AWI Standards

StandardsANSI/AWI SMA 0643-2021 - Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems

ANSI/AWI SMA 0643-2021 - Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems


American National Standard

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Wood products installed outside of climate controlled, interior environments are not governed by this standard.

Illustrations are intended to assist in understanding the standard and may not include all requirements for a specific product or unit, nor do they show the only method of fabrication. Such partial drawings shall not be used to justify improper or incomplete design and/or construction.

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Copyright © 2021 by Architectural Woodwork Institute—All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent.


(This foreword is not a part of American National Standard AWI SMA 0643 – Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems)

The ANSI/AWI SMA 0643 Wood Stair, , and Guard Systems Standard is intended to provide comprehensive guidelines for wood stairs, handrail, and guard systems.

This standard encompasses a variety of wood stair, handrail, and guard systems and establishes structural and aesthetic tolerances, ensuring that the final product is of the utmost quality with regards to visual appeal and structural integrity.

This standard is intended for use by individuals and organizations from all aspects of the wood stair industry, including architects, design professionals, stairbuilders, manufacturer/suppliers, contractors, , and end users. Individuals within the industry will use this standard to maintain a high degree of control over the aesthetic quality and the structural integrity of their work, ensuring that potential differentiations in the workmanship and implementation of projects are made uniform.

This standard is meant to function in harmony with all current AWI Standards and is not meant to stand alone.

Effective August 15, 2021, this standard succeeds, replaces, and supplants Section 7 of the Architectural Woodwork Standards, Ed. 2 (2014) as the most current version of the AWI Standard for Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems.


Suggestions for the improvement of this standard will be welcome. Suggestions should be sent to:
Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association
P.O. Box 448
Dalton, OH 44618
(877) 500-5759

AWI Standards Development:
Doug Hague, Executive Vice President
Hunter Morrison, Technical Director
Cheryl Dermyre, Technical Projects Manager
Rex Chappell, Testing Specialist
Jairus Whitley, Graphic Designer

This standard was processed and approved for submittal to ANSI by the SMA Quality Standards Committee and the AWI Technical Committee. Committee approval of the standard does not necessarily imply that all committee members voted for its approval. At the time it approved this standard, the ANSI/AWI SMA 0643 Committees had the following members:

SMA Quality Standards Committee:
Douglas Adams, Committee Chair – Florida Stairworks & Carpentry, LLC
Matthew Adams – Florida Stairworks & Carpentry, LLC
Brandon Barnes – Honorary Member
David Cooper – Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association
Terra Erb – Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association
Mitch Kolata – United Rockland Stairs
Delon Shetler – Heartland Stairways
Ed Trimner – Trimcraft of Ft Myers, Inc.
David Wynne – Lifetime Emeritus Member

AWI Technical Committee:
Greg Lutz, Committee Chair – Lutz Woodworks
Jordan Backs – Pittsburg State University
Cory Bittner – TMI Systems Corporation
Tyler Cerny – Strata Design
Randy Jensen – Leonard Peterson & Company, Inc.
Michael McNulty – Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI)
William Munyan – R&M Group Architects
Greg Parham – AWI Quality Certification Corporation (QCC)

The following organizations, recognized as having an interest in the standardization of Wood Stairs, Handrail, and Guard Systems, were contacted prior to the approval of this standard. Inclusion in this list does not necessarily imply that the organization concurred with the submittal of the proposed standard to ANSI.

Arro Consulting
Bilger Railing and Stairs
Brandon Barnes
Compass Group Architecture LLC
Compliant Systems and Design, LLC
Coriolis Design, Inc.
Crown Stair
Dressen Construction
Fabián Díaz
Florida Stairworks & Carpentry, LLC
Grass Valley Stair
International Code Council
Jepsen Construction
King & Company
L.J. Smith
Leonard Peterson & Company, Inc.
Madison Area Technical College
Mississippi State University
National Wood Flooring Association
Parks and Sons, Inc.
Prosser Career Education Center
Sargent Mill Woodworking
Schutte Stair Company, Inc.
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Southern Pine Inspection Burea
Spring Valley Millwork, Inc.
Stofft Cooney Architects
The Preview Group, Inc.
West Hartford Stairs & Cabinets Inc.
Young Manufacturing Co., Inc.

1.0 Purpose

a) Provide standards and tolerances for the quality fabrication and field installation of wood stair, , and guard systems (henceforth referred to as “Product”).

b) Establish minimum aesthetic and performance requirements intended to provide a well-defined degree of control over a project’s quality of materials, and workmanship, for the manufacture of wood stair, handrail, and guard systems.

2.0 Scope

a) Provides aesthetic and performance standards for the manufacture and installation of interior wood stair, , and guard systems for residential and commercial applications, including guard in-fill system components of metal, glass, and cable.

2.1 Included

a) Product as specified under CSI MasterFormat Divisions:

  • 06 43 00 Wood Stairs and s
2.2 Not Included

a) Substructures of materials other than wood

b) Product as specified under CSI MasterFormat Division:

  • 05 00 00 Metals
  • 06 50 00 Structural Plastics
  • 09 65 00 Resilient Flooring

c) Welding, polishing, grinding, machining, and finishing of metal components

d) Structural components, s, in-wall blocking, backing, furring, support brackets, strapping, or other anchorage that becomes an integral part of the building’s walls, floor systems, or ceilings designed to support the required live loads are not furnished or installed under the scope of this standard’s requirements.

e) Installation of Product items not specifically identified in itemized scope of work within the contract documents.

f) Providing and installing electrical related items, light fixtures, network cables, grommets and wire management systems, computer equipment, or mechanical equipment.

g) Correction of existing jobsite conditions that are required for the installation of the Product.

h) All site-applied primers, s, or other finish coatings for non-factory finished Product.

i) Filling nail or screw in unfinished or primed Product.

j) ing to fill voids between Product and pre-existing surfaces.

Optimum Climate Controlled Relative Humidity table
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