9 Stairs PDF version
Stairs that are poorly designed can cause trips or falls so should be well configured. Many ambulatory persons with mobility impairments prefer stairs rather than ramps and elevators.
Stairs and ramps should be well illuminated so that they can easily be seen. Strongly patterned carpets should not be used on stairs since they cause perceptual problems, and obscure the definition of the tread edges.
9.2 Treads and Risers
Stairs with open risers are hazardous to persons who need a solid riser to guide their foot up the riser to the next step or who place canes or crutches against the riser of the next step.
9.2.1 A flight of stairs shall have
9.2.2 Treads and landings of interior and exterior stairs accessible to the public shall have a slip-resistant finish or be provided with slip-resistant strips which extend not more than 1 mm above the surface of the tread or landing. (OBC 188.8.131.52.(1))
Where projecting nosings are used, they must not have sharp or abrupt angles that prevent a foot from sliding up the riser.
9.4 Detectable Warning Surfaces
Detectable warning surfaces should be used consistently throughout the campus to warn people, particularly those with visual impairments, of an upcoming change in grade. Materials such as a textured rubberized surface are acceptable for interior use and brushed concrete for exterior use.
Detectable warning surfaces shall
9.5 Stair Handrails
Many people who are elderly or have disabilities rely on handrails to maintain balance and prevent serious falls. Handrail extensions at the top and bottom of stairs provide tactile cues for persons with visual impairments, and a continuous handrail will assist them in negotiating stairs at changes in direction. The extended handrail is useful for persons with physical limitations to steady themselves before climbing or descending the stairs. The "one-tread depth" extension at the bottom is to ensure that the horizontal handrail extension is at the same height as the handrail on the stairs. (See Figure 9.2)
Handrail extensions should not project into another path of travel, and handrails should return to the wall, floor or post so as not to constitute a hazard.
Handrails for stairs shall
f) have a distance between handrails of 920 to 1000 mm.
Handrails are extremely important features and should be designed to be easy to grasp and to provide a firm and comfortable grip so the hand can slide along the rail without obstruction.
A circular section with a diameter not more than 40 mm is the preferred shape so that the thumb and fingers can lock around the handrail. Wide or deep handrails which allow only a pinched grip are undesirable unless a proper hand-size grasping area is provided (See Figure 9.6). Standard pipe sizes designated by the industry as 32 to 38 mm meet the requirements of clause 9.6a.
e) have textured cuing on the underside of the handrail of exit floors. (To alert persons who are blind of exit levels).
Where a wall has the handrail that is recessed, the recess shall extend at least 450 mm above the top of the rail (Figure 9.6). The maximum clearance allowed is to provide for adequate gripping room and to prevent injuries from arms slipping through the openings.
9.7 Guards (OBC 184.108.40.206)
Every exit such as a ramp, stairway or passageway shall have a wall or a well-secured guard on each side. (OBC 220.127.116.11.(1))
The height of guards on exit ramps and their landings shall be not less than 1070 mm measured vertically to the top of the guard from the ramp surface. (OBC 18.104.22.168.(3))
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