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Handrail Height & Australian Standards

To comply with Australian Building Code; handrail heights, when a handrail should be used and how it should be affixed are outlined in this article. Intrim provide a range of timber handrail systems for commercial and high end residential applications, designed and made in Australia.

Contact our handrail experts

1st April 2022


Handrails are physical rails that serve to be held onto as one moves along landings or surfaces that pose the risk of injury due to falls. The Australian Building Code stipulates the requirements, and this can vary depending on the building type classification.  

A handrail height Australian Standard states it should not be less than 865mm from the nosing of the stair treads and the floor surface of the ramp.


We recommend a minimum of 900mm and maximum of 1100mm

Platforms or landings above 4m from the ground required additional requirements for the balustrade.

There are many different handrail systems, learn more here.

This will depend on the type of building and which classification it falls into, and also the height of the of the fall from the surface which you are standing.

When is the handrail required?

As a minimum requirement, internal handrails to a stairway flight or ramp must be provided on at least one side of the stairway or ramp and for the full length of the stairway flight or ramp. It must be continuous and have no obstructions that will tend to break a handhold except for a newel post or ball type stanchion.

In Class 9a, Health-care buildings a handrail must be provided along at least one side of the passage way or corridor used by patients, and must be;

  1. Fixed not less than 50mm clear of the wall: and
  2. Where practicable, continuous for their full length

In Class 9c, aged care buildings a handrail must be provided along both sides of every passageway or corridor used by residents, and must be;

  1. Fixed not less than 50mm clear of the wall; and
  2. Where practicable, continuous for their full length

Handrails in Aged Care Building

Not only is there a requirement in the building code for handrails in age care, there are many other practical benefits.

Learn more here

What is the minimum handrail height in Australia?

 Handrail height for stairs according to the Australian standards is the height of a handrail above the floor or the nosing of a stair tread, shall be no less than 865mm.

On a landing where fall from height is significant the height of the guardrail must be at least 1000 mm.

Balustrade requirements

In a general corridor our recommended handrail height is 900mm.

What are the hand railing safety requirements?

The height of the handrail is outlined in the Australian Building code. This is outlined above.

The way the hand railing is affixed to the support structure must be compliant with AS1428. 1-2009

See our how to install hospital timber handrails here.

We recommend:

  • A 40mm diameter Dowl handrail must be fixed to the wall at a minimum of 900mm centres between the supports.
  • A 50mm diameter dowel handrail must be fixed the wall at a minimum of 1200mm centres.

How many stairs before a handrail is required?

A handrail is required for staircases, platforms or landings above 1 metre from the ground. This will be 4 risers and 3 treads of a compliant staircase.

A handrail is also required for ramps more than 2m.

Do outdoor steps need a handrail?

Yes, the same requirements are applicable for outside & inside the building

If you have any questions on handrail systems do not hesitate to contact our team at or via phone on 1800 622 081


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