Advisory 505.1 General. Handrails are required on ramp runs with a rise greater than 6 inches (150 mm) (see 405.8) and on certain stairways (see 504). Handrails are not required on walking surfaces with running slopes less than 1:20. However, handrails are required to comply with 505 when they are provided on walking surfaces with running slopes less than 1:20 (see 403.6). Sections 505.2, 505.3, and 505.10 do not apply to handrails provided on walking surfaces with running slopes less than 1:20 as these sections only reference requirements for ramps and stairs.
Advisory 505.4 Height. The requirements for stair and ramp handrails in this document are for adults. When children are the principal users in a building or facility (e.g., elementary schools), a second set of handrails at an appropriate height can assist them and aid in preventing accidents. A maximum height of 28 inches (710 mm) measured to the top of the gripping surface from the ramp surface or stair nosing is recommended for handrails designed for children. Sufficient vertical clearance between upper and lower handrails, 9 inches (230 mm) minimum, should be provided to help prevent entrapment.
- Where handrails are provided along walking surfaces with slopes not steeper than 1:20, the bottoms of handrail gripping surfaces shall be permitted to be obstructed along their entire length where they are integral to crash rails or bumper guards.
- The distance between horizontal projections and the bottom of the gripping surface shall be permitted to be reduced by 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) for each 1/2 inch (13 mm) of additional handrail perimeter dimension that exceeds 4 inches (100 mm).
Advisory 505.6 Gripping Surface. People with disabilities, older people, and others benefit from continuous gripping surfaces that permit users to reach the fingers outward or downward to grasp the handrail, particularly as the user senses a loss of equilibrium or begins to fall.
- Extensions shall not be required for continuous handrails at the inside turn of switchback or dogleg stairs and ramps.
- In assembly areas, extensions shall not be required for ramp handrails in aisles serving seating where the handrails are discontinuous to provide access to seating and to permit crossovers within aisles.
- In alterations, full extensions of handrails shall not be required where such extensions would be hazardous due to plan configuration.