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TOPIC: Outside stairs.

Re: Outside stairs. 8 years 1 month ago #42992

I had one similar.  Hillside lot, only access to the fenced backyard and the heat pump compressor is by a series of steps / landings built with landscaping blocks.  Sorry, since that is the only access, it needs a proper railing.

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Re: Outside stairs. 8 years 1 month ago #42996

Richard, if this pic is similar to what you are describing, no, a railing is not required as there in no fall hazard if they go off the side, and, by the dimensions of each step they are able to stop with both feet on the same step to rest or turn around. That is not to say you cannot recommend installing one as an added precaution for safety.
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Jeffrey R. Jonas
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Re: Outside stairs. 8 years 2 weeks ago #43603

hand rails are required for stairs leading into the house which have 4 or more treads 

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Re: Outside stairs. 8 years 2 weeks ago #43604

They are not stairs. If they were then you would have to also call out the irregularity of the rise/run ratio as I'm sure they are not uniform. With any component with this ambiguous nature, your safest and least liable position is to report on what would be the "best practice".  As Jeff said look at the forest, not the trees. Is there a legitimate trip hazard or a drop off which could lead to personal injury?  If so call out that particular issue and add a general warning regarding the design of the steps not allowing uniform travel up and down.

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Re: Outside stairs. 8 years 2 weeks ago #43629

Comment from the ICC Bulletin board.

This is one of those topics that will be constantly debated until it is officially adopted by one of the ICC Committees.

The 2003 IRC nor the IBC references this issue. Typically, Landscape steps/stairs are not specifically addressed. While they ARE technically steps/stairs, most residential builders will fight you tooth and nail over it.

Commercial contractors simply go by what's on the plans and what the architect-of-record wants to install, or as change orders come in.

You might could successfully argue the potential "fall hazard", or egress component to a builder, but you can't site code on it. It definitely NEEDS to be addressed by the adopting committees, but until then "you" will have to be the lobbyist with the builder or contractor for it.

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