BCAB #1340 - Handrail Design, Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) & Article 9.8.7.7

March 16, 1994

BCAB #1340

Re: Handrail Design, Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) & Article 9.8.7.7

Project Description

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

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." Article 9.8.7.7. requires handrails to be constructed "...with no obstruction...to beak a handhold...".

Appellant's Position

The appellant considers the design shown below to be "graspable" and feels it should be acceptable under both Clause 3.4.6.4.(3)(a) and Article 9.8.7.7. His family and friends from young children to seniors have had no problem with the handrail since moving into the dwelling some six months ago.

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. Classical handrail designs such as the one in question are acceptable to the building official provided they do not exceed 25/8 inches in width. This acceptance is based on examples from the Uniform Building Code from the United States. The official feels that the 27/8 inch (730 mm) wide handrail installed by the appellant is too wide to be "graspable" or provide a proper handhold.

Appeal Board Decision #1340

The Board determined in Appeal #1301 that handrails in both Part 9 and Part 3 buildings must be graspable. The design in that appeal was similar to this handrail but was 31/4 inches wide and was not considered to be graspable. It is the determination of the Board that the particular handrail section in this appeal is graspable as intended by the Code.

George R. Humphrey, Chair