Top 5 Considerations in Commercial Handrail Repair or Replacement

Adam Robinson | Jan 18, 2022

Handrails are an integral part of any commercial real estate. They provide safety and security for the building’s employees and clients who interact with the building. Commercial handrails offer support for those who require it, and when installed on the rooftops of buildings, can also prevent fall hazards. However, factors such as constant usage by patrons, weather conditions, and more can cause wear and tear, leading to repairs or replacement. But apart from damage, there are a few other factors to consider when facing a commercial handrail repair or replacement. This blog will explore a few of the things to think about when fixing or replacing commercial handrails. 

1. Is the Railing for a Walkway, Stairwell, or Balcony?

Commercial handrails are different depending on where they are placed, per OSHA Standards. Various locations in buildings have different requirements. 

  • Walkways – Walkway handrails are required to have a projection no more than 4.5.” Circular railings must have a diameter between 0.25 – 2 inches. Non-circular rails require a perimeter of at least 4” but no more than 6.25”, and they must run along the elevation.
  • Stairwell – Railings running along a stairwell must be 30 inches above the ground while going along its elevation. A circular railing should be at least 1.25”, but no more than 2 ⅝” in diameter. Non-circular railings should have edges with a .125” radius.
  • Balconies – Railings along balconies must be at least 30” from the surface. Railings on balconies must have balusters and an ornamental pattern with a sphere that is 4” in diameter.

Before scheduling a commercial handrail repair or replacement, be sure to inspect your handrails and determine their logistics, such as measurements and materials, so that the expert can plan accordingly.

2. How Will the Railing Be Supported?

 Many railings are required to have a mid rail to provide extra sturdiness. These can also serve as support for small children. Along with this, regularly maintaining and cleaning the handrails will ensure their longevity and, as a byproduct, will improve the aesthetic of the building. If appropriate, there’s also the option to strengthen the handrails with concrete ensuring that the railing will be stationary.

3. What Are the Load Requirements for the Commercial Handrail?

Commercial handrails should withstand a load of at least 50 pounds throughout or a concentrated weight of 200 pounds if placed atop the railing itself. Inspectors cannot test these requirements, so the building managers must provide engineering data that confirms the same. 

4. Is the Rail Cost to Repair Going to Exceed a Likely Replacement Cost?

When deciding whether to do a commercial handrail repair or a replacement, it is important to inspect the condition of the railing. For example, if the handrail on a concrete stairwell is damaged to the point where the “repair” basically turns into a full-on replacement job, says Angi.com, it’s much cheaper to get a new one installed. So the managers need to make that executive decision based on what makes the most sense for the safety of others.

5. How Much Will Long-Term Maintenance Cost for a Railing of a Specified Type?

Depending on the material the handrail is made from and how durable it is, the cost of maintenance will vary. Rails can be made of anything ranging from strong metals like aluminum and zinc to plastics, vinyl, and even wood. The resilience of every substance will vary, which will factor heavily into the cost of installation and maintenance. 

Make Better Handrail Repair and Replacement Decisions by Choosing the Right Partner

Finding the right commercial handrail repair specialist can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. JOBS Group connects you with licensed experts who specialize in specific aspects of facilities management, including handrail repairs and replacements. Request a consultation with The Valcourt to get started.

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