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Stair railings a necessary safety feature

Dennis Parolin, President, Dufferin Iron & Railings
Monday, August 26, 2013

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.

Dennis Parolin is president of Dufferin Iron & Railings. He can be reached at [email protected].

One thought on “Stair railings a necessary safety feature

  1. As a property manager, there is no question in my mind that an owner must do his/her due diligence to ensure that every residents' home is safe from potential harm. We have heard enough stories of how children have fallen through balconies, and through open windows. We should not wait until someone falls through a stairwell railing – especially if they are trying to evacuate a building in the event of an emergency – before owners and the city makes this issue a priority. Whichever city department is involved in inspections should be proactive and advise owners of their obligations and then enforce the law. Every owner should be treated equally. The law is the law!

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