When walking up or down the stairs, people subconsciously grab onto the handrails. While no one gives it a second thought, railings are a vital component that provides continuous support, especially for people with mobility problems.
Since it is one of the most prominent features that reinforce a safe experience when walking up or down the stairs, connected handrails should never be interrupted, even on awkward corners in your building.
Why Do Handrails Need to be Continuous?
Handrails are designed to provide support to all passers-by, which means it needs to be continuously graspable and follow the entire stairway landing. In most cases, handrails should not be obstructed beyond 20 percent of its length, while horizontal projections should be at least 38 mm beneath the bottom of the gripping surface if it is provided.
What are the Requirements for Handrail Systems?
In addition to continuity, the handrail system should also meet the following requirements:
- The handrails and other objects in the scene should have a minimum clearance of 2.25 inches;
- The railings should have a graspable shape and dimension;
- The ends of the handrail should not pose any hazards;
- The handrail should handle 200 pounds of a load when applied in either a downward or outward direction;
Beyond completing appearances, handrails can prevent or disrupt stair fall incidents, though there are a few exceptions. The handrail should follow all steps in the stairs, but interruptions are permissible if the stairs end at a landing with surrounding walls. Some of the exceptions include the following regulations:
Continuity in Handrails: What are the Exceptions?
Handrails should always be continuous, but it can be interrupted by doors and extended landing areas with walls surrounding the staircase. If the other side of the railing has an open side, then there should be a handrail following the site onto the next level.
If the handrail is surrounding a walking surface with a slope no steeper than 1:20, then interruptions are considered. Meanwhile, the horizontal projects and the handrail’s bottom surface can minimize the distance by 3.2 mm for every 13 mm to cater to handrails with a dimension that goes beyond 100 mm.
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Handrail Continuity in Preventing Accidents
It’s easy to overlook the importance of handrails, but it plays a pivotal role in providing security for people ascending or descending a flight of stairs. Not only does it serve as a guide, but it reduces the risks of falls and minimize liability concerns for your premises.
Seeing its importance in maintaining your stairs’ safety, the industry standards require every form of handrails to be continuous if you want to meet the accepted building codes in Australia.
Why Choose Us?
Here at Aussie Balustrading and Stairs, we offer a premium selection of BCA handrails in Perth, Western Australia. We’re stair manufacturers in Perth that offer a wide range of handrails tailored to meet your style and unique needs, whether it’s for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes.