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(Located in Florida Building Code Chapter 10 – Means of Egress)

1014.1 Where required.

Handrails serving stairwaysramps, stepped aisles and ramped aisles shall be adequate in strength and attachment in accordance with Section 1607.8. Handrails required for stairways by Section 1011.11 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.9. Handrails required for ramps by Section 1012.8 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.8. Handrails for stepped aisles and ramped aisles required by Section 1029.15 shall comply with Sections 1014.2 through 1014.8.

1014.2 Height.

Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm). Handrail height of alternating tread devices and ships ladders, measured above tread nosings, shall be uniform, not less than 30 inches (762 mm) and not more than 34 inches (864 mm).


  1. 1.Where handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide continuous transition between flights, the fittings or bendings shall be permitted to exceed the maximum height.
  2. 2.In Group R-3 occupancies; within dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; and in Group U occupancies that are associated with a Group R-3 occupancy or associated with individual dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; where handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide continuous transition between flights, transition at windertreads, transition from handrail to guard, or where used at the start of a flight, the handrail height at the fittings or bendings shall be permitted to exceed the maximum height.
  3. 3.Handrails on top of a guard where permitted along stepped aisles and ramped aisles in accordance with Section 1029.15.

1014.3 Handrail graspability.

Required handrails shall comply with Section 1014.3.1 or shall provide equivalent graspability.


  1. 1.In Group R-3 occupancies; within dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; and in Group U occupancies that are accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy or accessory to individual dwelling units in Group R-2 occupancies; handrails shall be Type I in accordance with Section 1014.3.1, Type II in accordance with Section 1014.3.2 or shall provide equivalent graspability.
  2. 2.Accessible handrails shall meet the requirements of the Florida Building Code, Accessibility.

1014.3.1 Type I.

Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of not less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm). Where the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension of not less than 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 61/4 inches (160 mm) with a maximum cross-sectional dimension of 21/4inches (57 mm) and minimum cross-sectional dimension of 1 inch (25 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).

1014.3.2 Type II.

Handrails with a perimeter greater than 61/4 inches (160 mm) shall provide a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. The finger recess shall begin within a distance of 3/4 inch (19 mm) measured vertically from the tallest portion of the profile and achieve a depth of not less than 5/16 inch (8 mm) within 7/8 inch (22 mm) below the widest portion of the profile. This required depth shall continue for not less than 3/8 inch (10 mm) to a level that is not less than 13/4 inches (45 mm) below the tallest portion of the profile. The width of the handrail above the recess shall be not less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) to not greater than 23/4 inches (70 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).

1014.4 Continuity.

Handrail gripping surfaces shall be continuous, without interruption by newel posts or other obstructions.


  1. 1.Handrails within dwelling units are permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at a turn or landing.
  2. 2.Within a dwelling unit, the use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or starting newel is allowed over the lowest tread.
  3. 3.Handrail brackets or balusters attached to the bottom surface of the handrail that do not project horizontally beyond the sides of the handrail within 11/2 inches (38 mm) of the bottom of the handrail shall not be considered obstructions. For each 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) of additional handrail perimeter dimension above 4 inches (102 mm), the vertical clearance dimension of 11/2 inches (38 mm) shall be permitted to be reduced by 1/8 inch (3.2 mm).
  4. 4.Where handrails are provided along walking surfaces with slopes not steeper than 1:20, the bottoms of the handrail gripping surfaces shall be permitted to be obstructed along their entire length where they are integral to crash rails or bumper guards.
  5. 5.Handrails serving stepped aisles or ramped aisles are permitted to be discontinuous in accordance with Section 1029.15.1.

1014.5 Fittings.

Handrails shall not rotate within their fittings.

1014.6 Handrail extensions.

Handrails shall return to a wall, guard or the walking surface or shall be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent flight of stairs or ramp run. Where handrails are not continuous between flights, the handrails shall extend horizontally not less than 12 inches (305 mm) beyond the top riser and continue to slope for the depth of one tread beyond the bottom riser. At ramps where handrails are not continuous between runs, the handrails shall extend horizontally above the landing 12 inches (305 mm) minimum beyond the top and bottom of ramp runs. The extensions of handrails shall be in the same direction of the flights of stairs at stairways and the ramp runs at ramps.


  1. 1.Handrails within a dwelling unit that is not required to be accessible need extend only from the top riser to the bottom riser.
  2. 2.Handrails serving aisles in rooms or spaces used for assembly purposes are permitted to comply with the handrail extensions in accordance with Section 1029.15.
  3. 3.Handrails for alternating tread devices and ships ladders are permitted to terminate at a location vertically above the top and bottom risers. Handrails for alternating tread devices are not required to be continuous between flights or to extend beyond the top or bottom risers.
  4. 4.Accessible handrail extensions shall be in accordance with the Florida Building Code, Accessibility.

1014.7 Clearance.

Clear space between a handrail and a wall or other surface shall be not less than 11/2 inches (38 mm). A handrail and a wall or other surface adjacent to the handrail shall be free of any sharp or abrasive elements.

1014.8 Projections.

On ramps and on ramped aisles that are part of an accessible route, the clear width between handrails shall be 36 inches (914 mm) minimum. Projections into the required width of aislesstairways and ramps at each side shall not exceed 41/2 inches (114 mm) at or below the handrail height. Projections into the required width shall not be limited above the minimum headroom height required in Section 1011.3. Projections due to intermediate handrails shall not constitute a reduction in the egress width. Where a pair of intermediate handrails are provided within the stairway width without a walking surface between the pair of intermediate handrails and the distance between the pair of intermediate handrails is greater than 6 inches (152 mm), the available egress width shall be reduced by the distance between the closest edges of each such intermediate pair of handrails that is greater than 6 inches (152 mm).

1014.9 Intermediate handrails.

Stairways shall have intermediate handrails located in such a manner that all portions of the stairway minimum width or required capacity are within 30 inches (762 mm) of a handrail. On monumental stairshandrails shall be located along the most direct path of egress travel.


  1. Thanks for listing so much detailed code. I’ve been poking around lately because I understand there are plenty of consistent rules such as continuous/uninterrupted railings along stairs, but I’m curious how much consistency there is from state to state as far as railing size (cross section or perimeter measurements) in similar circumstances.

  2. I’am having this discussion with a friend ( owner builder)about the maximum space at the bottom of the hand rail that the balusters are fastened to and the distance to the floor. He’s building a ladder and placing it between post. He says it’s 4″ As a retired contractor I’am telling him 2″of space from floor to bottom member holding the balusters. Ive looked at the code and can’t find anything. could i get a clarification.

  3. We have a wide staircase with handrails mounted on a wall slightly higher than the rail on each side and a two sided handrail in the middle. We like to renovate the side rails : sand blasting and powder coating. Can the stairs be used with just the middle rail during the renovation time?

  4. In a two story residence in Palm Beach County Florida What is the railing highlights for second floor balcony patios and second floor landing and cat walks??

  5. Hello, my parents bought a condo here in Florida that was a SENIOR ONLY HOA in 1982. Around 1990 when the disabilities Act was mandatory, and we had no elevators for the upstairs unit, the complex opened up to buy, rent for ANYONE.
    However, we are upstairs and there is ONLY ONE RAILING. It’s on the RIGHT when climbing up. Going down there is NO RAILING ON THE RIGHT SIDE. There are 15 narrow steep steps, where a foot does not have enough room to step straight down.
    We go up and down sideways or backwards. When an elderly person, as was my mother later when I cared for her 9 years, only one PERSON has the possiblity of holding on the existing railing. Some units have alternate, either right or left side railing. Those people must use their left hand to climb up. When carrying food, packages, trash, suitcases etc, this is highly dangerous.
    Either way it’s highly unsafe. We carry groceries, have deliveries and caretakers all those are unsafe conditions.
    The HOA refuses to install necessary railings. The UNIFORM appearance in the rules is non existent. Many residents have paid up to $1200 to get another railing installed. We believe the HOA should install at the community cost for all upstairs units to have railings installed in uniform style.
    Right now there are many snake like shaped or heavy pipe styles or simple all different styles. The people that paid for railings now cannot remove them as now it belongs to the “COMMUNITY”.
    There are no safety strips on the steps either. I bought such a tape for $30 and had to get PERMISSION installed them myself. It was a hard project, bending, sitting sideways, cleaning the steps, then measuring the exact length. All these were later removed as they painted the stairs and never replaced.
    Every proposal or request has been denied. We are told we are on our own, have to pay ourselves and PLUS get the neighbor’s agreement. Some units have a landing shared with another owner across, upstairs. This owner refuses to pay half, wants me to pay the whole bill while he gets to use it. He’s in his mid 80s now.
    Why is this conflict necessary?We have a new management LELAND who also refuses to get involved. How can we get this completed, with the existing safety accessibility act laws? How can you help us achieve the necessary safety, peace, in the complex? Thank you for any referrals, forms to fill out for recognition of these constant unnerving living conditions here in Florida.
    H Proehl

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