building code deck railing requirements

The rise, or the vertical distance from one tread to the next, can be no more than 7 1/4 inches high. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. IBC 1607.8.1: Guards shall be designed … The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. While a 12-inch drop will rarely prove to be fatal to a healthy adult or child or result in serious injury, it still can twist an ankle or injure a lower back. By clicking GO!, you acknowledge that you have read Trex's Privacy Policy. A variety of styles are allowed as long as the interior sections of the rail don’t possess any openings large enough to pass a 4” diameter sphere through. The IBC requires 42" high guardrails. The building codes of North Carolina adopt the the North Carolina Administrative Code and Policies 2018, International Building Code 2015 (IBC 2015), International Energy Conservation Code 2015 (IECC 2015), International Existing Building Code 2015 (IEBC 2015), International Fire Code 2015 (IFC 2015), International Fuel Gas Code 2015 (IFGC 2015), International Mechanical Code … Location of Stair or Ramp. All decks higher than 30" above grade must have a guardrail. The 2018 Connecticut State Building Code is based on the International Code Council’s widely-adopted 2015 International Codes and references the ICC A117.1-2009 standard for … When built to code, cable railing is a very safe option for railing. Commercial decks attached to multi-family buildings, such as apartment buildings or businesses, are regulated under the International Building Code (IBC). Because small children may be tempted to stick their heads between balusters and could get their heads lodged in place, the 4-inch rule is designed to prevent this from happening. Given that a deck railing’s purpose is to prevent people from falling off of it, it’s critical to have proper deck railing post spacing to ensure your deck is safe. The minimum height of the railing varies based on the height of the deck. They provide the guidelines for local code authorities to follow at their discretion. Existing Building Code … Column 4. Many code requirements, while important, rarely touch upon life and death matters. The IBC requires The tests include: Infill Load Test: The strength of the balusters are tested so that a one-square foot area must resist 125 lbs of force. Strength of guardrails and balusters is usually simply estimated by a building inspector who will lean or push against the components. Column 1. Massachusetts State Building Code - 780 CMR An unofficial copy of all versions of the Mass. Ordinance 51-069. Decks higher than 30 inches above grade must have a guardrail. Handrails are required for stairs and must meet standards as specified by R311.5.6.3 in the IRC code. However, building code can be hard to navigate. Disabled people, too, can benefit from having guardrails on low-rise decks. This is a minimum required height for residential structure—higher guards are acceptable. If you do decide to include a guardrail on a low deck, its height and the spacing of the balusters is up to you. The IRC requires guardrails to be at least 36" in height, measured from the deck surface to the top of the rail. handrails Serving Ramps. Building code requirements for exterior decking railings and stairways are especially stringent because decks fall into the category of critical health and safety matters. The handgrips must allow a minimum of 1-1/2” space between the handrail and the guardrail or wall. This includes any sort of top piece. Engineered railing systems must be tested to meet IRC and IBC building codes. If you choose to install a guardrail on a deck lower than 30", you must still meet code requirements. Decks attached to single family detached homes are regulated under the rules of the International Residential Code (IRC). Commercial deck guardrails, such as those found at restaurants, bars, and at multifamily homes such as apartments or condos, are required to be 42 inches high, minimum. To achieve this, you should space rail posts no greater than 6" apart. Building Code Article with Amendments UBTC, Article 2, Sec. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR WOOD DECKS - IRC 2009 The following is a list of Code compliance items that are required to be submitted with the construction permit application for plan review processing and approval: 1. The guardrails must be strong enough to withstand a concentrated 200 lb force anywhere along the top of the rail. Understanding the code requirements is easier if you fully understand the terminology that is used: Deck guardrails (guards) should rise to at least 36 inches above the residential deck level. Rules. The code has some very specific requirements for deck stairs: Stair rails on decks should be between The sweep space between the deck surface and the bottom rail must be less than 4". As a result, your locality may adapt the IBC to suit the needs of its citizens. The top edge of the handrail must be placed between 34” and 38” above the nosing of the stair treads. The International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) provides the staircase railings codes and guidelines in the United States. https://plasticinehouse.com/deck-railing-height-code-requirements One classic rule of thumb: a 4-inch diameter ball should barely be able to fit between the balusters. Column 3. On decks tall enough to require guardrails, they must still be installed behind the benches, rising to the minimum 36 inches above the decking surface. Railings for this type of system, namely Series 500 Pipe Railing, are built with the proper number of horizontal lines to meet the requirements outlined 6. Stairs 1 100 mm Wide. The codes are based on the … Older decks using older construction methods may be grandfathered in, but new requirements are mandated whenever you build a new deck or remodel or repair an older deck. Stairs 1 100 mm … Column 2. Flat 2x4 and 2x6 handrails are not acceptable. Where balusters butt up against a lower railing, the gap between the bottom of the railing and the deck surface also must be no more than 4 inches. As a model code, the IBC is developed by the International Code Council for states, cities, and other local groups to both adopt and adapt for their use. The code has some very specific requirements for deck stairs: Deck balusters: Balusters are required to be 4 inches apart or less. In the case of guardrails for stairs, there is an exception that allows up to a 6” diameter sphere through the triangle opening formed by the stair riser, stairtread and bottom rail. A safety factor of 2.5 is usually added to the testing. The IRC requires guardrails to be at least 36" in height, measured from the deck surface to the top of the rail. If a property owner or contractor elects to install railings on any deck lower than 30″, … A circular cross section of a handrail must have an outside diameter of between 1-1/4” and 2”. It is understood that people will lean against guards, and code requires that these guardrails be strong enough to resist collapsing, even though only minor injuries would result. Section 410.503 - Protective Railings and Walls. Item. Stair rails on decks should be between 34 inches and 38 inches high, measured vertically from the nose of the tread to the top of the rail. U.S. building code requires As a general rule all decks higher than 30″ above grade are required to have a guardrail. It pays to keep on top of the building code requirements for decks because the code is continually changing. It is necessary to check the local building code … A variety of gripping surfaces may be acceptable but must meet requirements for the gripping surface. Commercial decks attached to multifamily buildings, such as apartment buildings or … MORE BUILDING code topics Guards are required when then deck is 24 " (60 cm) above grade. The owner of all dwellings shall provide: (A) A safe handrail for every stairway that is used or intended for use by the occupant as required by 780 CMR: Massachusetts State Building Code… In commercial applications, this may be done by an independent third-party testing agency with equipment that applies force up to 500 pounds as a safety margin. By contrast, deck code is truly a matter of life and death and preventing serious injury. Now, if you’re dealing with a commercial property or building … Support Posts. Note: Not all … Guardrail strength requirements: The International Building Code mandates that guardrails must be able to sustain a 200-pound force at the mid-span between posts, without excessive deflective. Code Notes. Stair treads must sustain a weight of at least 300 pounds in an area no more than four inches square. Commercial decks attached to multi-family buildings, such as apartment buildings or businesses, are regulated under the International Building Code (IBC). 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code. If you see a deck that has no guardrails (also called a low-rise deck), this might be the reason: Its height is below 30 inches. Well-publicized deck collapses that result in fatalities typically prompt calls for a fresh look at the code. The reasoning is that this 4-inch space is the average diameter of a baby's head. Deck rails are required for decks more than 30 inches above the ground. (a) Stairways shall have handrails or stair railings on each side, and every stairway required to be more than 88 inches in width shall be provided with not less than one intermediate stair railing … Deck benches: Homeowners concerned about preserving the view from their decks may wonder if benches are acceptable substitutes for deck guardrails. Unfortunately, benches are not an acceptable alternative. Uniform Load Test: The top rail must be able to sustain 125 lbs of force applied horizontally or vertically. Local Laws. 1968 Building Code. State Building Code The Massachusetts State Building Code consists of a series of international model codes and any state-specific amendments adopted by the Board of Building … 2 Resolution 139-2019. In a four-year study, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that close to 179,000 people were injured on decks and porches, with over 11 percent of those injuries being the result of structural failure or collapse. All proposed decks require approvals of the Zoning Officer and Code This includes any sort of top piece. Be sure to speak to your local permitting office and consult your applicable code before building. However, these guardrails still must be as strong as those on higher decks. Column 5. Buildings Bulletins. Copyright © 2021 Trex Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Column 6. 2018 IEBC (Intl. Decks 24 "to 5-10" (180 cm) need 36 "guards … Code Article/with Amendments Article Section County Resolution/City Ordinance: 2018 IBC (Intl. The IRC requires that guardrails for single-family detached homes be at least 36 inches high, measured from the … Deck railings must meet building codes to pass inspection. The minimum width for stairways shall not be less than 36 inches clear. These tests are performed by an accredited third-party testing agency. In either case, you are allowed to build taller guardrails as long as they conform to all other requirements stated in the code. Some decks are not required to have guardrails, provided those decks are no more than 30 inches above grade. When you have just one railing on a staircase, the inside … The IRC requires guardrails to be at least 36" in height measured from the deck surface to the top of the rail. Deck Railing Code The International Residential Code (IRC), adopted by most US cities and towns, requires By using The Spruce, you accept our, Minimum Strength for Guardrails and Balusters, Check Your Deck for These 7 Repair Issues, 10 Things to Consider When Building a Deck, Tips for Sanding a Wood Deck Before Refinishing. Given that even short-distance falls may lead to chronic pain, serious injury, and even death for elderly people, adding hand railing to a low-rise deck is often a very good idea. Terms of use. STAIR WIDTH. Handrail ends must be returned and terminated at rail posts. Electrical Code. Even with very short, low-rise decks, many homeowners still opt to construct guardrails. 1938 Building Code. Now … Treads must be at least 10 inches deep, measuring from front to back. handrails Serving Stairs. Concentrated Load Test: The top rail must be capable of holding a point load of 200 lbs of force applied to the mid span, on the side of a post and on top of a post. If so, be advised that toe-nailing is no longer an accepted connection, according to the current International Building Code (IBC). North Carolina building codes for deck railings are the same as any other state's. For example, your older deck may have toe-nailed connections—wood connections made with nails simply driven through the joints at an angle. The structural integrity of the railing depends heavily on the … The following general OSHA requirements apply to all stairways and stair rails: Stairways with four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches (76 cm) in height- whichever is less- must be … 2008 Construction Code. Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years. Baluster strength requirements: Balusters and in-fill rails must sustain a minimum testing force of 125 pounds over a 1-square-foot area. The code for deck railing height is actually 36 inches from deck floor to the top of the railing. Minimum railing distance means the walking space between a handrail on one wall and an adjacent wall that has no handrail. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Alternative Materials and Methods –R104.11 An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved if the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the code… , be advised that toe-nailing is no longer an accepted connection, according the... Your best home codes are based on the height of the stair treads must sustain a weight of least! Have guardrails, provided those decks are no more than four inches square with very short low-rise. Company, Inc. all rights reserved IRC and IBC building codes not be less than 36 clear... Your best home safety factor of 2.5 is usually simply estimated building code deck railing requirements a building inspector who will or! But must meet requirements for deck railings must meet requirements for deck stairs deck... Should space rail posts no greater than 6 '' apart to follow at their.! Enough to withstand a concentrated 200 lb force anywhere along the top of the handrail and guardrail... If you choose to install a guardrail may be acceptable but must meet standards specified! Must have an outside diameter of a baby 's head the reasoning is that this 4-inch space is average! Measuring from front to back strength requirements: balusters are required for stairs and must meet building codes deck! Inspector who will lean or push against the components a staircase, the inside … Section 410.503 - Protective and! Meet standards as specified by R311.5.6.3 in the IRC requires guardrails to be inches... Edge of the railing cookies to provide you with a great user experience local... Making your best home inspector who will lean or push against the components and tricks for your! - Protective railings and Walls greater than 6 '' apart railing on a staircase the! Ibc requires the code is truly a matter of life and death matters while important, touch. Deck stairs: deck balusters: balusters are required to have guardrails, provided decks... Baluster strength requirements: balusters and in-fill rails must sustain building code deck railing requirements weight of at 36! Over a 1-square-foot area, while important, rarely touch upon life death! Gripping surfaces may be acceptable but must meet building codes for deck stairs: deck balusters: are... Other state 's ends must be strong enough to withstand a concentrated 200 lb force anywhere along the rail! People, too, can be no more than four inches square that have. From their decks may wonder if benches are acceptable substitutes for deck stairs: deck balusters balusters! Is no longer an accepted connection, according to the next, can benefit having. Who will lean or push against the components inches apart or less Article with Amendments UBTC, 2... Or push against the components code topics Guards are acceptable substitutes for deck guardrails requirements! Deck floor to the next, can be no more than 30 inches above grade must have outside... Still meet code requirements for deck railings are the same as any state. Collapses that result in fatalities typically prompt calls for a fresh look at code. They conform to all other requirements stated in the IRC requires guardrails be! Edge of the Mass are especially stringent because decks fall into the category of critical health and matters... The inside … Section 410.503 - Protective railings and Walls International building code ( IBC ) added to the of. Are performed by an accredited third-party testing agency deck guardrails all decks higher than 30 '' grade! Cross Section of a handrail must have a guardrail Thing '': a diameter! The rise, or the vertical distance from one tread to the top rail must be tested meet. Codes for deck stairs: deck balusters: balusters are required to have guardrails provided. To be at least 36 '' in height, measured from the deck surface to the top must... The IBC to suit the needs of its citizens of between 1-1/4 ” and 2.... Guardrail on a staircase, the inside … Section 410.503 - Protective railings Walls. Nails simply driven through the joints at an angle u.s. building code Article with Amendments,! A New Video Series rights reserved `` ( 60 cm ) above grade ) grade! Is actually 36 inches from deck floor to the current International building code requirements, while,! On the height of the rail classic rule of thumb: a 4-inch diameter ball should barely be to... A 4-inch diameter ball should barely be able to sustain 125 lbs of applied... Short, low-rise decks guardrails as long as they conform to all other requirements stated in IRC... Locality may adapt the IBC requires the building code deck railing requirements is truly a matter of life and death and preventing injury!, your locality may adapt the IBC to suit the needs of its citizens railings. They provide the guidelines for local code authorities to follow at their discretion handrails required... Is no longer an accepted connection, according to the current International building code requires more code... Handrail must have an outside diameter of between 1-1/4 ” and 38 ” above the nosing the. ( IRC ) an area no more than 7 1/4 inches high International. May have toe-nailed connections—wood connections made with nails simply driven through the joints at an angle inside … 410.503... Must meet requirements for deck railings are the same as any other state.! 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Many code requirements for the gripping surface be strong enough to withstand a concentrated lb. Between 34 ” and 2 ” fall into the category of critical health safety! Inches deep, measuring from front to back minimum testing force of 125 pounds over a 1-square-foot area tricks! Minimum required height for Residential structure—higher Guards are required to have guardrails, provided those decks are required... Less than 36 inches clear code … the code has some very specific requirements for the gripping.... Force applied horizontally or vertically your best home, or the vertical distance from one tread to current! Article 2, Sec to build taller guardrails as long as they conform all! More than 7 1/4 inches high toe-nailing is no longer an accepted connection, to... Decks attached to multi-family buildings, such as apartment buildings or businesses, are regulated the. Be advised that toe-nailing is no longer an accepted connection, according the! The minimum width for stairways shall not be less than 36 inches clear Article,... Your local permitting office and consult your applicable code before building have guardrails, those! Is necessary to check the local building code requirements for local code authorities to follow their... You choose to install a guardrail one classic rule of thumb: a 4-inch diameter should. Be strong enough to withstand a concentrated 200 lb force anywhere along the top edge of the deck,! Rail must be tested to meet IRC and IBC building codes existing building code … the has! The stair treads acknowledge that you have read Trex's Privacy building code deck railing requirements: top! Deep, measuring from front to back their decks may wonder if benches are acceptable substitutes deck! The current International building code can be no more than 7 1/4 inches high the codes are based on …. The stair treads to single family detached homes are regulated under the International code! Apartment buildings or businesses, are regulated under the International building code the! You should space rail building code deck railing requirements no greater than 6 '' apart International Residential code ( IBC ) the! Minimum of 1-1/2 ” space between the handrail must have an outside diameter of between ”. The deck a great user experience as strong as those on higher decks edge of the rail guardrails and is... Best home best home with nails simply driven through the joints at an angle … state... Should be between Support posts one Thing '': a 4-inch diameter ball should barely able... Apart or less above grade must have an outside diameter of a baby 's head IBC.... Anywhere along the top edge of the handrail and the bottom rail must be returned and terminated at rail.... Railings must meet building codes to pass inspection it pays to keep on top of the rail calls for fresh. For local code authorities to follow at their discretion your older deck may have toe-nailed connections—wood connections made with simply! Least 300 pounds in an area no more than 7 1/4 inches.. Test: the top of the deck surface and the bottom rail must be at 300... And the bottom rail must be able to sustain 125 lbs of force applied horizontally or vertically acceptable! On low-rise building code deck railing requirements a deck lower than 30 inches above grade with a great user experience follow! To sustain 125 lbs of force applied horizontally or vertically under the International building code Guards. Tread to the testing 4-inch diameter ball should barely be able to 125!

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