When should stairwell railings be updated?
Stairwell railings need to be replaced when they do not meet the Ontario Building Code, which was put into place to prevent personal injury. It’s particularly important to ensure railings in emergency exit stairwells are up to code so that tenants don’t fall or get hurt during a building evacuation. The building code states that railings must be a certain height, with a specific distance between vertical pickets. Also, they can not be climbable.
The Ontario Building Code not only protects tenants but also the building owner from liability and/or negligence. Changing railings to meet code assures that the building owner will pass current and/or future building inspections with respect to their interior railings. Generally, the one-time cost to replace railings is between one and two per cent of a building’s gross rental income for a year.
It is always in the best interest of the property owner to be proactive when dealing with the City of Toronto’s multi-residential apartment building (MRAB) audit and enforcement program, particularly when there are shareholders involved in their corporations. Changing the railings to meet code not only meets the health and safety standards for their tenants but also ensures the landlord will not have any financing issues with lenders as they have no outstanding work audits on their holdings.