Hand rail height - the hand rail is only 2'2"

Discussion in 'FHA/HUD and VA' started by Scott Brooks, Aug 22, 2008.

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  1. Scott Brooks

    Scott Brooks Sophomore Member

    0
    Nov 4, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Indiana
    I haven't come across this before. The house as a curved stairway with a hand rail in an open foyer. I did not feel too comfortable at all with the rail only 2'6" tall (I am 6'3"). There was one more small step at the top landing which left the railing at only 2'2" (only a couple inches above my knee). At 6'3" I felt if I lose my balance at all I would topple over. Is it an overreaction because of my height? Should require a fix for this potential "safety issue"?
     

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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  2. G-man

    G-man Member

    0
    Feb 4, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Ohio
    Yes, it is. And no, you shouldn't.
     
  3. Mark to market

    Mark to market Junior Member

    0
    Nov 14, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    New Mexico
    Quite the contrary.

    According to International Residential Code

    Handrail height measured vertically form the slope plane adjoining the tread nosing, or finish suface of ramp slope shall be not less then 34 inches. and not more then 38 inches.
     
  4. Anthem

    Anthem Senior Member

    0
    Mar 10, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    This isn't just but about the handrail but also the lack of a knee wall at the landing, that landing in itself is a safety issue. I would let the DE UW decide,
     
  5. G-man

    G-man Member

    0
    Feb 4, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Ohio
    I've said it before.

    And I'll say it again. FHA does not require the house be brought up to a certain building code, nor does it expect their appraisers to be code enforcers. If that handrail is improperly installed, or loose & wiggly, as it looks like it came out of the Lowe's exterior fencing and handrail department, then call for it to be replaced. If not, then, in my opinion, it does not rise to the level of being replaced. It is just hideous looking.
     
  6. Mr Rex

    Mr Rex Elite Member

    29
    Jan 12, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    A too low handrail might be more dangerous than none at all, even in a world with no codes. I would note the lower than typical height conspicuously and let the DEU decide if it needs to be repaired or not. That's what 2005-48 established as the proper protocol.
     
  7. AJL118

    AJL118 Member

    0
    Jul 29, 2005
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    State:
    Florida
    Looks like the railing was ordered using take-offs from plans and not the existing stairway. The only way they could make it fit was to lower the upper end height to get it to anchor to the wall. And they got away with it. Hard to believe this wasn't caught during a walk-thru.

    You are 6' 3" which is tall but not that tall. If you were afraid you would take a Lindy over the rail, common sense would tell you to mention it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  8. RSW

    RSW Elite Member

    3
    Feb 18, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Tennessee
    I would mention it, but would not condition it to be corrected. ML 2005-48.
     
  9. John Marshall

    John Marshall Member

    0
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Georgia
    OK, you mention it, the underwriter ignores it. The homeowner has a guest fall over the railing and is seriously injured. She sues. Is the appraiser free from any liability or lawsuit? Or should he have considered it a safety issue and require replacement?
     
  10. Marcia Langley

    Marcia Langley Senior Member

    0
    Aug 26, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Missouri
    The GSE letter removed the former explicit requirement to condition for handrails. It did not change the explicit general requirement to condition for safety items.

    All that means is that the appraiser has to use his best judgement as to the seriousness of the safety issue.

    IMO, a second level balcony with no handrail is a safety issue that rises to the level of requiring repair.

    So one's judgement for a too-short rail might have the same safety hazard as a missing rail.

    IMO this one does. I would condition for it.

    If the lender and FHA disagree, they can waive my condition.

    The system works.
     
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