BCAB #1239 - Handrails on Exterior Stairs; Article

March 27, 1991

BCAB #1239

Re: Handrails on Exterior Stairs; Article

Project Description

Exterior stairs leading up the the front entry door of a single family dwelling. The stairs in question start from the driveway with two risers leading to a landing. One then turns 90 degrees to the left and ascends three more risers to the landing in front of the entry door. The two sides of the first landing that are not connected to the stairs are at ground level.

Reason for Appeal

Article states, in part, that exterior stairs for dwelling units do not require handrails if they have not more than three risers.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that there are two sets of stairs separated by a landing and because both sets of stairs are three risers or less they do not require handrails. Furthermore, the landing being at ground level permits persons to leave the stairs after descending only three risers which reinforces the idea of two stairs connected by a landing.

Building Official's Position

The building official contends that the word stair or stairway is intended to include landings making this a stair with five risers and therefore requiring a handrail. He also feels that the ground level landing should not be considered because access toe the surrounding soft landscaping could be blocked by planting and the stair clearly ends at the driveway level.

Appeal Board Decision #1239

It is the determination of the Board that the situation in question consists of two stairs connecting the main entry door of a dwelling with two separate landscape levels. As neither stair exceeds three risers handrails are not required.

George R. Humphrey, Chair