J'comprends pas

What’s the difference between tread and run in Canada? I’m trying to read up on Alberta’s 2006 Code on stairs, and I’m missing the part that defines “tread” and “run.” In the US they’re the same. Can anyone in Alberta (or Canada) help me? I don’t understand.


Is it true that in Alberta, all interior flight of stairs have at least 3 steps? The way that I read Alberta Building Code 2006 Volume 2,, there’s a requirement of at least 3 risers in interior flights. You can’t have just a step or two?!?

Ben send me your email Roy Roycooke@sympatico.ca

By definition a Tread = the horizontal plane of the step (example the step is 10" deep)

Run = is the horizontal distance measured from riser to riser (example 10 treads 10 x 10" (depth noted from example above) = 100" of total run (9’-4") of run

Riser = refers to the vertical space or board under a tread

I think I get it. So if the minimum run is 210 mm, and the minimum tread depth is 235 mm, as required by the Alberta Building Code 2006 Volume 2… then the difference between the tread and the run of a stair is the part of the tread that hangs horizontally over the riser below (which is 25 mm max). In the US, that’s the nose. I’m I gettin’ it?

December 2007 - 10:01 NACHI.TV’s Paige Peters gives a ten minute overview of inspecting stairways, covering the handrail, width of the stairway, nose, guards, spheres, handgrips, above and below the stairs, landings, and illumination.



I think Ben’s actually working on making sure that episode complies with Canada laws too.



No sh**t. :slight_smile:

I produced it (laughing).

I’m trying to figure out Canada’s Code for Stairs now. (Paige did United States.)

Alberta’s Code for Stairs is superior to the IRC in many ways. For one… Alberta code of stairs includes the minimal depth, thickness, spacing, etc. for wooden stair stringers. It’s all outlined neatly in the Stairway section of the code. Where is that in the IRC? Why doesn’t the IRC have that kind of stuff in the stairway section of the code?

The more I read Alberta’s Building Code, the more I dislike IRC.

Oh I see.

I have a concern in National Building Code Continuous Handrail

  1. For stairs serving only one dwelling unit, at least one handrail shalll be continuous throughout the length of the sairway except where interrupted

d) at changes in direction

Meaning that the attached pic handrail would be acceptable…

IMG_1429 (300 x 400).jpg


That picture is awesome.

And it does not comply with A- Continuity of Handrails: “In the case of stairs within dwelling units that incorporate winders, the handrail should be configured so that it will in fact provide guidance and support to the stair user throughout the turn through the winder.”

A- Winders: “The Code permits only 30 and 40 degree angles at winder treads.” Those steps seem to have tight angles.

And the handrail is not continuous for the lower flight of stairs.


The National Building Code (NBC) (which is used in Québec) reads:

"***Continuous Handrail ***

1) Except as provided in Sentence (2),…

***2) For stairs serving only one dwelling unit, at least one handrail shall be continuous throughout the length of the stairway except where interrupted ***
d) at changes in direction."

To me, that handrail is unsafe but is code from where I’m standing unless J’comprends pas!


I don’t have that written on the doc that I’m reading. I’m reading Alberta Building Code 2006 Volume 2. “, except where interrupted by a) doorways, b) landings, or c) newel posts at changes in direction.” Got to have a post.


For The Record: Provinces in Canada follow the National Building Code (NBC) to which some improved as Alberta did.

In Québec we are behind in some area and ahead in others, nevertheless we are Canadian!

Marcel - any comment on what appears to be a winder at the landing of the stair?

Not all provinces follow the National Building Code. (Newfoundland) In those that do follow the NBC, they are allowed to modify the NBC to fit their own unique geographical concerns. One size does not fit all.

In other words, you can’t just use the Codes for one province and rely on them being uniform across the country.

Bill Mullen

That stair set does not meet code because of
“Where winders are incorporated into a stair, each set shall not turn through more than 90 degrees”
It appears that the set of winders turn through 180 degrees.



Claude has provided the correct answer to your question.

Here are some pictures of a proper staircase:p