NFPA 101:126.96.36.199.3 allows the top rail of a guardrail at 42" to suffice as the handrail.
SBCCI 1997 - 1007.5 Exemption 1 is similar.
IBC 2000 does not address the issue.
The commentary sections in IBC 2003 and IBC 2006 do not allow a guardrail at 42" to suffice as the handrail. As the statement is in the commentary section only, is it applicable? Does anyone know of another formal interpretation?
Posts: 2 | From: Louisiana | Registered: Feb 2008
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Codesearcher, the terms guardrail and handrail are often mistakenly interchanged, but the two terms not the same and their function and definitions should be clearly understood:
quote:IBC 1002.1 Definitions
GUARD. A building component or a system of building components located at or near the open sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking surface to a lower level.
HANDRAIL. A horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the hand for guidance or support.
A HANDRAIL is required to assist walking from one grade elevation to another. It is required to be a profile that is graspable, or grippable, (including horizontal extensions at landings). And it is required to be no higher than 38 inches above the landing, ramp or nosing of stair treads. (IBC 100
A GUARDRAIL profile is not limited in the IBC, and it must be at least (X number of) inches high, but is usually not limited in maximum height.
Good Morning! A couple of comments, and then some pictures and NFPA code sections.
1. What code has precident in your jurisdiction? Usually the Building Code takes precident over all other codes. When there is a conflict, the more specific requirement takes precident.
2. Is this new construction or existing?
3. Let me say that your question is a good one. I have pasted the NFPA 101 sections below, and I can see the reason for your question.
My take on it... is that the handrail can NOT be higher than 38", just as it says in NFPA 101-188.8.131.52.4.1.
The NFPA seems to make allowance for a higher handrail when it is not new (pre-existing). But I believe that the grippable portion should still be within the 34-38" range. Yes, there may be exceptions, but the Authority Having Jurisdiction (ie., Building Official) will have final say on this. So you should ask him or her.
quote: NFPA 101 184.108.40.206.4* Handrail Details.
220.127.116.11.4.1 New handrails on stairs shall be not less than 34 in. (865 mm), and not more than 38 in. (965 mm), above the surface of the tread, measured vertically to the top of the rail from the leading edge of the tread.
18.104.22.168.4.2 Existing required handrails shall be not less than 30 in. (760 mm), and not more than 38 in. (965 mm), above the surface of the tread, measured vertically to the top of the rail from the leading edge of the tread.
22.214.171.124.4.3 The height of required handrails that form part of a guard shall be permitted to exceed 38 in. (965 mm), but shall not exceed 42 in. (1065 mm), measured vertically to the top of the rail from the leading edge of the tread.
126.96.36.199.4.4* Additional handrails that are lower or higher than the main handrail shall be permitted.
188.8.131.52.4.5 New handrails shall be installed to provide a clearance of not less than 2 in. (57 mm) between the handrail and the wall to which it is fastened.
184.108.40.206.4.6 Handrails shall include one of the following features:
(1)[/b] Circular cross section with an outside diameter of not less than 1 in. (32 mm) and not more than 2 in. (51 mm)
(2)*[/b] Shape that is other than circular with a perimeter dimension of not less than 4 in. (100 mm), but not more than 6 in. (160 mm), and with the largest cross-sectional dimension not more than 2 in. (57 mm), provided that graspable edges are rounded so as to provide a radius of not less than in. (3.2 mm)
220.127.116.11.4.7 New handrails shall be continuously graspable along their entire length.
18.104.22.168.4.8 Handrail brackets or balusters attached to the bottom surface of the handrail shall not be considered to be obstructions to graspability, provided that the following criteria are met:
(1) They do not project horizontally beyond the sides of the handrail within 1 in. (38 mm) of the bottom of the handrail and provided that, for each additional in. (13 mm) of handrail perimeter dimension greater than 4 in. (100 mm), the vertical clearance dimension of 1 in. (38 mm) is reduced by in. (3.2 mm).
(2) They have edges with a radius of not less than 0.01 in. (0.25 mm).
22.214.171.124.4.9 New handrail ends shall be returned to the wall or floor or shall terminate at newel posts.
126.96.36.199.4.10 In other than dwelling units, new handrails that are not continuous between flights shall extend horizontally, at the required height, not less than 12 in. (305 mm) beyond the top riser and continue to slope for a depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser.
-------------------- A friend in the Building Codes, TERRE GIFT
"Build it well, whatever you do. Build it Strong, Straight, and True...." Posts: 1281 | From: Oregon and Washington | Registered: Jan 2004
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