I'm getting conflicting info from the architect and the contractor:
A new back door was installed. The backyard grade is 27" below the top of
the door threshold. The back door swing inward. Property is in San Jose
We plan to build a deck out the back door in the spring when we have a new
landscaping plan so we don't want to spend any more money than necessary on
the back steps at this time.
The architect says that we only need 2 steps. No handrail and no landing are
The contractor says we need a landing and handrails.
Who is right?
Your code inspector is the only opinion that matters. Code can
vary from local to local (and all too often from inspector to
I'd call the *specific* inspector charged with your projects
inspection and get his ruling on the matter. But be advised,
some (many) contractors HATE it when the lowly customer goes
"over their head" and gets information from the source.... been
there done that. Don't let that deter you... you're paying the
bills, just don't be suprised if your contractor suddenly turns
into a jerk when you don't just take his word for it.
Local codes vary. However, you can go to a library and look at the BOCA
National Building Code to find out what the national standard is. Look at
"Section 1014.0 Stairways". Most local jurisdictions adopt the national code
as a minimum.
The code says the following:
1) the maximum riser height shall be 7 inches (minimum 4 inches).
2) minimum tread depth shall be 11 inches.
3) minimum width is 36".
4) stairways with 3 or more risers require a handrail.
With the 27 inch height you describe, you will need at least 4 risers.
Handrails are much more complicated and require rails etc. to prevent a
child from slipping off the side of the steps, plus a maximum space between
the rails to prevent getting caught between the rails. There are also
standards for a continuous grab rail, etc.
So, whoever told you that you only need 2 steps is wrong.
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