BCAB #1356 - Handrails on Exterior Stairs, Sentence

May 20, 1994

BCAB #1356

Re: Handrails on Exterior Stairs, Sentence

Project Description

The project in question is an automobile dealership. A stairway consisting of 3 risers, a landing and 3 more risers leads from a small covered patio outside a showroom exit door down to the main entry driveway. The width of the stairway increases as it descends but at its minimum is more than 1100 mm wide. There is one free-standing handrail in the centre of the stairway.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires every exit stairway 1100 mm or more in width to have a handrail on both sides.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that a single handrail should be acceptable for two reasons. Firstly, the stairs are considerably wider than the minimum required based on occupant load and if the stairs were the minimum allowable 900 mm in width, only one handrail would be required. Secondly, the stairs were designed as a landscape feature and are not required as part of the means of egress. The covered patio served by the stairs is at grade adjacent to a gently sloping landscape area which leads to the parking lot and then the street.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the stairway is not just a landscape feature, does form part of the required means of egress from the building and Sentence does apply. Because the stairway exceeds 1100 mm in width it must have handrails on both sides.

Appeal Board Decision #1356

It is the determination of the Board that a handrail is required on both sides of the stair in question. The Board considered the stair to be part of an exit facility and Sentence requires a handrail on both sides of an exit stair that is more than 1100 mm wide.

George R. Humphrey, Chair