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Rick
Rick, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 18700
Experience:  Licensed construction supervisor with 35+ yrs. experience.
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I just read The Home Smithy posts and responses; very helpful;

Resolved Question:

I just read The Home Smithy posts and responses; very helpful; rails on landings must be 42 inches high. My question is:
My friend lives on the second floor in an apartment building that has landing railings that are very short; just about 31 inches high. I understand code requires 42" rails on landings (looks like at least a 40 foot drop from the second floor landing down to the first floor). The building was built in 1953; new owners bought the building in January of this year but never retrofitted the railings; when buildings that are not up to code are purchased or transferred, is bringing up to code/retrofitting required?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Rick replied 3 years ago.

Rick :

Welcome, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you with your issue

Rick :

Existing conditions are grandfathered unless/until modifications/additions are made

Rick :

There are exceptions such as immediate life safety systems like smoke and CO detectors

Rick :

However insurance companies may require safety upgrades to provide liability coverage

Customer:

Grandfathered meaning the low rail does not have to be brought up to code...

Rick :

Yes in your friend's case there is no requirement to bring the existing railing up to code.

Customer:

The "However insurance companies ...." is important to know. thank you.

Customer:

ok... "modifications ..." being just to the railings or other modifications to building...

Rick :

At least as far as the building code is concerned. If small children are in the household and the family is receiving government assistance the State could require changes.

Rick :

Generally any modification to the building

Customer:

I do not know of small children... but there are a number of "dependant adults" residing in the apartment building.

Rick :

But this is a gray area

Customer:

Good to know... I will look into if any modifications at all have been made that would "trigger" bringing the rails up to code.

Customer:

or rather should have triggered bringing the rails up to code.

Rick :

Some jurisdictions don't require upgrades unless a certain percentage of the building is modified but these railings are so below standard that I can see a code enforcement official requiring a fix with any building modification

Rick :

This is a local jurisdiction issue

Customer:

understand

Rick :

do you have any more questions?

Customer:

Not at this time; FYi, the location is Los Angeles; thank you for your input and info.

Rick :

You're welcome!

Rick, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 18700
Experience: Licensed construction supervisor with 35+ yrs. experience.
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