Baluster Spacing Code Gray Area

Okay, pay attention and put your thinking caps on.

Would this lower guard rail be considered a guard rail, even though the stair landing isn't higher than 30 inches from the lower level?

These are the types of problems that architects, contractors and building department officials, can have problems interpreting. There's a good chance that it wouldn't create a safety problem, if this handrail wasn't even there. So how can we interpret this building code?

Here is how I would interpret the gray area of this building code.

It's part of the stairway, so therefore it's required to have a guard rail. The entire stairway itself is higher than 30 inches, so the lower stair landing wouldn't be a separate part of the stairway. Therefore the balusters would need to be spaced, according to the local building codes in your area.

Obviously this situation could be debated with your local building department, but would it be worth it in the long run.

Attention: Don't forget to check with your local building department to verify any building codes on this website. This information could be incorrect or outdated. Building codes are updated regularly and to some building departments have different interpretations for certain building codes.

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