BCAB #1301- Handrail Design, Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) and Subsection 9.8.7

April 26, 1993

BCAB #1301

Re: Handrail Design, Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) and Subsection 9.8.7

Project Description

This appeal relates to the cross-sectional shape of a handrail used on stairs.

Reason for Appeal

Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) of the 1992 B.C. Building Code requires handrails to be "continuously graspable along the entire length."

Appellant's Position

The appellant considers the design shown below to be "graspable" and feels it should be acceptable under Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a).

Building Official's Position

The building official has relied on a suggestion in the Appendix Item A3.4.6.4.(3)(a) that a diameter of 40 mm (1.57 in) is the preferred size for a handrail. The official feels that the 3.25 in (825 mm) wide handrail manufactured by the appellant is too wide to be "graspable".

Appeal Board Decision #1301

It is the determination of the Board that a 3.25" (825 mm) wide handrail is not graspable as intended by Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a). Sentence 3.3.1.15.(15) requires all handrails in Part 3 buildings to conform to the requirements of Section 3.4. The Board considers that handrails in Part 9 buildings, including dwellings, must also be graspable because Article 9.8.7.7. requires handrails to provide a "handhold" and the common understanding of a handrail is to be grasped by the hand.

The Board recommends that the Building Code be revised to more clearly define the design of handrails.

George R. Humphrey, Chair