I have a situation in my remodeling project where the floor elevation
needs to change about 8 inches. My question is this: at what point
does a single step from one platform to another (in other words you
are stepping up or down onto a large area, not a "step") become
awkward, uncomfortable, unsafe, out of code etc. I imagine that it is
somewhere between 7.5 and 9 inches, but I'm not sure.
Thanks in advance for your input.
Even without my code books home to confirm, I doubt the stair code has
changed from the last '01 U.B.C version to the newest '03 I.B.C.
To absolutely check the latest you'd check the '03 I.B.C -
"International Building Code", since BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI recently
joined forces to form the International Code Council and has produced
the "I-Codes". ICBO being the former code model group who formerly
provided the U.B.C. - Uniform Building Code
<< I imagine that it is
somewhere between 7.5 and 9 inches, but I'm not sure. >>
Old time carpenters always used the 7-11 rule, 7" rise and 11" run (and door
hinges 7" from the top and 11" from the bottom).
Theater set builders tend to use these dimensions as well so that performers
don't have awkward moments on stage.
Interesting to note that modern sports stadium builders don't often follow this
practice and getting to and from your seat at some events can be a bit scary
for the very young and old. HTH
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends 7" maximum rise with
11" minimum tread. Of course local codes will govern. Values outside this may
be classified as stair ladders which can exceed the recommended values for a
A single step probably falls under a separate category not governed by stair
design. I would be guided by local building codes. Why not create a shallow
ramp in front of the rise to get the rise into the stair range. If it is
feathered in it would be hard to spot. Or just make it a two step affair.
Stadium design often (usually) violates these recommendations because of the
incompatible requirements of shoehorning as many people as possible in a very
steep configuration. (either the tread must be too narrow or the rise must be
too high or both.
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