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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been mentioned to me twice in the last week that minimum railing heights for decks is now 42". I thought that it was 36" for residential and 42" for commercial.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? I know, ask your building Inspector.

I work in many municipalities, and they go by different codes, but most use the 2006 IRC.

Have later additions of the IRC increased the height requirements?

Thanks
 

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Fine Deckbuilder
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This fall IRC 2009 is coming out. I haven't heard the increase in railing height yet. I will have to check it out.
Clemens
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We are working for a very nice, paranoid couple. The lady can't sleep at night, worrying about details.

The deck is done, except for the rails and balusters themselves. Posts are in, rails are cut with connectors installed for aluminum balusters. We had to hold off, because the owners decided they wanted a higher railing. Our posts were a few inches long, because we are adding post caps. I had to reorder longer balusters, to increase the height another 2 1/2", that we could squeeze under the post caps.

On the steps, there will be a metal graspable handrail. The iron contractor told me that he thought railings had to be 42". Then I get a call from the owner, last night, questioning the same thing. In 30+ years of building decks, I can only think of 1 or 2 times that we put up a railing of 42" on a residence.

Sorry to say, the owners did not want building permits. Long story, but not unusual, where I work. Think $ 6000+, for permits and engineering.
 

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there is no maximum height on guard rails on an elevated platform except that dictated by the owners bank account. On stairs there is a maximum 38" height on the handrail. The minimum height on a platform guard rail is 36" and 34" on stair handrail.
 

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We are working for a very nice, paranoid couple. The lady can't sleep at night, worrying about details.

The deck is done, except for the rails and balusters themselves. Posts are in, rails are cut with connectors installed for aluminum balusters. We had to hold off, because the owners decided they wanted a higher railing. Our posts were a few inches long, because we are adding post caps. I had to reorder longer balusters, to increase the height another 2 1/2", that we could squeeze under the post caps.

On the steps, there will be a metal graspable handrail. The iron contractor told me that he thought railings had to be 42". Then I get a call from the owner, last night, questioning the same thing. In 30+ years of building decks, I can only think of 1 or 2 times that we put up a railing of 42" on a residence.

Sorry to say, the owners did not want building permits. Long story, but not unusual, where I work. Think $ 6000+, for permits and engineering.
Don't take offense but you say a paranoid couple and worry about details then say they don't want a permit??? Can't be to worried about details....
 

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Jeff
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I hope to god not, 42" is gonna look like hell alot of times imo. Porch with a beam height at say 7' and half of the open space is railing is gonna be all out of proportion. Even 36" covers alot of windows on older houses and it looks bad.
 

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I think the steel guy was used to working on commercial jobs where 42" is required, must have said something to HO.

I have at times done rails @ 42", on the really tall ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't take offense but you say a paranoid couple and worry about details then say they don't want a permit??? Can't be to worried about details....
To a certain extent, the deck is probably over built. 4x12 PT fir joists on 16" centers, all covered with grace "deck protector". 6x10 PT beams, spanning 6'. Footings are 8' deep (no frost line here), ect.

We are in earthquake areas. The building departments are scared, so they require everyone to have their decks engineered (soils and structural). I had one client spend $ 9000 before any work was done and the county wanted more. He pulled the plug on the project.

People in my area are fed up with the red tape and hoops that the planning and building departments make you go through. As you may or may not know, a permit does nothing for assuring quality, all it does is set minimum standards for construction spans and now adds a lot of hardware.
 

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To a certain extent, the deck is probably over built. 4x12 PT fir joists on 16" centers, all covered with grace "deck protector". 6x10 PT beams, spanning 6'. Footings are 8' deep (no frost line here), ect.

We are in earthquake areas. The building departments are scared, so they require everyone to have their decks engineered (soils and structural). I had one client spend $ 9000 before any work was done and the county wanted more. He pulled the plug on the project.

People in my area are fed up with the red tape and hoops that the planning and building departments make you go through. As you may or may not know, a permit does nothing for assuring quality, all it does is set minimum standards for construction spans and now adds a lot of hardware.

Why does it cost so much for engineering? The one I just got my final on required engineer's letter for stucture & foundation, cause I used existing concrete patio instead of footings, & permits & engineer's letter was less than 400.

With those kinds of extra cost no wonder folks are trying to evade the permit man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The soils engineering requires a crew to come out and drill for soil samples. Then off to the lab for analysis. The engineer then specifies 20' deep footings (to get past the ancient slide area). The structural engineer then designs the deck with every item available from the Simpson Catalog.:whistling

I primarily work in a somewhat hilly/mountainous area, with known earthquake faults nearby (San Andreas). Everyone is scared of the liability of failure. Perhaps, rightfully so. There are a lot of lawyers in the area.
 

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People in my area are fed up with the red tape and hoops that the planning and building departments make you go through. As you may or may not know, a permit does nothing for assuring quality, all it does is set minimum standards for construction spans and now adds a lot of hardware.
along those same lines, seepage beds and stormwater management tables for decks is for the birds
 
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