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Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

So the international building codes obviously have a plethora of requirements for stairways, but these codes are specifically written for stairways within a structure, not outside of a structure. It seems like like stairways outside of a structure are somewhat ungoverned. Outside of ADA requirements, does anyone know what code or standard might apply to a set of walkway stairs (on a private property, non-ADA applicable)?

Think of an involved landscaping job on a private residence that involves stairs.

RE: Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

This issue is one of those topics that will be constantly be debated until it is officially adopted by a code. The IRC nor the IBC reference this issue. Typically, Landscape steps/stairs are not specifically addressed. The IBC governs 1-2 dwelling residential. They do not inspect nor have any authority for exterior gardens, landscaping, driveway etc.

Unless the stair flight is attached to the dwelling, the project is not subject to review. If the project is subject to review under the IBC then the answer is yes, if the stair is part of the "exit discharge". The "exit discharge" is the part of the egress system between the termination of the building "exit" and the "public way".

To be sure, address this issue with the local AHJ.

RE: Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

Look for the term "monument stairs". Most significant requirement is interior rail for wide stairs. Other dimensional issues still apply thought there is some latitude for riser/tread ratios.

RE: Code Requirements of Exterior Hardescape Stairs

Agree with Ron. Monumental stairs, e.g. stairs in parks and gardens, as well as at building entrances, are preferably not as steep as interior stairs.

A rule of thumb in my old "Architectural Graphic Standards" is "twice the riser plus the tread = 26". This results in a 6" riser and 14" tread, which is commonly found at office building entrances.

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