Non-continuous stair rail?

How many of you write up a stair rail like the one in the photo? I see it in about 50% of all interior stair rails.

handrails for stairways shall be continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly above the lowest riser of the flight.” *Reference: 2003 International Residential Code R311.5.6 and R311.5.6.2

012407 047 (Small).jpg

I didn’t know that. Wouldn’t that be enforcing a code rather than a recommended repair needed on an inspection? I don’t know.

I put myself in the shoes of my 74 year old mother coming down that stair, groggy at 3:00 a.m., for a cookie. Maybe she didn’t turn the light on. At one point, she has to move her hand while descending (or ascending) and whoops!!!

I agree with you.

I would Joe, and you are right about the 50%. Even the new ones.

This link is actually to the point.

Was that hand rail within that 2 1/4" parameter?


Excellent posts…good points…I am going to look it up and I will definitely be paying closer attention to it from a safety point…Thanks

I see nothing wrong with the handrail in the picture. It may be offset a bit (at the wall attachment) but it is continuous.

I would rather see an offset handrail instead of no handrail.

David, how could you call that wall rail continuous??
I tend to agree with Joe, that when I am older and coming down the stairs, if I have to remove my hand from the rail, that is when my bad knee will let go.

Curious on your thoughts.

CONTINUOUS usually implies an uninterrupted flow or spatial extension
continuing indefinitely in time without interruption

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

When was the house built? We don’t quote codes but I understand the point.
I try not to be to picky. Make a suggestion that’s all.
I inspect houses that have no handrails at all.

I inspect brand new houses like that every week.

The AHJ in my county says “as long as they break over the tread and not the riser” that’s OK. Absurd. It’s either OK or it’s not.


Send them here, photo 23 on page 9:

Same here, but I do not call out handrails that are not continuous. How many Buyers do you think are going to upgrade the non-continuous handrail?


I’m done.

Perhaps the builders or sellers should do it.

Great illustrations. That settles any argument IMO.

Better hope nobody falls and sues your a$$. I heard about a little old lady that sued some company when she spilled coffee in her own lap while driving her own car… :smiley:

PLEASE Joe…let’s not get ridiculous here.

So your telling me that if a fragile old lady falls down her stairs and breaks her back due to me not writing up a non-compliant code related handrail, I’m going to get sued. Please WAKE UP.

I hope she has an attorney that can read my agreement that’s written in plain English.

**NACHI SOP 3.2. Exclusions:**I. The inspectors are not required to determine:

**H. The compliance with codes or regulations. **

Sorry I do not do code but I do safety .
I would write this up as a safety item .
If it is ignored do not blame me .
Example I also write up spindle gaps over4 inches as a
safety item and many others.

Roy Cooke

Well said Roy. Our responsibility is to observe and report. Our client can decide what is important to them and what is not. Much of what we report on has a “code” issue standing firmly behind our assessment. If that wasn’t the case we would be giving our opinion only.

I agree with David Valley.

I do not see a safety issue here. Sorry.

You claim that you perform a safety inspection. That is not your job. That is the job of the AJH. You shouldnt forget it.

Look at the SOP. We are there to report material defects. Of course we tend to report on every defect we see.

You all need to wake the hell up and STOP interptering Code requirements. You are NOT the AHJ. The AJH has the LEGAL authority and responsibility to make determinations of this type. Want to report it as a suggestion, fine. Do I personally believe this is a hazard. Nope. I see it almost every day in colonials with straight staircases.

If someone falls down a staircase because there is a slight gap between offset sections of handrails, then perhaps someone should ask if that person is capable of negotiating those stairs on their own.

New homes are built in this manner every day. The responsibility falls on the AHJ and installer. We are NOT the AHJ.

Observe and report.

BTW, the judgement to the woman who burned herself by putting hot coffee between her legs and driving her car was overturned on appeal.