Handrail extensions: Ramps versus Stairs

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    Bianca Beadling

    Following!  I'm confused by this too.  The IBC says the handrail on a stair must extend 12" min. beyond the top riser, but it only says "continue the slope to the depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser".  It doesn't mention any extension beyond that, so I don't think the extra 12" extension at the bottom of the stair is necessary... but I'm not positive. 

    I think you're right about the ramp.

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    David Kaplan

    I can answer this.  Ramps - 12" at the top and bottom is correct as you've stated it.

    The IBC Code used to have a provision where at the bottom of stairs, you'd have to continue the handrail past the bottom tread for a distance of one tread depth AND an extra 12" past that.  No longer.  They got rid of the extra 12" rule.  It is now JUST the distance of one tread depth and that's it.  Top of stair - 12" as you've stated.

    That's for sure it.  Code changed.  Any resources that still identify the extra 12" at the bottom are likely outdated or citing old versions of the code.  Your best bet is to go straight to the source - IBC - and just read what it says.  That will be what's on the test.

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    Carie Penabad

    Thank you David for the clarification and Bianca for weighing in!

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