Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do my front steps need a handrail?


I have a set of stairs on the front of my porch, they are 3 feet off the ground, do the steps require a handrail?


The simple answer is yes they do need a hand rail.

Once you get above 24 inches off the ground your stairs require a hand rail by the building code. Hand rails are not that hard to build if you know how to do them. If you don’t feel comfortable building them then you should hire a professional to build and install them for you.

The building of a hand rail properly is not that hard of a thing, the hardest part is actually the anchoring of the posts at each end to make the hand rail secure. You want to be able to anchor the posts in such a way that there is no way someone will break the hand rail if they were to fall on it.

The way you should think about it is that the hand rail isn’t for you it’s for all the potential people that could walk up to your front door. Think of the different sizes and shapes of people, and also of all the different levels of mobility and fitness that potentially could end up using that hand rail. That hand rail is the first line of defense in saving people from slips and falls coming and going down your front steps, especially in the winters snow and ice and the summer rains. There is now a whole legal specialty business that does nothing but sue on behave of people who hurt themselves slipping and falling on people’s front steps and usually it is because they didn’t have a proper handrail to protect them.

With the aging population in North America I would recommend putting a handrail on your front steps even if it was less than 24 inches off the ground just for the safety and security of knowing that you have done everything possible to help protect people from hurting themselves on your property.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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