stairwell safety hazard fix -- need suggestions.

1 Reply

What would you do to fix this for occupancy inspection? Inspector says that the dropoff around the stairwell is a safety hazard.

The solution needs to create a barrier at least 36” high with no more than 4" gaps from the grade anywhere there is a 30” dropoff, which would be 80% or so of the run around this stairwell. 

Inspector said either put up a fence, but plants put there would be sufficient. This is a C-level rental house, so cost wins over aesthetics. I'd say the plants would be the way to go. I'd probably buy the plants myself and have a handyman do it. 

I think your inspector may be wrong.  Most codes require a  42" high guard rail.  You should be able to get a premanufactued railing or fence from home depot or a simular store that will meet these requirements.  Any of the premanufactured railings will meet the 4" gaps code requirement since this is a pretty common code requierement.  Look for a railing with vertical ballusters so that it is diffucult for someone to climb on and fall in.  I would say a fence or guardrail needs to be installed around the entire stair.  I don't think the inspectors planting or landscaping would accutally meet code since it dosen't acctually prevent a someone from falling into the stair well.  This secton of the code was written to prevent kids from falling and getting hurt.  I have 2 boys and no amount of planting would keep them out of there.  

On another note just becouse a code inspector says you can do someting it dosen't always mean its a good idea.  If you do the planting and someonw falls into the stairwell you would still be responsible.  I would also consider installing a handrail on one side of the stair well. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you