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    Lamb's tongue

    Lamb's tongue

    New postby mtCDCcb on Wed May 27, 2015 7:04 pm

    Does a handrail that ends in an lamb's tongue meet the continuity requirements for a residential handrail? See following pictures as examples.
    http://ironanvil.net/wp-content/gallery ... -14710.jpg
    http://www.artisticrail.com/details/jpegs/ET-03.jpg
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    Re: Lamb's tongue

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed May 27, 2015 8:55 pm

    mtCDCcb wrote:Does a handrail that ends in an lamb's tongue meet the continuity requirements for a residential handrail?


    Interesting - I have never heard the term "lamb's tongue" before.

    The handrail is to be returned to the wall, floor, or newel post, or may have a starting easing, or a volute or turnout

    From the 2012 IRC (and this has remained basically unchanged for many code cycles): (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R311.7.8.2 Continuity.
    - - Handrails for stairways shall be continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly above the lowest riser of the flight. Handrail ends shall be returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals. Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) between the wall and the handrails.
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. Handrails shall be permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at the turn.
    - - - - 2. The use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or starting newel shall be allowed over the lowest tread.

    Your first photo shows a handrail end which is definitely not returned or any of the other options provided for.

    Your second photo shows a handrail end which might meet the requirements of being "returned", but I cannot tell from the photo. It really is not much better than just leaving the handrail end sticking out - somewhat better, and being as the code is a minimum requirement only, it would depend on if that is fully returned to the post. However, unless clarified differently, I am saying this one is not permitted either.

    SMA starting easing, turnout, volute, starting newel.jpg


    SMA returned to wall.jpg
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    Re: Lamb's tongue

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu May 28, 2015 10:20 am

    I thought it might be good to expand my answer above:

    Handrail ends need to be returned to help prevent (help reduce the risk of) loose clothing and other items (such as straps) from catching on the handrail end and causing or leading to a fall on a stair.

    When the handrail is returned to the wall, the loose clothing and other items are not caught on the handrail end, the loose clothing and other items can slide around and off the returned-to-the-wall end.

    With a turnout, starting easing or volute, the risk of loose clothing and other items getting caught is also reduced versus just the end of the handrail as there is a post below the starting easing, turnout or volute - whereas the end of a non-returned handrail just continues and projects straight out, and around which many things can easy get caught.

    Returning the handrail to the newel post as shown in your second photo is not the same as returning to a wall, nor is it the same terminating into a newel post where the post is at the end of the handrail.

    I am including the section from the 2012 IBC which addresses the returning of handrails as it more fully describes it and includes the returning the handrail to a wall, guard, or walking surface (floor): (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 1012.6 Handrail extensions.
    - - Handrails shall return to a wall, guard or the walking surface or shall be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent stair flight or ramp run. Where handrails are not continuous between flights, the handrails shall extend horizontally at least 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 stair flights at stairways and the ramp runs at ramps.
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 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. Aisle handrails in rooms or spaces used for assembly purposes in accordance with Section 1028.13.
    - - - - 3. Handrails for alternating tread devices and ship ladders are permitted to terminate at a location vertically above the top and bottom risers. Handrails for alternating tread devices and ship ladders are not required to be continuous between flights or to extend beyond the top or bottom risers.

    Is the handrail in your second photo considered as being 'returned to the guard' - in my opinion, not in a way which would reduce the risk of loose clothing being caught on it, but the code (the IBC) only says 'returned to the guard' and the IRC only says 'returned', I might consider the one in the second photo as being returned if it did not turn upward and back in, if it returned to the end newel post (end of the guard) and then terminated into it.
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