A staircase is said to be cost-effective since it allows for simple access to various levels of the property, maximizes floor space, and adds aesthetic appeal. Staircases, as opposed to elevators, escalators, and lifts, are thought to be more cost-effective to install and maintain.
Installing a staircase, however, entails more than just choosing the proper design, material, and finishes; you must also ensure that your staircase is code-compliant. Installing a staircase in your home without following local standards and regulations might lead to serious injury and possibly legal ramifications. Here’s how to find out if your prefabricated metal steps are up to code:
- Rust Resistant
Your stairwell should be strong enough to handle the weight of those who use it. People will transfer their weight to the stairs as soon as they tread on them; a stairwell composed of flimsy materials will almost certainly result in major accidents.
Check for any evidence of rust, especially in the areas where welds meet, to see if your staircase is code-compliant. Rust weakens all metals by reducing their mass, which means they can no longer withstand the same weight they once could.
There are a number of techniques to keep your staircase from rusting. For one thing, you can have your railing galvanized to protect the metal from rusting over time. Powder coating can also help by providing a protective layer to the metal’s whole surface.
- It Complies with the Required Width Measurements
It’s inconvenient and dangerous to climb up and down a stairwell that’s too narrow. If your stairs are too narrow to transport bulky boxes to another floor, what options do you have? What if you run into someone in the middle of the stairwell?
If your staircase meets the stair width requirements set forth by your local building code, it is code-compliant. These dimensions are necessary to ensure that anyone utilizing the stairs remains safe, regardless of the objects they are carrying or if they come into contact with anyone on the steps.
3. Risers Meet Height Requirements
The height of your stair risers is critical to the staircase’s efficiency and the safety of anybody who uses it. Stair risers that are excessively short or long will make using the stairs difficult and increase your chance of slipping and falling. This is likely to happen when newcomers use your stairwell for the first time.
Check the height of the risers on your staircase to make sure it’s up to code. Place a measuring tape between the landing edges of neighboring treads to determine the height of your stair riser. Your stair riser should ideally be no more than seven inches tall.
The majority of people find seven-inch stair risers to be comfortable. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your staircase is in good working order and does not endanger the safety of anyone who uses it, including yourself.
- It Provides Plenty of Headroom
If you don’t have the correct headspace to work on, rushing up and down your stairs can lead to accidents and injuries. Stair head clearance is essential for preventing head and other forms of accidents, therefore be sure your staircase complies.
To be code-compliant, your staircase must satisfy the minimum head clearance for stairs, which is normally set at 80 inches. However, the local building code in your location may play a role. This means that any overhead obstruction from the ceiling should be at least 80 inches away from your stairwell. This dimension permits you to use the stairway without fear of bumping against anything or hurting your head on a protrusion.
- It has landings at both the top and bottom.
Staircases are designed to assist you get to different levels of a building, but they should also provide you with comfort and safety as you ascend. It can be extremely risky to reach another level of the property without any platforms to rest on.
Only a landing platform at the top and bottom of your staircase will be code-compliant. These places are necessary to provide you with a place to pause and change directions, particularly if your staircase connects multiple floors.
The breadth of your stairwell should be the same as the width of your landing platforms. If your stair treads are three meters wide, your landing platforms should be at least three meters wide as well. This will make your stairs safe as well as make the area attractive.
Because you’ll use your staircase at different times of the day, it’s crucial to have artificial lighting nearby. A badly illuminated staircase can lead to injury lawsuits in addition to accidents and injuries.
You won’t have any trouble lighting your staircase with the variety of lighting fixtures available nowadays. You can invest in wall, step, or handrail lighting fixtures depending on the size of your staircase and the design you want to accomplish. To save energy on lighting, you can also install motion-sensing stair lights or window curtains near your stairs.
If you don’t have any handrails on your staircase, it will simply produce disasters instead of providing convenience. Handrails are necessary in stairwells because they assist persons in balancing on steps and platforms, particularly those with mobility impairments.
A railing is required if your staircase has more than three steps. The height of your handrail should be at least 36 inches, with balusters no more than four inches between. It’s critical to have this gap between balusters to avoid any additional area where someone could fall.
Hire a Professional to Assist You
It is your job as a property owner to verify that your staircase is up to code. If you wind up paying for medical bills and repairs in the future, the time and money you invested installing one will be wasted.
Aside from using the information in this page to inspect your staircase, engage inspectors to determine whether it is code-compliant. Their experience, together with your efforts, will go a long way toward ensuring that your staircase is secure and practical.