Michael shares some staggering (to me) statistics about accidents and deaths as a result of falls on stairs.
I have had occassion to be in a number of homes with non-standard stairs of late, and can attest that they can be an issue if you are not used to them.
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What Would YOU Do?
The most critical characteristic of stairs is that every step be the same. Building codes officials should enforce this rule - some do; some don't. On average, falls on stairs kill 4,000 people a year and another 2 million are seriously injured in the United States.
Many different terms have been used in describing stairs and in this post, I will not get into detail about rise/run/spindle spacing etc.
In the home inspection world, if something doesn't look right, it probably isn't. Walking up this staircase, that little voice went off in my head raising a red flag. I got out my ruler and measured the width of the staircase where it narrowed down at the landing. 31-1/2".
Typically, the minimum width permitted in residential staircases is around 2 feet 8 inches - this includes handrails. Three feet is better, and 3′6″ is the standard for normal occupancy. And, if a stair is more than 44 inches wide, a handrail is required on both sides. These are recommendations as prescribed by the 1996 Council of American Building Officials (CABO) and the 2000 International Residential Codes Council (IRC).
If you were a home inspector, what would you do? Would you ignore it? After all, it's only a half an inch - and what's a half an inch between friends. Would you report it? If so, what would you say?
I will give you my answer later this evening...
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