Need a professional opinion with the height of my pool stairs!

Dec 10, 2020
5
Sacramento
Hello there. Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my pool question. The gunnite is shot in my pool and my bottom pool riser is 16 inches from the floor of the pool to the first step. According to local code, the bottom riser doesn't have a maximum height while all the other stairs maximum is 12 inches. The contractor is saying they did what they were supposed to but I can't find anything online with someone that has a 16 inch final step into the pool. We are able bodied people in our 40's with young children (that can climb up anything) but are concerned when our parents and grandparents come use our pool that they will struggle. The contractor is telling me that we will be more buoyant coming out of the water with our legs fully submerged, which I understand but wanted a professional opinion.

Can you help? They came to us today and said for another $1k they can split the bottom riser in half to create two 8 inch steps.

Thank you so much in advance.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
22,001
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

Yup, a 16" step is high and would not be allowed in any commercial pool. Your PB should have known better.

I would negotiate with the PB to change it for $500 although may PBs doen't charge more to fix thsoe type of mess ups.
 
Dec 10, 2020
5
Sacramento
Welcome to TFP.

Yup, a 16" step is high and would not be allowed in any commercial pool. Your PB should have known better.

I would negotiate with the PB to change it for $500 although may PBs doen't charge more to fix thsoe type of mess ups.
Thank you for the response. I wonder if it's different by region? They certainly don't think that they made a mistake which is the challenge!
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,968
Chapel Hill, NC
If you can get some documentation that this is not a "Best Practice" for swimming pools (such as the reference above to commercial pools), that will eat into his "opinion" that he didn't make a mistake. Prices differ by region and builder, but a mistake is a mistake.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
22,001
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Thank you for the response. I wonder if it's different by region? They certainly don't think that they made a mistake which is the challenge!
The International Building Code is the model that many jurisdictions adopt or modify for their use...


See 809.5.2

Pool steps .png
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
463
Bryan TX
Stairs were a big issue in our pool build.
What the builder could do it smooth the bottom of the pool up to the steps -- If that'll be easier than making another step.
He's also right in that buoyancy helps. You could have him compromise and put in a handrail.
 
Dec 10, 2020
5
Sacramento
The International Building Code is the model that many jurisdictions adopt or modify for their use...


See 809.5.2

View attachment 170637
Thank you. He keeps talking about local code of which they have met those requirements.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,972
Some codes references say that the bottom riser can vary and some code references don’t allow it to vary. The local inspector should be able to quote you the exact code requirements that apply to your pool.

16.36.050 Adoption of the Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code.

The 2009 Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code as published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, hereinafter referred to as “Swimming Pool Code,” is hereby adopted and incorporated by reference herein. (SCC 1475 § 15, 2011.)

https://building.saccounty.net/Public Documents/SP-01 Construction Requirements for Swimming Pools and Spas.pdf
Stairs shall be constructed of corrosion-resistant material and shall be equipped with slip-resistant tread surfaces. Each stair shall have a tread depth of not less than 10 inches (254 mm), risers shall have a uniform height of not more than 7 inches (178 mm), and treads shall have a width of not less than 24 inches (610 mm).

610.5.1 Uniform height of 9 inches. Except for the bottom riser, risers at the centerline shall have a maximum uniform height of 9 inches (229 mm). The bottom riser height shall be permitted to vary from the other risers.
411.2.2 Risers. Risers, except for the bottom riser, shall have a uniform height of not greater than 12 inches (305 mm) measured at the centerline. The bottom riser height is allowed to vary to the floor
3111B.4 Recessed steps and step risers. Ladder treads and recessed steps shall have a minimum tread of 5 inches and a width of 14 inches and shall be designed to be readily cleaned. Step risers shall be uniform and shall not exceed 12 inches in height.

Stairs shall be constructed of corrosion-resistant material and shall be equipped with slip-resistant tread surfaces. Each stair shall have a tread depth of not less than 10 inches (254 mm), risers shall have a uniform height of not more than 7 inches (178 mm), and treads shall have a width of not less than 24 inches (610 mm).

 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,162
Morris Cnty NJ
They should have adjusted the risers to add another stair and equaled them out. More than 12" isn't good amd its suprising to people using stairs to have a large change, as most develop a sub-conscious rhythm when using any stairs and they feel for a similar step stride
 

joepaiii

Well-known member
May 16, 2013
267
Allen, TX
Thanks for responding. I talked with our local inspector and he communicated that there is no code for the first step out of the pool/last step into the pool due to the buoyancy.
How deep is it at that 16 inch step? 16 inches is really tall... not sure I would want that. But I don't think having two 8 inch steps and then 12 inch steps is the right answer either. They should all be fairly similar, that is standard practice for any steps pool or not. Anyone trying to tell you differently is full of it. What if they take 2-3 inches off the top - then you get 14 and 14 inch steps? Your goal should be getting them all as close to same rise as possible.
 
Dec 10, 2020
5
Sacramento
How deep is it at that 16 inch step? 16 inches is really tall... not sure I would want that. But I don't think having two 8 inch steps and then 12 inch steps is the right answer either. They should all be fairly similar, that is standard practice for any steps pool or not. Anyone trying to tell you differently is full of it. What if they take 2-3 inches off the top - then you get 14 and 14 inch steps? Your goal should be getting them all as close to same rise as possible.
good idea but that wouldn't be to our local code. The max height for steps is 12" except for the bottom one where there is no maximum.