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RE: Code stairs vs OSHA stairs

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I've tried to tackle this question also and have generally concluded that
any stairs which could be used as an egress from an "occupied" area must
meet the building code and any stairs which are "solely for equipment
access" need only conform to OSHA requirements for stairs. But there are
still gray areas. I worked on a power plant project where we had a mezzanine
level with only equipment and storage rooms (not daily occupied), and the
fire official insisted that the stairs meet the building code requirements
(i.e., 7/11 risers/treads). And all stairs between main equipment floor
levels had to meet all code egress requirements. But a gate shaft which was
required only for gate maintenance was permitted to only follow OSHA
requirements; and in general stairs which accessed a single piece of
equipment were permitted to follow OSHA. But if you provide stairs into a
below grade vault (with pumps or pipe valves) in lieu of a ladder, does it
need to meet the building code or OSHA? It may depend on the interpretation
of your local building official and the extent of the vault.

Similarly for guardrail requirements, there are questions as to when 2-rail
OSHA guardrail can be used vs codes which require tighter rail spacings even
in industrial environments (e.g. UBC). I generally apply the above criteria
using "building code requirements" at "building enclosures" but there are
still gray areas. Does a "building" which only contains piping and pumps
need to meet building code requirements? What about guardrail around
exterior open basins? (The "building code" requirements for occupied areas
don't seem to apply to exterior areas, so OSHA guardrail seems acceptable

> -----Original Message-----
> From: KSP [mailto:lvtakp(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2000 5:56 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: BOCA stairs
> This isn't really a structural question but I'm sure a
> lot of you have experienced this situation.  We do a
> lot of industrial work and are often bound by BOCA. 
> It seems to me that we must design our stairs with a
> 7" max riser and an 11" min tread per BOCA but it
> doesn't seem to me that many other architects or
> engineers are doing this for industrial applications. 
> Am I missing something in the Code that allows me to
> not have a stair going up to a piece of equipment that
> has such a shallow slope that my grandmother can climb
> up it?  (I know about the alternating tread stair but
> that is not what I want.)
> The other thing that doesn't seem to be done by most
> other engineers in industrial buildings is the
> handrail extensions at the top and bottom of the
> stairs.  It seems to me that they would be required at
> all stairs here in BOCA land.
> As always - thanks for your insights
> Ken Peoples, P. E.
> Lehigh Valley Technical Associates