IBC - International Building Code
Section 1009 - Stairways and Handrails
1009.1 Stairway Width.
The width of stairways shall not be less than 44 inches (1118 mm).
1. Stairways serving an occupant load of 50 or less shall have a width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm).
Stairways shall have a minimum headroom clearance of 80 inches (2032 mm) measured vertically from a line connecting the edge of the nosings. Such headroom shall be continuous above the stairway to the point where the line intersects the landing below, one tread depth beyond the bottom riser. The minimum clearance shall be maintained the full width of the stairway and landing.
1009.3 Stair Treads and Risers.
Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches maximum and 4 inches minimum. Stair tread depths shall be 11 inches minimum. The riser height shall be measured vertically between the leading edges of adjacent treads. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 0.375 inch. The tread depth shall be measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at right angle to the tread's leading edge. The greatest tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 0.375 inch.
1009.3.1 Dimensional Uniformity.
Stair treads and risers shall be of uniform size and shape. The tolerance between the largest and smallest riser or between the largest and smallest tread shall not exceed 0.375 inch (9.5 mm) in any flight of stairs.
The radius of curvature at the leading edge of the tread shall be not greater than 0.5 inch (12.7 mm). Beveling of nosings shall not exceed 0.5 inch (12.7 mm). Risers shall be solid and vertical or sloped from the underside of the leading edge of the tread above at an angle not more than 30 degrees (0.52 rad) from the vertical. The leading edge (nosings) of treads shall project not more than 1.25 inches (32 mm) beyond the tread below and all projections of the leading edges shall be of uniform size, including the leading edge of the floor at the top of a flight.
1009.4 Stairway Landings.
There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway. The width of landings shall not be less than the width of stairways they serve. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension measured in the direction of travel equal to the width of the stairway. Such dimension need not exceed 48 inches (1219 mm) where the stairway has a straight run.
1. Handrails within a dwelling unit that is not required to be accessible need extend only from the top riserto the bottom riser.
1009.5.1 Stairway Walking Surface.
The walking surface of treads and landings of a stairway shall not be sloped steeper than one unit vertical in 48 units horizontal (2-percent slope) in any direction. Stairway treads and landings shall have a solid surface. Finish floor surfaces shall be securely attached.
Other than areas of parking structures accessible to the public, openings in treads and landings shall not be prohibited provided a sphere with a diameter of 1 1/8 inches (29 mm) cannot pass through the opening.
1009.5.2 Outdoor Conditions.
Outdoor stairways and outdoor approaches to stairways shall be designed so that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces. In other than occupancies in Group R-3, and occupancies in Group U that are accessory to an occupancy in Group R-3, treads, platforms and landings that are part of exterior stairways in climates subject to snow or ice shall be protected to prevent the accumulation of same.
1009.6 Vertical Rise.
A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise grater than 12 feet (3658 mm) between floor levels or landings.
Stairways shall have handrails on each side.
Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).
1009.11.2 Intermediate Handrails.
Intermediate hand- rails are required so that all portions of the stairway width required for egress capacity are within 30 inches (762 mm) of a handrail. On monumental stairs, handrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel.
1009.11.3 Handrail Graspability.
Handrails with circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1.25 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm) or shall provide equivalent graspability. If the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension of at least 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 6.25 inches (160 mm) with a maximum cross- section dimension of 2.25 inches (57 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).
Handrail-gripping surfaces shall be continuous, without interruption by newel posts or other obstruction.
1009.11.5 Handrail Extensions.
Handrails shall return to a wall, guard or the walking surface or shall be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent stair flight. Where handrails are not continuous between flights, the handrails shall extend horizontally at least 12 inches (305 mm) beyond the top riser and continue to slope for the depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser.
Clear space between a handrail and a wall or other surface shall be a minimum of 1.5 inches (38 mm). A handrail and a wall or other surface adjacent to the handrail shall be free of any sharp or abrasive elements.
1009.11.7 Stairway Projections.
Projections into the required width at each handrail shall not exceed 4.5 inches (114 mm) at or below the handrail height. Projections into the required width shall not be limited above the minimum headroom height required in Section 1009.2.
Section 1012 - Guards
1012.1 Where Required.
Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, mezzanines, industrial equipment platforms, stairways, ramps and landings which are located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below. Guards shall be adequate in strength and attachment in accordance with Section 1607.7. Guards shall also be located along glazed sides of stairways, ramps and landings that are located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below where the glazing provided does not meet the strength and attachment requirements in Section 1607.7.
Exception: Guards are not required for the following locations:
1. On the loading side of loading docks or piers.
2. On the audience side of stages and raised plat- forms, including steps leading up to the stage and raised platforms.
3. On raised stage and platform floor areas such as runways, ramps and side stages used for entertainment or presentations.
4. At vertical openings in the performance area of stages and platforms.
5. At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to and utilization of special lighting or equipment.
6. Along vehicle service pits not accessible to the public.
7. In assembly seating where guards in accordance with Section 1024.14 are permitted and provided.
Guards shall form a protective barrier not less than 42 inches (1067 mm) high, measured vertically above the leading edge of the tread, adjacent walking surface or adjacent seat board.
1012.3 Opening Limitations.
Open guards shall have balusters or ornamental patterns such that a 4-inch- diameter (102 mm) sphere cannot pass through any opening up to a height of 34 inches (864 mm). From a height of 34 inches (864 mm) to 42 inches (1067 mm) above the adjacent walking surfaces, a sphere 8 inches (203 mm) in diameter shall not pass.
1. The triangular openings formed by the riser, tread and bottom rail at the open side of a stairway shall be of a maximum size such that a sphere of 6 inches (152 mm) in diameter cannot pass through the opening.
2. At elevated walking surfaces for access to and use of electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems or equipment, guards shall have balusters or be of solid materials such that a sphere with a diameter of 21 inches (533 mm) cannot pass through any opening.
3. In areas which are not open to the public within occupancies in Group I-3, F, H or S, balusters, horizontal intermediate rails or other construction shall not permit a sphere with a diameter of 21 inches (533 mm) to pass through any opening.
4. In assembly seating areas, guards at the end of aisles where they terminate at a fascia of boxes, balconies and galleries shall have balusters or ornamental patterns such that a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere cannot pass through any opening up to a height of 26 inches (660 mm). From a height of 26 inches (660 mm) to 42 inches (1067mm) above the adjacent walking surfaces, a sphere 8 inches (203 mm) in diameter shall not pass.
1012.5 Mechanical Equipment.
Guards shall be provided where appliances, equipment, fans or other components that require service are located within 10 feet (3048 mm) of a roof edge or open side of a walking surface and such edge or open side is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor, roof or grade below. The guard shall be constructed so as to prevent the passage of a 21-inch-diameter (533 mm) sphere.
This information above is reproduced from the IBC code. A-Mezz Industrial Structures is not responsible for the accuracy of this information. This information is meant to serve as guide, not the authority of the International Building Code. For additional IBC clearification please contact your local building department.