A Serious Question About Building Codes And Safety

Page 2 of 2  


Amen to that...BTDT. :(
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jan 16, 1:06 pm, The Daring Dufas <the-daring-du...@stinky- finger.net> wrote:

In the UK doors must open on to a landing, not directly on to stairs. Also long uninterupted stairs are not allowed, there has to be landings at intervals.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
finger.net says...

This sort of thing would be covered in a senior housing safety checklist like the following... http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/FCS-461.pdf
Or safety requirements for a child care facility. (Additional design considerations for housing for seniors, small children, developmentally disabled, etc.)
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 16 Jan 2013 07:06:53 -0600, The Daring Dufas

My sister's house has a basement with a door that opens out. Even with that bit of safety I think having the stairs start immediately at the top, just beyond the door, is asking for trouble since at some point it seems like someone is going to mistake the basement door for a bedroom door and in the dark/dim light open it and just "walk in". Seems like putting a couple feet of landing,on the "other side" of the door, at the top of these stairs would make them a lot safer.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

95%+ of residential basement stairs I've seen don't have any landing at the top. And it must not be much of a problem, because the cases of someone doing what you suggest seem to be rare. It would have to be dark not only in the stairwell, but also in the area inside the house by the door. And it would seem that if that is the case, then with your example of someone walking around in pitch black, thinking they are entering a room, wouldn't they then just walk off the 3 foot landing anyway?
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

As far as walking off of the landing, in many cases the landing is a step down from room above, and often at a right angle to the stairs. At least that's the way it is in many of the house I've seen/lived in. Therefore, if I thought I was walking into a room, that first step down would hurt, but I don't think I'd fall down the stairs. Of course, I don't plan on proving myself right any time soon. ;-)
I find your 95%+ with no landing to be an interesting number. I'll have to keep an eye out on that. In my experience (or maybe just in my mind) I would say it is the exact opposite.
Very often, at least in my experience, there is an exterior door associated with the basement stairs, such as an entrance from the garage or from the side or back yard. Since there is usually a storm door associated with this entranceway, the entry door opens in over a landing. For example, at my house, if you come in from the garage you would cross the landing and step up into the kitchen or turn right and go down the basement steps. At my parent's and sister's houses, you would come in from the yard, cross the landing and go down the steps or turn right and step up into the kitchen.
I'll have to ask some of coworkers to see how many landings there are in our small group.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:30:21 AM UTC-5, DerbyDad03 wrote:
I have never seen a basement stair with a landing. I'm sure there are some out there but in my experience they are unusual. There is another hazard to basement stairs. As you walk down, often there is an overhang. When you are directly below it, there is usually 8 feet of clearance, but on the way it is much lower. I have to duck, and if I tripped I'd bash my head into it. My wife and children are shorter and at no risk. Unless carrying an object, and that has surprised them a couple of times.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

16 Jan 2013 07:06:53 -0600, The Daring Dufas > > >
tragic accident with some folks I know. The > > >elderly grandmother, 88 was at home with her granddaughter, the > > >granddaughter's three young children and the granddaughter's boyfriend. > > >The boyfriend had just spoken to grandma then went into the room with > > >his gal when they heard an awful sound. Grandma had fallen down the > > >basement stairs to the concrete floor below. The boyfriend ran down to > > >check on grandma but she was fatally injured. What happened was the > > >door to the basement stairs opened into the stairwell and the latch was > > >defective and failed to hold when grandma was walking down the hallway > > >holding onto the walls to steady herself. When she put her weight

>stairs. It seems to me that most basement doors I've seen open out and > > >not into the stairwell. I don't know if there is a home-building code > > >regarding this or not but anyone building a house should consider the > > >safety of a door which opens into a stairwell. O_o > > > >TDD > > > My sister's house has a basement with a door that opens out.  Even > > with that bit of safety I think having the stairs start immediately at > > the top, just beyond the door, is asking for trouble since at some > > point it seems like someone is going to mistake the basement door for > > a bedroom door and in the dark/dim light open it and just "walk in". > > Seems like putting a couple feet of landing,on the "other side" of the > > door, at the top of these stairs would make them a lot safer.- Hide quoted text - > > > - Show quoted text - > > 95%+ of residential basement stairs I've seen don't have any > landing

someone doing what you suggest seem > to be rare. It would have to be dark not only in the stairwell, but > also in the area inside the house by the door.  And it would > seem that if that is the case, then with your example of someone > walking around in pitch black, thinking they are entering a room, > wouldn't they then just walk off the 3 foot landing anyway?- Hide quoted text - > > - Show quoted text - As far as walking off of the landing, in many cases the landing is a step down from room above, and often at a right angle to the stairs. At least that's the way it is in many of the house I've seen/lived in. Therefore, if I thought I was walking into a room, that first step down would hurt, but I don't think I'd fall down the stairs. Of course, I don't plan on proving myself right any time soon. ;-) I find your 95%+ with no landing to be an interesting number.

an overhang. When you are directly below it, there is usually 8 feet of clearance, but on the way it is much lower. I have to duck, and if I tripped I'd bash my head into it. My wife and children are shorter and at no risk. Unless carrying an object, and that has surprised them a couple of times. Basement stair landings are not common but I have seen them in larger higher-end homes. The big problem is to get the required run on the stairs, the addition of a 3 foot landing makes the stairs not fit across the end of half the basement, and with center bearing walls, having more than half the basement width available for the stairs is not easily accomplished. In larger "center stair" designs, the stairs can go down parallel to the bearing wall/center beam, lengthwise instead of across the house. Still takes up a lot od space, but in a 4000 or 6000 sq ft house it is not an issue.
In smaller homes, I have seen a fair number of "landings" in stairways as well, but they are half way down, to allow the stairs to make a 90 degree turn to fit them in less than 10 feet of space.
In my house there is no basement door, as the full base,ment is finished living space. The original setup was an in-opening door, with the open doorinterfering with the also in-opening garage door ( the basement door covered the latch side of the garage door when open)
When the kids were small we had a strong gate across the door opening to prevent them falling down the (carpetted) basement stairs.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have an "overhang" above the stairs but I'm short so there's never an issue.
The bottom of the floor joists are pretty low in my basement and some of the large rectangular ductwork runs perpendicular (therefore below) the joists. When I first moved in, it took me a little while to learn to not duck as I walked under the ductwork. I clear it by about a inch, which isn't much for the brain to judge. My brain kept telling me to duck until I finally walked very slow underneath it and convinced myself that I wouldn't hit it. Even after that, it took a conscious effort not to duck until I retrained my brain. It was like standing on those glass observation floors 100 stories up. Part of your brain knows it's safe but you have to fight through your survival instincts.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clipped

I can get nauseated just looking at photos of that stuff...my fear of heights developed somewhere in middle age :o) Only time since that I climbed higher than the second rung on a ladder was to paint the huge address sign on the end of our two-story condo building....hubby was building manager and I wasn't about to go through the hell of him slopping green paint on a freshly painted white wall...condo boards are unforgiving. No longer a problem :o)
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I just asked 4 coworkers about their basement stair configuration:
#1 - Three year old house - No door, 4 steps right off of the hallway to a landing, turn to continue down. You could fall through the open doorway and down to the landing.
#2 - Older house, remodeled to expand the kitchen. Originally the door opened over steps, two steps down, landing, turn to continue down. After remodel, door opens over steps, no landing, straight down to basement (doorway and steps were moved.) You could lean on the door, fall through and down to the basement.
#3 - Age of house unknown, door opens into hallway, no landing, stairs go straight down. The door would have to be left open for someone to fall down.
#4 - Five year old house, door opens into kitchen, no landing, stairs go straight down. The door would have to be left open for someone to fall down.
So, based on this small sample size, and the configuration of the houses I am most familiar with (my family's) it's about 80% "landing or door would prevent falling all the way into the basement", 20% "ow, ouch, eeeeeeiiiii, splat".
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, those are exactly the arrangements that I have seen where there is a landing too. But around here, they are confined to old homes. A friend for example has a house like that, but it's 100 years old. My grandparents had a house they rented out that was about that age too. Both of those, the back entrance was as you describe. Around here there are so many new houses and I've never seen that arrangement in those. If you live in an area with a more substantial ratio of old houses, then I agree they could be more common.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Another item to add to the discussion is the angle of the steps.
When we were house hunting, my first stop was usually the basement since you can learn so, so much about a house from down there.
In many cases, I could tell if the house stood a chance with my wife just by going down the basement stairs. If they were too steep (like before current codes) I knew my wife would balk. Her fear of heights is so strong that steep steps are a real issue.
There were some houses where I would go down the steep stairs and then turn around to what it would take to "un-steep" them in case we liked everything else about the house.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 17 Jan 2013 07:59:30 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

must be a landing between the door opening and top of the stairaw when the door opens over the stairway. Lots of other interesting stuff about stairways and building code at: http://www.allwoodstairs.com/BC001.pdf
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/17/2013 8:07 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I know a few folks who peed in a closet when they were drunk thinking it was the bathroom. ^_^
TDD
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 17 Jan 2013 09:10:20 -0600, The Daring Dufas

twice. - stone sober and fast asleep.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 17 Jan 2013 06:07:43 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I agree that 90% of residential basement stairs have no landing, including mine[*]. A landing would cost valuable first-floor space so isn't done. However, even a small landing would be beneficial so one could clear the doorway before grabbing the rail. As it is, one really has to lean forward to reach the rail or step down before grabbing the rail.
[*] mine is worse, with a 90degree (two 45s) turn two steps down. I hate angled steps. It's right below the second floor stairs, so the same cut stairs are on both. Fortunately, I'm really the only one who uses either.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jan 16, 8:06 am, The Daring Dufas <the-daring-du...@stinky- finger.net> wrote:

I'm sure older homes are grandfathered in, but I found this:
http://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stair_Landings.htm
"International Building Code 2000 (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI) 1003.3.3.4 Stairway landings. There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway."
then:
"An interior door at the top of a flight of stairs need not have a landing at the top of the stairs, provided the door swings away from the stairs."
It doesn't say it, but that exception might also apply to stairways with no door. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a friend that had a house built less than 3 years ago. The stairs to his basement are accessed via an opening off of a hallway. The opening has no door. There's 4 steps down and then a landing, but none at the top.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.