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Continuous Handrail- When is it required?

When it comes regulations for residential stairs, there is a common misconception that the handrail needs to be continuous down the entire staircase. The aim of this article is to explain the BCA regulations in relation to handrail on a stair and clarify exactly what is required to comply with the codes.


The BCA Codes 2014 state that, for a residential building, a handrail needs to be continuous on each flight of stairs. However, it does not need to be continuous on the landing between flights. Flight means that part of a stair that has a continuous series of risers and treads, including risers of winders, not interrupted by a landing or floor.

Winders refer to treads within a straight flight that are used to change direction of the stair. A continuous handrail is required on a winder, except in cases where there is a newel post installed to provide a handhold. A newel post is an upright post that supports the handrail and staircase.  See FIG 1.0 below for an illustrated explanation of flights, landings and winders. Also, FIG 1.1 explains some commonly used stair terminology. 

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