BCAB #1217 - Handrails on Stairs in Dwelling Units - Sentence 9.8.7.1.

August 30, 1990

BCAB #1217

Re: Handrails on Stairs in Dwelling Units - Sentence 9.8.7.1.

Project Description

A single family dwelling with four levels on it's first floor. The stairs connecting these various levels have between two and five risers and are all 1100 mm or greater in width.

Reason for Appeal

Article 9.8.7.1. states that handrails are required on "2 sides of stairs 1100 mm in width or greater."

Appellant's Position

The appellant believes this requirement should only be applied to stairs which are required to be 1100 mm or greater in width not to stairs which are 1100 mm or wider by choice. He feels this is consistent with the intent of the Code as demonstrated in Sentences 3.4.7.5.(1) & (2) dealing with handrails for exit stairs. He maintains exit stair width is dictated by occupant load and handrails on both sides are necessary when large numbers of people are likely to use the stairs in emergency situations.

Building Official's Position

The building official feels the Code requires the handrails on both sides of stairs 1100 mm or greater in width even if the stairs are that wide by choice. He feels user safety is the reason.

Appeal Board Decision #1217

The Board considers that Article 9.8.7.1. requires handrails on both sides of all stairs 1100 mm or greater in width regardless of whether or not the width is required. The Board also directs the appellant to Appeal #1214 (copy enclosed) regarding handrails and direction of travel on stairs.

George R. Humphrey, Chair