Building Regulations For Stairs – Staircase British Standards

staircase british regulations and standards

Staircases come in all sizes, shapes and materials and can be custom made to suit your property. However, it’s important to make sure that your new staircase not only looks great, but that it’s also safe to use – that’s where stair regulations come in.

Staircase Regulations UK

Like most home improvement projects in the UK, installing a new staircase is regulated by government building regulations for safety purposes. The rules and guidelines for staircase regulations are covered in Building Regulations Park K: Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact. Here are the latest UK staircase building regulations according to Park K:

  • If staircases are less than one metre wide they should have a handrail on at least one side.
  • Staircases more than one metre must have handrails on both sides.
  • The height of handrails should be between 900 and 100mm.
  • Gaps between the handrails should not be big enough to allow a 100mm sphere to pass through them.
  • There must be a landing at the top and bottom of every staircase.
  • The landing must be wider than the width of the staircase.
  • Landings should be level; however, a ground floor landing can have a gradient of no more than 1:20.
  • Doors should not open more than 400mm onto the front of any step.
  • Domestic staircases shouldn’t be more than 36 steps long; another staircase must be installed separated by a landing if you need more length.
  • There must be at least two metres headroom around all parts of the staircase.
  • There are no regulations for the minimum width of a staircase.
  • For loft conversion staircases, there are some additional building regulations to adhere to: there should be two metres headroom at the top of the stairs. Since the opening into the loft will mean cutting away some of the joists, supporting timber trimmers should be placed around the opening to transfer the weight of the ceiling.
  • All steps must have the same rise (gap between one step and the next).
  • The maximum rise of a step should be 220mm.
  • The length of the step (referred to as the ‘going’) should be a minimum of 220mm and a maximum of 220mm.
  • The pitch of a domestic staircase (how steep it is) should be a maximum of 42 degrees.
  • All steps should be level.
  • The edges of steps, referred to as the lip or nosing, should be at least 16mm.
  • Open rises, which are steps with a gap between them, should be constructed so that a 100mm sphere can’t fit through them.
  • Spiral staircase building regulations are slightly different. If it acts as your main staircase (meaning it serves two or more rooms), a spiral staircase should be 800mm wide with a maximum rise of 220mm; the length of the steps should be at least 190mm. If the staircase is only a secondary one and serves only one room though, it should be 60mm wide with a rise of 220mm and step length of no more than 145mm.

Types of Stairs – Straight, Wide, Arched and Spiral Staircases

Bear all of these regulations in mind when choosing what kind of staircase to install. A straight staircase is the most common and practical option but you can go for winder staircases which have a 90 and 180 degree turn in them. Arched staircases, which curve gently upwards are another option while spiral staircases are also popular for aesthetic appeal; however, they can be dangerous and it’s not recommended that they are used as a main domestic staircase. If you need to save space, compact stairs can be a good option but it’s important to make sure that they comply with building regulations. Speak to a staircase installer or architect for more information about what type of staircase will best suit your property.


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