
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