You must ensure that your steps conform with current UK building rules, whether you are planning a whole new staircase or simply a restoration of your old stair balustrade. Many older staircases may not meet today’s safety or aesthetic requirements, so replacing handrails, spindles, and newel posts can allow you to bring your staircase up to date in terms of both safety and appearance. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important elements to remember about private domestic stairs:
Pitch of the stairs
For safety, the stair pitch, or steepness, is critical. Every step must be flat, with the same ascent (height) and descent (direction) (depth). For example, you can’t have 190mm for the first four risers and 200mm for the remainder since the user would be confused.
If there is a landing halfway up the steps, this rule does not apply, and each segment of the staircase might be addressed individually. This, however, is not advised.
The following measures are permissible:
Any step shall have a maximum rise, or height, of 220mm and a minimum of 150mm.
A minimum going, or depth, of 220mm is required for each step, with a maximum going of 300mm.
The maximum pitch, or steepness, must be less than 42 degrees.
breadth of the stairwell
There is no minimum width requirement for a household staircase, believe it or not. However, to ensure that your stairs are visually appealing and pleasant to use, they should be at least 800mm wide, with the ideal width falling between 850mm and 950mm.
The commonly acknowledged minimum width for loft conversions is 600mm, while between 700mm and 750mm is recommended.
If necessary, each level of a stairwell that changes direction can be made a different width.
length of the stairwell
In a straight line, a flight of stairs can have up to 36 risers, or steps. They should then shift direction by at least 30 degrees. This is to prevent somebody from tumbling all the way down to the bottom of the steps if they fall.
A landing can be a level platform when the stairs change direction, or it can be a section of the floor at the top or bottom of the steps. The landing must be at least as broad and deep as the narrowest portion of the stairwell for safety reasons. Except on the bottom floor, where a modest gradient (up to 1:60) is permissible, all landings must be totally level. Furthermore, no door shall be able to swing closer to the front of any step than 400mm.
There’s plenty of headroom.
At all times, both on and off the steps, a minimum headroom of 2m is required. The available headroom for loft conversions will fulfil building rules if the height in the centre of the staircase is at least 1.9m and does not drop below 1.8m at the side of the steps.
If you’re having serious problems with your loft stairs, certain building control officers may be more tolerant, but you should always check with them first.
If your staircase is less than 1m wide, you must have a railing on at least one side, and if it is bigger than that, you must have a handrail on both sides. The first two steps up from the bottom do not require a railing, but beyond that, you must ensure that there is a handrail on any exposed areas of the staircase to safeguard individuals travelling up and down.
The height of the handrail should be between 900mm and 1000mm from the pitch line to the top of the railing. (A pitch line is an imaginary line drawn across the tops of the treads that depicts the staircase’s slope from top to bottom.)
Keep in mind the chasm
A 100mm sphere must not be able to pass through any aperture on a stairway, according to one of the most essential standards aimed at safeguarding little children and preventing falls. This implies that the spindles, or balusters, should not be too widely apart, and that any large gaps between open risers should be filled with riser bars to make the spaces smaller.
Stair balustrades should also be built to discourage youngsters from climbing up them. As a result, horizontal stair rails on old-fashioned “ranch style” bannisters should be replaced with vertical spindles.
Please keep in mind that these laws only apply to residences in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own set of construction rules.