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LETTER: Lack of residential handrails a safety issue

Newer units in Fonthill violate building code, says reader
One of the residences along Port Robinson Road that lacks safety features required under the Ontario Building Code, according to reader Ed Weerdenburg.

PelhamToday was copied on the following open letter to Pelham's Chief Building Official, Mark Zimmer, regarding alleged building code violations on Port Robinson Road:

In light of recent articles in PelhamToday regarding the manner and method of residential construction in Pelham, I thought that you should be made aware of some apparent Ontario Building Code (OBC) contraventions at some recently constructed dwelling units within the Town of Pelham. The addresses for the dwelling units are 142, 144, 146, 148, 150, and 152 Port Robinson Rd.

OBC Article Required Handrails, specifies the requirements for handrails in Part 9, Houses and Small Buildings. OBC Clause (b)  specifies that exterior stairs with more than 3 risers shall be provided with a handrail when the stairs serve a single dwelling unit.

As illustrated in the attached photos, the exterior stairs at 142, 144, 146, and 150 have 4 risers and the exterior stairs at 148 and 152 have 5 risers. As all the exterior stairs at these dwelling units have more than 3 risers a handrail is required at the front exterior stairs. As no handrail has been provided on the exterior stairs, these dwelling units are not in compliance with OBC handrail requirements.

OBC Article Required Guards, specifies the requirements for guards in Part 9 buildings. OBC Clause (1) (a), specifies that the surface of exterior porches and landings shall be protected by a guard on each side which is not protected by a wall and where there is a difference in elevation of more than 600mm between the walking surface and the adjacent surface.

The front porch/landing floor surfaces at 148 and 152 are more than 600mm above the adjacent grade surfaces. As no guards have been provided on the open unprotected sides of the porch/landing floor surfaces of these dwelling units, they are not in compliance with OBC guard requirements.

OBC Article Conditions for Residential Occupancy, specifies the minimum requirements that must be completed in order to permit occupancy of a residential building. OBC Subclause (b) (i), specifies that all  required handrails and guards must be complete, operational, and inspected in order to permit occupancy of a residential building.

All of the above dwelling units are occupied and are not in compliance with OBC occupancy requirements for handrails and guards. Both handrails and guards serve as vital safety features in buildings to prevent occupants from falling and injuring themselves.

As such, I trust that you will review the above information and take the pertinent measures to remedy the OBC contraventions by contacting the builder/contravenor to initiate the necessary modifications to ensure these recently constructed dwelling units are in compliance with the OBC.

Ed Weerdenburg