Help - need to construct temporary saftey railing for porch?

piscesgirlOctober 25, 2013

Posted this on the porch forum, but figured I would try here as well. We desperately need some help.

We had our front porch and sidewalk redone with flagstone as well as an bathroom renovation done in our house. We just started to refinance our house two weeks ago.

Long story short...we don't have the front porch railing in yet and the bank won't approve the loan without a railing. All the local ironwork companies in our area are giving me a 4 - 10 week turnaround time so we have to "temporarily" install something else and then have the appraiser come back out to approve it meets code.

Our mortgage broker is telling me to install a wooden railing until we can put the iron railing in it's place. Anyone know how we can construct a "temporary" wood railing to pass code? We can't secure it to the flagstone and I really don't want to drill into our brick house to secure it. Would posts in the ground along side the steps and around the landing suffice? Do the post have to be set in concrete?

More Details: Our porch (and house) are brick with flagstone treads and landing. The porch is about 3.5' tall and the entry is from the side, so we would need to construct a stair railing up the left side and then have it wrap around the landing to the house (L shape). The flagstone landing extends out past the porch so there is a lip and we would not be able to sit posts directly against the porch.

Thanks! I really don't want our refy to fall through.

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To obtain an occupancy permit (where required) or pass final inspection, looks wouldn't count. So, as you suggest, a temporary fence around the porch anchored to posts into the ground would usually be sufficient. There's no reason it has to be anchored onto the house.

But you should really be asking the appraiser on this. (New to me that an appraiser fancies himself a building inspector as well.)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Fist of all, have defined,"meets code", in writing, on letter head, and signed, because meeting code can require substantially more detail then a construction railing.

If the defined meets code is more than a construction railing, than consider materials which can be re-purposed around the yard.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 3:32PM
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It is important to understand that typical building codes like the IRC do not require a "railing", they require two elements: a "handrail" and a "guard". The guard is required wherever the walking surface is higher than 30" above grade and must be a minimum of 36" in height and a 4" diameter ball cannot pass through it. Another section requires a handrail along one side of a stair between 34" and 38" above the nosings. For a residential property the handrail qualifies as a guard on the stair. Both systems are required by code to be "positively anchored to the primary structure".

It's possible that a good designer could design a wood or composite system that you would not want to replace but without knowing what the house looks like I can't tell you more.

Is their some way of blocking this entrance and using another one for now?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Try contacting the bank's inspector. Explain the situation and see if they have any solutions.

I've seen/done temporary railings for that purpose. They look terrible, but code has no decorating requirements.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 8:30PM
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The appraiser who came to our house told us that the railing is something the bank specifically looks for and stated that he needed to disclose this to the bank. He told us the bank required anything higher than 3 feet to have a railing and that we were at 3 1/2 feet. Funny because here you say 30" and he said 3 feet.

Our mortgage broker called and said that we need to have a second "completion appraisal". Apparently the appraiser will come back out to the house and check it out and report back to the bank. I have left a message for the appraiser to see what he suggests we do.

My husband and I thought at the very least we can just build up a half a foot of soil in front of the walkway. He also mentioned about taping it off with caution tape and not have it be used but I am afraid that won't "pass". Plus with it being Halloween soon it may just look like halloween decor.

So my question here is if we do have to construct some sort of wood railing how would we go about doing so and have it be secure and can it be done without securing it to the house or porch?


    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 8:53PM
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It obviously must be secured to the house and it must not allow a 4" sphere to pass through it. Forget tape, block the entry and use another door if they will accept it.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Well lets see.
Do you want to barricade your entrance, set up a table, chairs, a temp. cover, a couple of gallons of your favorite beverage and pass your treats out there.

Spend 5 or $600 on a temporary barrier, which may or not advance your cause and may or may not be able to be re-purposed

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 12:34PM
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