Question: A year ago we installed curving, colored, patterned front steps and a landing for a new home. One of the 14-inch treads turned out to have more pitch than the others—1 inch at one location. It was an accident on our part but we have always told customers that we won't exceed 10% pitches. At the time of occupancy the city inspector approved our work but now the homeowner wants a financial concession from us. How is responsibility defined in a situation like this?
Answer: Final authority probably rests with the city code officials where the home was constructed and in your case the city has already approved the construction. But you should know that the International Residential Code (IRC) has been approved by almost every state in the U.S. now and these are their provisions. The 2006 revision in section 311.5.5 states that pitches for step treads shall not exceed 2%. This is equivalent to a pitch of 1/4 inch per lineal foot.
The issue is a little more complicated because the IRC rule applies to the “means of egress” which defines one primary entrance. This is usually at the front of a house. If steps are non-conforming at other entrances a code official may decide that they do not have to comply.
When a certificate of occupancy is issued and it is later discovered that there is a non-compliant element of the construction, code officials can issue in writing a revocation of a certificate of occupancy which means that the problem must be rectified before occupancy is again granted.
Your company needs to think in terms of 2% tread pitches as the standard. With regards to minimum pitch, water essentially stands still at pitches less than 1% (1/8 inch per lineal foot). ratio). The architect for the project specified both integral color and color hardener—each of the same color and supplied by the L.M. Scofield Co., which had also supplied the color for the original work 20 years earlier.