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Maryland Building Code - Handrail Clearance Question

tbz

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Ok Maryland uses both the IBC & 2015 NFPA 101 LSC,

The LSC requires the 2.25" handrail wall clearance, the IBC requires 1.5" clearance.

Since the LSC only covers the M.O.E. access areas, are the extra stair flights not within the designated M.O.E. required to still have the 2.25" clearance or are they fine to only meet the 1.5" clearance?
 

bill1952

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If you are on the stair, the rest of the stair is a required means of egress, so I'd say it applies to all stair handrails.
 

my250r11

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2015 IBC - 1014.7 indicates that the clearance shall not be LESS than 1 1/2. You can make them all the same. You may want to ask the AHJ if 1 1/2 will be okay for all of them.
 

tbz

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2015 IBC - 1014.7 indicates that the clearance shall not be LESS than 1 1/2. You can make them all the same. You may want to ask the AHJ if 1 1/2 will be okay for all of them.
I was hoping for some input from one of the MD members, the way I see it, the LSC requires the 2.25 and as thus, this also meets the statewide adopted IBC and Federal 2010ADA, thus I recommended building to the 2.25.

Not sure who inspects the LSC in MD, is it the building inspector or Fire Inspector or other?

Anyone from MD, can you shed some light on the who covers what in MD?

Thank you
 

Paul Sweet

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I did some work in Maryland 30 or so years ago. At that time the building dept. enforced BOCA (now IBC) and the fire marshal enforced NFPA 101. It would be best to ask the building official to verify that this is still the case and how they resolve this conflict.
 

tbz

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So I was hoping to see something from the MD contingent, guess no one from MD frequents this forum.

Bill, the norm by the fabricators that I work with, in MD is to just set the 2.25" offset, the issue becomes when that is not an option.

It seems that even though the State FD adopted the LSC with the 2.25" there are areas within the state were they don't do plan review nor inspections, thus a building can get permitted, built, issued a C/O and occupied and never checked for 2.25" compliance because the ones doing all the review and inspections only require the 1.5", IE building department.

Not so much an issue for stairs as they allow up to a 4.5" projection in to the stairway and seldom do they not catch the width concerns in plan review.

The issue comes up with ramps from time to time, because ramps require a minimum of 36" between handrails in conjunction with the maximum 4.5" project.

Scenario, Some in the design world who work in MD seem to like to detail their ramps between half height walls as 42" between not showing the full width number, but drawing them as:
  • 1.5" from wall to handrail edge
  • 1.5" diameter handrail
  • 36" width between handrails
  • 1.5" diameter 2nd handrail
  • 1.5" from 2nd handrail to wall
    • Which by my new age math Equals 42"
So when you have only exactly enough room to fit the option as drawn that passed plan review, being built and now in place how does one gain the additional 1.5" required for 2.25" wall clearance per the LSC, not ADA or IBC.

decreasing the handrail diameter to the 1.25" minimum gets you a 1/2", but still remain 1" shy.

Not sure how these keep getting by plan review, but they keep popping up from time to time built in the field.

So this happens a lot it seems on areas outside the M.O.E. E/E path, so the question came to mind since these secondary ramps are not part of the M.O.E. as designated on the plans does LSC apply to them?

Our position if in place needs to comply with the most restrictive when that does not put it in conflict with another code requirement.

So I ask wall clearance or width between handrails, which is the greater of the two violations????
 

bill1952

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I don't know nor do I have a recommendation (other than education of those detailing it wrong.) FWIW I believe the greater rail to wall clearance benefits more users.
 

tbz

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I don't know nor do I have a recommendation (other than education of those detailing it wrong.) FWIW I believe the greater rail to wall clearance benefits more users.
Hoping to hear from someone in MD, at some point,

believing is a thought not a justifiable fact, I am sure Jake, or would be surprised if he does not have a proposal for the 2.25" going before the new review of A117.1 begin it's new cycle now.

We will have to see, how it fares their, if proposed.
 

bill1952

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Hoping to hear from someone in MD, at some point,

believing is a thought not a justifiable fact, I am sure Jake, or would be surprised if he does not have a proposal for the 2.25" going before the new review of A117.1 begin it's new cycle now.

We will have to see, how it fares their, if proposed.
I'd prefer to call it a theory based on observations and research, but not yet proven. I don't know how many people find a 34 or 35" clearance between rails a problem, I suspect not many. I find as do others with arthritis and similar hand issues that more clearance makes it's easier to grasp hand rails, which is why I always reach for the center rail if available on stairs and ramps.
 

Paul Sweet

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IBC 1014.8 (2018) allows handrails to project 4 1/2" into the required width. I believe that at one time BOCA or IBC had the increased clearance like NFPA, but dropped it after a cycle or 2.
 

tbz

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IBC 1014.8 (2018) allows handrails to project 4 1/2" into the required width. I believe that at one time BOCA or IBC had the increased clearance like NFPA, but dropped it after a cycle or 2.
Can't speak for BOCA, but IBC has always been 1.5" as far back as I can remember to its start.

Paul the 4.5" is correct except on ramps that have to maintain a minimum of 36" between the handrails,

Though you can project up to 4.5" inward, you can't reduce the width smaller than 36", it wipes the range.
 

steveray

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Tom....Can they "dish" the wall behind the handrail? I thought there were some Maryland folks here...Not sure if you could get ahold of John Gibson at ICC, he is a Maryland guy....
 

tbz

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Tom....Can they "dish" the wall behind the handrail? I thought there were some Maryland folks here...Not sure if you could get ahold of John Gibson at ICC, he is a Maryland guy....
Its not an issue that comes up more than a few times a year, but seems to have been happing more this year than years past. I know in theory the BC & FD in some jurisdictions work good together and then you have the flip side, I guess what gets me, as noted by Bill it is a design issue, but its a design issue that made it all the way to a C/O and then being called out.... or in some cases being built and the only one flagging it is the fire inspector at the end, not anywhere else in the process.

We point these things out when they pop up, but a lot of the handrail firms don't even see prints till long after the other work is in place.

When we do see the prints pre-construction, we send in an RFI before its built, but with the time frames now, this side is being reduced and it seems to be increasing in frequency.
 

rogerpa

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IBC 1014.8 (2018) allows handrails to project 4 1/2" into the required width. I believe that at one time BOCA or IBC had the increased clearance like NFPA, but dropped it after a cycle or 2.
1996 BOCA. Went away when the IRC came out.
 
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