Door swings out over step missing landing (C) Daniel FriedmanStairway Landing & Platform Design & Code FAQs
Questions & Answers about stair platform or landing design & safety

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Stair & entrance landing & platform questions & answers: Stair Landing FAQs:

This article provides questions and answers about stair platform or landing design, specifications, codes and safety. Building stairway codes specify the size and placement requirements for safe, accessible stairway landings & platforms. But code interpretation occurs during design, construction, inspection, and later, after someone falls, during litigation. Our page top photo illustrates a door swinging out over a step - a fall hazard.

This article series provides building code specifications, sketches, photographs, and examples of defects used in inspecting the platforms or landings used with indoor or outdoor stairs for building entrances, decks, porches, or interior building stairs.

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Questions & Answers About Stair & Entry Platform & Landing Codes, Design Requirements & Slip, Trip & Fall Hazards

Question: is this stair platform built to code?

Stair platform without guards nor handrailing (C) InspectApedia

27 June 2015 John said: Is this built to code? Can it be argued that the top of the pyramid is considered a step and not a landing? (36" not required?)


In our opinion the stair shown in the photo you submitted is unsafe because there are no readily-accessible handrails in the walking area.

[Click to enlarge any image]

The stair design and details of the question you submitted are discussed in detail at INCOMPLETE INADEQUATE HANDRAILS which is found in the article PLATFORMS & LANDINGS, ENTRY & STAIR.

Question: There is inadequate stair top landing space: how can I get more space at the top of an interior stairway?

Circular stair, the Iron Shop, Broomall PA, installed in NY 1978 (C) Daniel Friedman(Sept 30, 2015) D. H. Taylor said:

The stair landing at the top of my stairs to the second (top) floor has only 14" and then ends at a vertical outside wall of 7' (open ceiling). before you turn left into one open room, or right into two other open rooms. There are railings that are 31" back from each side of the stairs, but the landing concerns me. It is far to easy to 'step into space' when going downstairs from either side, especially to the left. The railing starts and continues to the inside wall but the first two steps going down the steps leaves an opening that seems too open to be safe. I've been trying to figure out how to reconfigure the stairs to make it more safe and still be able move furniture up and down when necessary. The second floor contains two open bedrooms and a third bedroom with a door.

This question was posted originally at GUARDRAILS on BALCONIES, DECKS, LANDINGS.

[Click to enlarge any image]

October 24 2015 Anon Said

About a month ago I was trying to research information on issues I’m having with my stairs going upstairs to the second floor in my home. I left a comment and now cannot find it, and want to correct the issue as I almost fell down the stairs. I ended up launching myself against the wall cutting my arm on the light switch. ... [text deleted describes other property features, a home inspection, and a b arn collapse - Ed.]

The stairs are straight up to the 2nd story, and only have 15” from the top step to the wall which makes it narrow to turn left into my bedroom or right into the other two rooms. There are very inadequate railings on either side, no doubt weakened by my moving the mattresses and oak bed frame up and down stairs. These I have to change and fix. I want to create a more adequate landing on both sides of the top-with radius steps on each side.

The upstairs wall is only 6” in the bedroom with a vaulted ceiling, and the other room has a semi-vaulted flat top ceiling. There is a beam opening into the bedroom that is 5’9” and I have to duck into the room. That is something I know would involve an engineer and so it will probably remain the way it is, my stairs being my priority.

I’ve been trying to renovate back to the original style since I’ve been here, but since I live alone, have animals and many chores and a job, progress cannot be quick. I checked several times to see if anyone had any ideas on the site, and thought I had saved the search and comment but alas, am unable to fine out if anyone even saw it. The descendants of the original owners of this farm have been by a few times, and I’m hoping they can find photos of the property so restoration will be aided in my attempt.

If you have an opportunity to see my comment is there a chance you could let me know your thoughts. - Anon by private email 2015/10/24

Reply: Options for gaining stair top landing space

Theoretical stair design (C) Daniel FriedmanYou are describing stairs with inadequate top landing space (less than 36" in the direction of travel on-to or off-of the stairway) and unsafe inadequate stair handrailings and possibly stair guardrailings. You also state that you're trying to renovate the building back to its original style. Therein is a possible conflict. "Original" stairs and rails may have been unsafe in design, connections, stair run, stair platform and other details. Worse, it can be tough to re-design and fit safe stairs into a space where they don't readily fit. But there are some options:

You'll want to increase the stair platform size - which can involve moving the whole stairway out a bit to give more top platform space - provided there is room in the building to do so.

In our sketch at left the uppermost green line represents the stair top landing that we are discussing.

Watch out: pending stair redesign to provide more comfortable and safe stair top or stair bottom landing space you can and should reduce hazards by making sure that other safety features such as secure, properly-designed stair handrailings, guardrailings, tread surfaces and lighting are all correct. These need immediate attention and take on added importance when the stair design is too steep or lacks proper platforms.

Below I list some options for gaining stair top platform run-length in the direction of exit from the stairway, in order of probable cost from least to most:

  1. Gain stair top landing run direction space by removing or cutting an opening in an interior partition wall that faces the stair top; obviously this repair is plausible only if the stairway top ends at an interior partition wall; if the stair top ends at an exterior wall the cost of bumping out that wall will be too much unless other building expansion plans happen to also be underway.
  2. Gain stair top landing run space by moving the existing stairway horizontally: moving the existing stair horizontally away from the present location can gain stair top landing run direction space while re-using the existing stair set. You will need to review structural connections to be sure that the moved stairway remains secure and safe.
  3. Gain stair top landing space by replacing the stairs with steps of greater step rise and shorter total stair run. For example, changing a step riser height from 5.5" to 6.5" - making each step a bit higher - will shorten the run length needed for the stairway. Taller riser heights may also support a reduction of stair tread depth - also shortening the stair run. That will let you move the stairs horizontally away from their current position to gain more top landing run space. This option may be of more interest if there is not enough stair bottom landing or floor run space in the direction of travel at the stair bottom.

    The relationship between step rise and tread depth dimensions and the total stair run length is described

    Watch out: don't make the step riser height taller than the recommended or comfortable maximum or the stairs will be unsafe. Don't make the step tread depth less thanm the recommended minimum or again the stairs will be unsafe.
    See STAIR TREAD DIMENSIONS and see STAIR RISER SPECIFICATIONS for proper stair tread depth and stair riser heights to minimize falling hazards. Keep in mind that for elderly and some disabled stair users, keeping stair riser height low and tread depth wide may make for easier-to-climb stairs.
  4. Gain stair top landing space by re-building the stairs to include a turn and and a platform at the intermediate turn. Another option is to re-design the stair to include a turn and an intermediate platform - again space depending. The winder stairs shown below can achieve the total stair rise height needed while shortening the horizontal travel distance of the stairway by bending it. Winder stairs such as shown in Carson Dunlop Associate's sketch below are discussed in detail

Stairway Lighting requirements (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

  1. Replace the stairs with a circular stairway such as the model shown in our photo at the start of this discussion. This option can gain the total rise needed in a very short run space but is not particularly convenient if there is not another conventional stairway or access to the building upper floor, as moving furniture up and down a circular stairway can be nearly impossible.

You can see that without photos, drawings, and more detail about the building and its dimensions one cannot prescribe a sensible solution to the safety problem presented by your particular stairs as we don't know where space is avaliable for the stair design options I suggest. Photos of the stairs and building might help as would photos of the building that collapsed.

Question: how to convert degrees of slope to rise and run for a stairway

Stairway at 38 degrees: what is the rise and foot? - George Tubb



There is no single answer, since we could choose different tread depths or "runs" that would give different tread rises or heights. But we can pick a desired step run or depth or step height or rise, and calculate the second number with the help of a calculator that will convert an angle in degrees using the Tan (tangent) function.

For a stair with a 38 degree slope (which is a bit too steep by the way), a ten-inch tread depth (or run) will give you a riser height of 7.8" (a little high).

I have published the details of this procedure along with some drawings at


Question: door swings away from steps - do I need a platform or landing?

If I am installing a door at the top of a stairway in a commercial application and the door swings away from the stairs how big of a landing (space from the door to first step) is needed? - Mickey 2/13/2013



The minimum stairway top landing width is given above as 34-36" across.
The minimum top landing depth - distance out from the door should still be at least 36".

Why? After all, the door swings away from the landing in your case.

People need somewhere safe to stand when locking, unlocking, opening, and preparing to enter or exit from a door. Imagine standing on a 10-inch deep stair tread, holding an armload of groceries, fishing for your door key. You'd sure prefer a place of greater size, maybe even space to put down that bag of food. All of the building codes I have reviewed want a landing at the stair top. A doorway that opens onto a stair is a fall hazard regardless of which way the door swings. This is reflected in our code citations in the article above.

Question: last stair tread is high (15-inches) and there is no landing platform. Does this comply with code?

i have wood stairs exiting the house they go down to the ground the last tread is 15 inches up the stairs are resting on some flat rocks no concrete or platform are these code - Ray 3/15/2013

Reply: No.


No, your stairs are not safe and should be considered code compliant for at least these reasons:

Step riser is too high,
Step risers are not of consistent height,
Steps end without a smooth, properly-sized landing platform.

Question: landing required at top of stairs that intersect a hallway?

(Feb 26, 2014) Brian said:

Is a landing required at the top of stairs that intersect a commercial building hallway (like a "T")?


Brian, interesting question, and I'll express an opinion with the arm-waving disclaimer that we can't say what your local inspector might decide.

If the width of the hallway is at least as great as the minimum platform size, AND if there is no door to whack someone at the top of the stairs, I can't see why a landing would be required. Certainly we've both seen thousands of stairways that terminate at a T formed by an intersecting walk, ramp, or hallway.

Question: installing replacement staircase, limited head room and landing space

(Mar 23, 2014) william said:

hi - i'm putting in a replacement staircase - due to space i hope to have a small landing at the top of the flight - however this landing [approx 800 x 900]will be situated over a rear porch with a height of approx 2 metres. as this poses a problem regarding head space if standard joist supports are used under the landing can i use a thicker wood for the landing itself and not need to use joist support. the front to back of the landing will be approx 900 and will be supported front and back by brick walls


William, what you suggests sounds possible but let's look at the spans.
I'm assuming you're talking about centimeters here - which I convert to inches for familiarity.
900cm is about 354 inches or about 30 feet. That sounds much too big to span with just 2x lumber (say 2x6's) without joist support. (Typical deck boards are 5/4" thick and would be even more saggy, bouncy, unsafe).

Assuming you're going to climb to a landing in front of a door or storm door that opens "out" over the landing, the landing size needs to be at least as big as the swing of the door, typically no less than 36" square = about 1/10 of the dimensions you gave.

So perhaps I've misunderstood.

We discuss headroom vs. landing space in the article abovce.

Reader followup:

Thanks for your reply - maybe i was not very clear with my description - basically i'm replacing an internal staircase which means that i'll need a small platform / half landing [approx 36 inches x 30 inches]which will then allow me to go up another small step to a longer landing. my problem is with the supports for this small platform - if possible i would prefer not to put standard joists underneath because of head height restrictions - and therefore wondered if i could use a stronger or thicker material for the platform - it is supported front to back [36 inches] by two brick walls


William, I guess it was the [approx 800 x 900] that confused me.

Using 2x6 or better, 2x8 or wider treated lumber on the flat over just a 36" span is not going to sag, but you'll need to consider how the whole stair is constructed and connected so as to be secure and safe.

OR as the platform is not the final level so is at least one step below the door jamb above, you might consider constructing the platform floor as an inverted box, building a rim joist around the rectangle of the platform but that extends "up" rather than downwards. One side of the rectangular rim joist surround of the platform may form the riser for the next step up.

Reader reply:

Much appreciated danjoe - will give it some further investigation

Question: extend upper floor into lower area when stepping from one room to another at different level?

(May 26, 2014) Step requirment when entering a room of different level said:

The bathroom floor elevation is 6 inches lower than the floor level of the hallway we enter from. Is there a requirment to extend the floor from the hallway into the bathroom, essetially forming a landing or step the same same elevation as the hallway? If so, what is the tread/landing depth requirement and where is it measured from?



not as I understand the building guidelines. For a single step "down" from one room to another, and presuming that the door to the bathroom opens "out" to the higher floor level, the higher floor level is in effect the "platform". You don't need to extend it.

However if the floors and step don't offer a color key to indicate a change in level it'd be a trip hazard.

Question: garage door swings in, step down to sidewalk?

(June 11, 2014) OCinfo said:

Hi, If we have a side garage door where the door swings into the garage, what is the maximum step down to the sidewalk outside? It seems like most step downs are about 3", though I think I saw that code is 7-8"?



In the More,Reading links above see STAIR RISER SPECIFICATIONS

Question: landing needed when there is just one step from deck to ground?

8/3/14 Anonymous said:

Hi, I am building a deck that has one step that goes to ground level do I need a landing, my township says I do


Your town building inspector is the final authority for code approvals, so you'll want to comply.

A general guide is that for an exterior stair of any dimension, best practice is to include a landing that provides at least 36" of smooth walking surface in the direction of travel when exiting the stair. Your inspector may accept a ground level slab, smooth stonework, slate, etc.

Question: do I need a landing platform if there is just one step to ground level

(Aug 3, 2014) Anonymous said:
Hi, I am building a deck that has one step that goes to ground level do I need a landing, my township says I do


Your town building inspector is the final authority for code approvals, so you'll want to comply.

A general guide is that for an exterior stair of any dimension, best practice is to include a landing that provides at least 36" of smooth walking surface in the direction of travel when exiting the stair. Your inspector may accept a ground level slab, smooth stonework, slate, etc.

One step or ten does not change that advice.


(Aug 6, 2014) Carolyn said:
A entryway that has a weighted door. Approximately 12 to14" from the entry to the right is a flight of 17 stairs without a door or guard. Poor entry lighting.

Question: landing needed outside a sliding door?

(Sept 3, 2014) ec construction said:
1 if i have a sliding door, do i need to built a 36" landing or hsould i just built steps. 2 can it be considered as interior open door?



A landing is required at an exterior door that opens above grade level, at least 3 ft. in the direction of travel and typically at least 3 ft. wide. Check with your local building department.

I don't understand the second part of your question.

Question: how do I calculate exactly where to put the landing?

(Sept 24, 2014) JB said:
I need to construct a landing for the stairs to my raised outdoor deck, which is 10 feet above the ground. My plan is for the stairs to descend off the deck to the landing, which will rise exactly half the height of the deck (5 feet), then the second stairs will completely reverse direction and land back under the deck. (I hope that makes sense.) My question is, how do I calculate where exactly to construct the landing? I will need to pour four concrete footings for the support posts and need to know how far away from the deck I should install the footings. I am sure there is a geometric calculation for this, but for the life of my cannot come up with what seem like workable numbers. Can you help?



I'll be glad to help. First take a look at the stair layout explanation at

There you'll see that you locate the landing using a horizontal projection line from which you measure up or down. In calculating the total rise and number of steps, count your landing as a step.

Key in pouring the footings in just the right place is the careful use of string, a plumb bob, and maybe a level so that your projections and vertical lines are true.

Separately at DECK LEVEL PLUMB SQUARE-UP we show you some old carpenter tricks for keeping your deck, stairs, and platforms all square and square with one another as well. We use the "6-8-10" rule to square things up and sometimes cheat and use string or a very straight 2x.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the 6-8-10 rule for squaring up anything you're building can be read and the mathematical underpinnings of angles, slopes, and tangents can be read at FRAMING TRIANGLES & CALCULATIONS.

Question: the IBC requires a separation when the stair from a basement meets the stair from above

(Mar 4, 2015) R Hurst said:
For stairwells at the level of exit the IBC requires a separation when the stair from a basement meets the stair from above. This can be provided in the form of a door or gate to prevent exiting past the level of discharge from above. If a gate is used the IBC requires it be regarded as a door and shall conform to the applicable codes for a door. Doors are required to have a level landing on both sides of the door with a minimum dimension in the direction of travel equal to the width of the stairway.
I believe this would apply to gates as well but have had other opinions indicating no landing on the basement side is required. Your opinion?

Question: adding radiant heat to the basement - what do we do about the stairs and an uneven rise?

8 March 2015 MN Mom said:
Hello: We are thinking of installing a water heated radiant floor on top of our existing concrete basement floor. The sticking point is the stairs - if we don't tear out or lift the stairs, the bottom step would not be to code. It would lose from 1 1/2 to 2 inches in height.

To save costs, we were thinking of turning the bottom step into a landing, the width of the stair plus 3 or more feet out. Is this acceptable? We live in Blaine, MN, which is in Anoka County.


You can make the last step a landing that itself offers one final step down to the finished floor. Just stay within the landing dimension requirements and keep your handrailing throughout the run.

Question: garage floor is lower than the house

(Apr 11, 2015) Richie Neil said:
Hi, I have a question.
If my garage floor is lower than the house floor by 250 mm, can I have 2 risers without a landing at a door opening into the house?



Nice try buddy, sneaking up with millimeters. But 250mm is more than 9.8" - you'll need 2 steps and a landing at the level of the interior floor in most jurisdictions

Question: substitute an angled stair for a platform?

(Apr 23, 2015) Adalberto said:
I was wondering if you don't have enough space to have a 36" landing (like the case of Ricky "How to balance headroom vs. landing length vs. building obstruction".
Is it possible to have angled stair?
I didn't see any requirements about landing deep on Winding or Turned Stairways.




I believe that an angled stairway will require local building department approval. The ones I've seen look like trip hazards to me, but indeed we do encounter them.


Question: there is only one entry/exit at the back of the home

(June 16, 2015) Olga said:
I am about to rent an older high set home and there is only one entry/exit at the back of the home, is this legal?


In most building jurisdictions a home must have at least two entry/exit points. If your home has a front door and back door then it meets that requirement. Be sure that the stairs and handrails at both entry/exit points are safe.

Question: one step is too short and shorter than the others

(Aug 3, 2015) Lloyd said:
Our new house has the front outside stairs perfect, except that the first stair from the landing (ground) is 2" shorter than all the other stairs which meet code. The building did not take into account laying the brick walkway when pouring the concrete. Is there a way around not having to demolish these stairs? Is the first riser from the walkway an exception under any circumstances? It will be very costly to tear out these stairs!


You can perhaps install a landing at the lowest (fist) step

Question: Does "exterior" mean on the outside of the house as a structure, or the direction the door opens?

(Aug 13, 2015) Cheryl said:
I am trying to figure out if I need a 36-inch top landing for a door that opens inside the house. The code just says a landing is needed for "exterior" doors. Does "exterior" mean on the outside of the house as a structure, or the direction the door opens? I find that vague and my county just refers to the 2009 International Residential Code.


"Exterior" in codes means outdoors.

The direction into which a door opens is the door swing; a door swing may be towards the exterior - of the house.


You also need a landing at the top of interior stairs; a door that swings out over steps down is a serious fall hazard.

The "Continue Reading" link Or see STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS - home = given above will give you access to more model codes for both interior and exterior stairs.

Question: not enough room to open the storm door

(Sept 9, 2015) April I said:
Question...I have a new mobile home in a HUD approved park. Front door has 36" interior door that swings into the home. The screen/storm door swings out onto the landing. Landing is 39" in length by 39-1/2" wide. I have expressed concern that there is barely room to open the door outwards without having to step back and possibly falling 3' or 5 steps down. Contractor indicated this was built to code. I question that.


The entry landing may comply with the letter of local law: ask your building department, who have final legal say.

Often what happens is the building and entry are inspected and passed when new - for example before the outwards-opening storm door was installed. At that time, as the main door opens in, the installation would have "met code" - but with the later installation of the storm door your building department may be of another view. Or someone may have made an error or poor judgement in accepting an unsafe or inadequate entry platform size.

Reader follow-up

(Sept 9, 2015) April said:
Interior & storm door in place when stairs & landing was installed. I'll contact Martin city bldg dept to verify requirements thank y

Question: must beams supporting the stair platform extend 2x the platform length?

(Oct 4, 2015) Cari said:
It is my understanding that the beams supporting top of the stairway platform must extend 2x the length of the platform. Therfore if a landing sticks out 3.5ft, the beams must extend 3.5ft x 2 = 7ft beyond the platform. Does this change if microlam beams were used? If so, what are the regulations if microlam beams re use?



I'm uncertain of what structure you mean, but guessing you refer to a cantilevered deck or entry platform, a change from a conventional wood to glulam beams wouldn't change the cantilever ratios. What does your engineer say?

Question: can you bury stairs?

2015/10/21 Derek said:
Can you bury any or all stairs (front entrance) if below grade


I don't understand the question; certainly burying wood stairs invites rot and stair collapse -safety hazards; burying a masonry or concrete stair followed by providing the requried stair landing platform at the "new" bottom step might work in some circumstances.


(Oct 26, 2015) David said:
what is the code for a patio door leading out I thought you didn't have to have a landing if the patio room is less than 36'' off of ground

(Oct 28, 2015) Cassie said:
What height does a step need to be leading from a front room out to a balcony? Also, is it ok to have to step up onto a ledge before stepping down on to the balcony floor?

Question: code violation to have a door on basement stairs in a house hallway?

(Nov 27, 2015) Jennifer said:
Is it a code violation to have a door on basement stairs in a house hallway?

(Dec 7, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have a finished basement at the bottom of the landing. What is the code for the door to that area which is on the left? I believe that I should be able to enter them have the door enter the room


Certainly it's common to find, in a hallway, a door opening to basement stairs. The door should not swing out over stairs unless there is a landing platform. Usually the door opens into the hallway.

Anon: I don't have a clear picture of your case, but if you are asking about a door opening onto a landing, you'll need more landing space than if the door opens into the room accessed from the Landing.

Take a look at the UK Stair regulations at PLATFORMS & LANDINGS, ENTRY & STAIR for a good example of making sure that the swing of a door does not intrude into the required landing space at the top or bottom of a stairway.

Question: design for a "gathering stair"

(Dec 16, 2015) Stephanie said:
I'm working on a school project that has a Gathering Stair where the treads are 3' deep and risers are 18" high. The students will "gather" and work or relax on the deep treads. We have walking stairs on either side with railings... the Owner is asking if in the gathering area with the larger treads/risers if we can have people in chairs when they're having performances and may have older adults visiting and wanting to sit on actual chairs instead of the deep treads. Is this allowed by code? If the chairs are 18" we would have 18" of walking space until the edge of the next riser.



I've thought about this, looked for regulations, and have not found a clear guideline; I think you'd want to

1. look at theatre regulations for steps, rails, falling hazards
2. discuss a design with an architect or engineer
3. see what your local building department is willing to accept

The problem is that you're using an area for both seating and walking. Seated people aren't likely to fall down a stair or off of a ledge, but walking along what amounts to a bleachers or stairs with an 18" drop is hazardous.

Question: omit the stair landing platform ?

(Jan 8, 2016) Pete said:
We are converting a room in our basement into living space. The existing stairs leading down to the basement is or concern. As you walk down the stairs, the foundation wall Is directly in front of you. Currently, there is a large platform that serves as the bottom step. If we were able to omit that platform and extend the steps further, how much clearance would we need between the face of the bottom step and the foundation wall?



Check with your local building inspector as she is the final authority; I expect she (or he) will want at least 36" in the direction of travel in the U.S. or at least 400 mm of travel in the U.K. Other countries have similar guidelines.

Question: door from garage into home

(Jan 18, 2016) John said:
I have an interior door that allows entry from the home into the garage. The door opens inward into the home. There is a landing platform on the floor of the garage that is 4 inches higher than the rest of the garage floor . The landing platform however is not as wide as the door opening. In fact, it is about two inches short of being as wide as the door. This seems to be dangerous for someone stepping out of the home into the garage

. I am worried that someone will open the door and step out to the left into the garage and fall on the platform because it is not as wide as the door. Is this a violation or dangerous in your opinon.


John, it's your local code inspector who can legally declare some condition a violation.

My view is your platform may be a bit narrow, but I do long have all the data. Eg. If the shortfall of 2 in. Is not in a direction of travel it may not be much of a risk.

Question: vertical lift near stair in a chemical lab

(Feb 10, 2016) Engr A Rahman said:
I have a chemical lab floor of a building here have a vertical lift near to the stair, I want to open lift door (Lift opening) at the perpendicular of the stair landing is it possible as per compliance? Landing width is 4 feet.


I can't say Mr. Rahman as your local building codes will specify the travel distance and clearance required at the elevator opening. In my opinion the landing sounds a bit small, particularly as it needs to accomodate both people waiting for the lift and people passing on the stair.

Question: different riser height for last step up to or down to a landing?

(Feb 14, 2016) jim said:
can the riser height at either the top or bottom step of a stairway vary beyond the allowed 3/8 difference if it has a legal platform in which to step off on


All step riser heights should be the same within the tolerance we've stated.

So the riser height from platform or landing to the next tread up or down should be the same as the rest of the step riser heights.

However: the riser height from the platform itself to the continued-walking surface can be different.

Question: sliding door at top of stairs?

(Feb 26, 2016) craig said:
i want to know if i can put a sliding door at the top of my stairs ,There is no landing area on the way up the stairs ?


In my opinion a sliding door may eliminate the problem of clearance for a door to swing out over a top landing, but you still need a top landing. Exiting a building floor directly onto a step seems to me to be a trip hazard. Other stair people may not agree.

The final authority is your local building department.

Question: How much clearance is required at the bottom of a set of stairs?

(Mar 3, 2016) Jeet said:
How much clearance is required at the bottom of a set of stairs?

My planned basement stairs is bounded by the foundation wall on the left, as you travel down. That same foundation wall has a box housing wires spliced together and our electrical panel on it, about 26 inches from the last step (in the direction of travel, though the main part of the room it opens up into is to the right). Is that a big enough "landing"?

Does it matter that there are other ways in/out of the basement, so this stairwell isn't the only egress?


In the U.S. at least 36" in the direction of travel in the U.S. or at least 400 mm of travel in the U.K.

Question: clearance is required between the bottom of the stair and any adjacent equipment?

(Mar 17, 2016) Ron said:
At the bottom of a 30" wide fixed industrial stair how much clearance is required between the bottom of the stair and any adjacent equipment?


See the landing and direction of travel guidelines above. Still it won't make any sense to me for equipment to obstruct access to the stairway around the landing. Sounds unsafe.

Question: andings required at all exterior doors?

(Apr 4, 2016) Anonymous said:
are exterior landings required at all exterior doors?


Yes in any code enforcement jurisdiction I've seen - for residential buildings. Obviously not at a barn.

Question: How narrow can stairs be leading into the house from the garage

(Apr 7, 2016) Tom Petzinger said:
How narrow can stairs be leading into the house from the garage. There are three steps. I can put a rail on both sides. The door swings inside away from the stairs


Tom see the minimum stair dimensions at


(May 10, 2016) Frank said:
In the backyard with sliding glass doors do I need to have a landing for a two step going in and out of the backyard from the house



I recommend a landing at the bottom of any stair set as do model building codes.

Often stair codes don't require a landing at a sliding door to outside as the presumption is the indoor floor serves that purpose.

The "requirement" for a landing is in the hands of your local building code compliance inspector.


2016/06/20 L Dunst said:
We have stairs in our living room and are planning on putting a partition wall up to block sound traveling up stairs and to also stop heat loss. My question is- would a door put at the bottom of the stairs pass British building regs? There are no other doors to obstruct this door. Thanks for your help.


L Dunst

U.K. Stair codes do discuss the requirement for a landing (or in my words, walking space) at the bottom of a stairway. Your landing has to be at least 400 mm in dimension in the direction of travel at the foot of the stairway; the swing of your door, if it opens towards the landing, has to not intrude into that space.

That means that if your door were about 90 cm wide, your landing would have to be 400 + 900 or 1300 mm

Or you can have the door swing "out" away from the stair.

I'll repeat your question and include a link to the U.K. stair code in PLATFORMS & LANDINGS, ENTRY & STAIR

so that you can read details. See the discussion of doors and landings at stairs on page 19. - give me about another 10 minutes.

Stair Landing & Platform Article Contents


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