Handrails serving stairways, ramps, stepped aisles and ramped aisles shall be adequate in strength and attachment in accordance with Section 1607.8. Handrails required for stairways by Section 1011.11 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.9. Handrails required for ramps by Section 1012.8 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.8. Handrails for stepped aisles and ramped aisles required by Section 1029.15 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.8.
Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm). Handrail height of alternating tread devices and ships ladders, measured above tread nosings, shall be uniform, not less than 30 inches (762 mm) and not more than 34 inches (864 mm).
- Where handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide continuous transition between flights, the fittings or bendings shall be permitted to exceed the maximum height.
- In Group R-3 occupancies; within dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; and in Group U occupancies that are associated with a Group R-3 occupancy or associated with individual dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; where handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide continuous transition between flights, transition at winder treads, transition from handrail to guard, or where used at the start of a flight, the handrail height at the fittings or bendings shall be permitted to exceed the maximum height.
- Handrails on top of a guard where permitted along stepped aisles and ramped aisles in accordance with Section 1029.15.
Required handrails shall comply with Section 1014.3.1 or shall provide equivalent graspability.
Exception: In Group R-3 occupancies; within dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; and in Group U occupancies that are accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy or accessory to individual dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; handrails shall be Type I in accordance with Section 1014.3.1, Type II in accordance with Section 1014.3.2 or shall provide equivalent graspability.
Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of not less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm). Where the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension of not less than 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 61/4 inches (160 mm) with a maximum cross-sectional dimension of 21/4 inches (57 mm) and minimum cross-sectional dimension of 1 inch (25 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).
Handrails with a perimeter greater than 61/4 inches (160 mm) shall provide a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. The finger recess shall begin within a distance of 3/4 inch (19 mm) measured vertically from the tallest portion of the profile and achieve a depth of not less than 5/16 inch (8 mm) within 7/8 inch (22 mm) below the widest portion of the profile. This required depth shall continue for not less than 3/8 inch (10 mm) to a level that is not less than 13/4 inches (45 mm) below the tallest portion of the profile. The width of the handrail above the recess shall be not less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) to not greater than 23/4 inches (70 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).
Handrail gripping surfaces shall be continuous, without interruption by newel posts or other obstructions.
- Handrails within dwelling units are permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at a turn or landing.
- Within a dwelling unit, the use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or starting newel is allowed over the lowest tread.
- Handrail brackets or balusters attached to the bottom surface of the handrail that do not project horizontally beyond the sides of the handrail within 11/2 inches (38 mm) of the bottom of the handrail shall not be considered obstructions. For each 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) of additional handrail perimeter dimension above 4 inches (102 mm), the vertical clearance dimension of 11/2 inches (38 mm) shall be permitted to be reduced by 1/8 inch (3.2 mm).
- Where handrails are provided along walking surfaces with slopes not steeper than 1:20, the bottoms of the handrail gripping surfaces shall be permitted to be obstructed along their entire length where they are integral to crash rails or bumper guards.
- Handrails serving stepped aisles or ramped aisles are permitted to be discontinuous in accordance with Section 1029.15.1.
Handrails shall return to a wall, guard or the walking surface or shall be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent flight of stairs or ramp run. Where handrails are not continuous between flights, the handrails shall extend horizontally not less than 12 inches (305 mm) beyond the top riser and continue to slope for the depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser. At ramps where handrails are not continuous between runs, the handrails shall extend horizontally above the landing 12 inches (305 mm) minimum beyond the top and bottom of ramp runs. The extensions of handrails shall be in the same direction of the flights of stairs at stairways and the ramp runs at ramps.
- Handrails within a dwelling unit that is not required to be accessible need extend only from the top riser to the bottom riser.
- Handrails serving aisles in rooms or spaces used for assembly purposes are permitted to comply with the handrail extensions in accordance with Section 1029.15.
- Handrails for alternating tread devices and ships ladders are permitted to terminate at a location vertically above the top and bottom risers. Handrails for alternating tread devices are not required to be continuous between flights or to extend beyond the top or bottom risers.
On ramps and on ramped aisles that are part of an accessible route, the clear width between handrails shall be 36 inches (914 mm) minimum. Projections into the required width of aisles, stairways and ramps at each side shall not exceed 41/2 inches (114 mm) at or below the handrail height. Projections into the required width shall not be limited above the minimum headroom height required in Section 1011.3. Projections due to intermediate handrails shall not constitute a reduction in the egress width. Where a pair of intermediate handrails are provided within the stairway width without a walking surface between the pair of intermediate handrails and the distance between the pair of intermediate handrails is greater than 6 inches (152 mm), the available egress width shall be reduced by the distance between the closest edges of each such intermediate pair of handrails that is greater than 6 inches (152 mm).