Continuing Education

Ontario Building Code Requirements for Residential Rectangular Stairs

August 4, 2020


This Technical Note covers the requirements of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) for the construction of rectangular, straight-run stairs in residential settings only. Stairs that consist of curved-runs, straight-runs with winders, or straight-runs with curved-runs are covered under a separate technical note. This technical note provides a summary of the main requirements as stipulated in the 2012 edition of the OBC and a review of any changes to these requirements throughout the years since the first edition of the OBC that came into effect in 1975.


This note was developed to help explain the various OBC requirements for rectangular straight-run residential stairs and the evolution of these requirements from the first OBC that came into effect in 1975 until the current 2012 edition of the code. The technical note also serves as a quick guide to identify the building code requirements that were applicable to rectangular stairs at the time of construction for any residential dwelling. Property owners, property management personnel, risk managers, and insurance adjusters will find this technical note to be a useful resource in identifying potential areas of concern, carry out changes that might be needed to meet the OBC requirements, and reduce the hazard of personal injury to users of the stairs.

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