Handrail Return Requirements

Handrail extensions must return to a wall, itself or the walking surface.

Return to Wall Return to Itself top extension on stairs

Note: While it is a common practice to leave a gap between a wall return and the wall, some inspectors have rejected this as they consider it a return toward the wall and not a return to the wall.

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  • Hello, I was just curious what would require a handrail to have a 12″ flat bar extending out of the top and bottom of the rail away from the steps vs the rail just angling down to the ground? Thank you!

    • It’s a safety issue. Originally came out of the accessibility standards — ANSI A117.1 and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The purpose is to allow someone who is visually impaired to grasp the handrail and know that they have 12 inches before the first step will come into play.

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