Code Reminders: Stay Compliant This Spring Building Season

CodeReminders With spring finally here, it’s time to start projects and kick off a new season of building. As you do, remember IRC codes are updated each three years to ensure the safety of structures and the well-being of the people in and around them. Here are a few code reminders to help you make sure your projects pass code the first time around!

  • Handrails should be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flights with four or more risers.
  • Guardrails should be located along open-sided walking surfaces. This includes stairs, ramps, and landings located more than 30 inches (measured vertically) to the floor or at a grade below any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side. Insect screening does not qualify as a guard!

Exceptions: Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height not less than 34 inches (864 mm), measured vertically from a line connecting
the leading edges of the treads.

  • Required guardrails should not have openings from the walking surface to the required guard height that would allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter.
  • Handrails at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies,
    or landings, should not measure less than 34 inches in height and should not exceed 38 inches (as measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or the line connecting the leading edges of the treads).
  • Plastic composite deck boards, stair treads, guards, and handrails should be installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturer’s instructions.

> The walking surface of treads and landings of stairways should be sloped no steeper than one unit vertical in 48 inches horizontal (2% slope).