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Open stair risers
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Re: Open stair risers By  Vmack

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 2:21:00 PM

Since the OP mentioned that closed risers were even a part of the thought process, I "assumed" that this was a scenario where they would be required.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  peach!!

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 2:43:00 PM

I can right off the top of my head think of a scenario where closed risers and treads increase the risk to the stair user... it''s called snow.

Both IRC and IBC allow open risers that prevent passage of a 4" sphere (unless it''s an enclosed stairway.. IBC 1007.3).. enclosed would tell me.. free from the elements.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  mtlogcabin

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 3:14:00 PM

Exceptions:
1. Unenclosed exit stairways as permitted by Section 1020.1 are permitted to be considered part of an accessible means of egress.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  genebko

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 3:19:00 PM

pssst!

The OP is about the size of the opening in the riser. To paraphrase: How big does a hole have to be before it''s no longer considered a closed riser?


   

Re: Open stair risers By  mtlogcabin

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 3:47:00 PM

The term is solid riser. A solid riser would have no openings. This only applies to accessible egress stairs either enclosed or unenclosed. As pointed out above more info is needed to give a specific answer to the OP and it would have to be based on the CA adopted code.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  laarchitect

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 3:51:00 PM

Thanks for all the responses so far. Being new to the site, I appreciate your help. I''ve been out on the project site and am just able to respond to the discussion.

genebko is right, I''m trying to find out exactly how open (how big of a gap) you can have it and still not be considered "open".

As for details, the project is in LA and under the 2002 LABC (La''s amended version of the CBC). Sec. 1133 B.4.5.2 doesn''t specifically state that a "closed" riser is required, but that "open" risers are not allowed (semantics- but perhaps it''s easier to say something isn''t open vs. it''s closed?).

It''s a commercial assembly building. This particular stair is an exterior "grand" stair that is exposed on all sides and open underneath. It''s located in our front courtyard and goes to the roof. Although it is technically an exit stair, it is 1 of 5 stairs exiting a 3rd floor roof assembly deck and the only stair exiting a small 2nd floor retail space (less than 10 occupants). Both the roof and 2nd floor space have elevator access as well.

It''s a modern zinc metal panel-glass curtain wall-stainless steel/steel cable guard rail design. The metal grating fits in with it and we want it to look like the stair is floating, hence the grating on the risers to look through. It''s past the plan check process and we''re 1-1/2 months from opening the building, so we''re trying to get either something to argue against it being an "open riser" or some good arguments for a modification since we don''t have time to rebuild anything.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  Yikes

Posts: 0

6/16/2009 6:49:00 PM

laarchitect -
I have sent you a private message with specific names of people to contact at LADBS regarding this.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  Builder bob

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 6:40:00 AM

IF you are using ICC/ANSI A117.1 - section 504.3 is specific- 504.3 Open Risers. Open risers shall not be permitted.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  maniac

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 10:23:00 AM

Anywhere in California, the location of the original posting:
If the stair is an [b]Exit stairway or commercial stairway[/b] the riser shall be solid.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  genebko

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 10:41:00 AM

In California the interpretation of Section 1133 B.4.5.2 is up to the local official; in this case the city of LA. Neither the Office of the State Architect nor any of the adopting commissions will provide any interpretation assistance - and in many cases they don''t even know the answer because the express terms containing the initial rationale for the text are not collected anywhere for easy access.

I maintain my original opinion based on the what is being intended for a "closed" riser. The word "closed" does not say "solid." The intent is that a foot will not be caught on the riser while in either ascent or descent of the stairway. This can be accomplished without a "solid" surface but with a surface that closes the otherwise-permitted 4 inch opening. A number of panels with small perforations will provide decorative and possibly functional purposes while making sure that the riser does not become a hazard to movement on the stair.

Treads must be "solid" - without openings. That is clear in the code. Since the language is different and the intent/function is different, I maintain that perforations are allowed.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  maniac

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 1:16:00 PM

perforations are openings.


Merriam-Webster
perforation
a hole or pattern made by or as if by piercing or boring


Not solid


   

Re: Open stair risers By  genebko

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 1:26:00 PM

. . "solid" isn''t the term used - its "closed."

And perforations are a lot smaller than the allowed 4 inch opening for other stairs. All I''m mentioning is what the intent is based on my conversations with the disabled community and a number of its advocates. If the AHJ wants to interpret it as perfectly smooth without openings of any size that''s their decision and fully supported by the code.

LAarchitect, why not use laminated or plate glass risers? They "look" open but meet the definition - although they do nothing to address the vertigo concern used as the argument for being solid.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  maniac

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 1:30:00 PM

CBC 1133B.4.5.3 Open risers are not permitted
Exceptions:
1. In existing buildings, when the enforcing
agency determines that compliance with any requirement
under this section would create an
unreasonable hardship, an exception to persons
with disabilities requirements may be
granted when equivalent facilitation is provided.
2. These regulations shall not apply to existing
buildings when legal or physical constraints
will not allow compliance with these regulations
or equivalentfacUitation without creating
an unreasonable hardship. See Section 109.1.5.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  Yikes

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 2:01:00 PM

genebko - I appreciate your rationale, and think there may be some merit in the notion that a "closed" riser may still have some perforations. I believe the intent (I don''t remember where I heard this from) was to prevent toes and feet from wedging in the opening, causing a trip hazard as someone ascends the stairs. I personally have done this stupid manuever. Perhaps small perforations would still meet this intent.

On the other hand, if a 4" openness is considered acceptable, then an open riser stair with 2" thick prefab concrete treads and 6" risers would be "in compliance". Somehow that just doesn''t feel like it would meet my understanding of the code intent.


   

Re: Open stair risers By  genebko

Posts: 0

6/17/2009 2:13:00 PM

Thanks for weighing in, Yikes.
I would agree that a 2 inch opening is too big - that''s why I suggested nothing larger than 1/2 inch.


   

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