Top 6 Staircase Building Regulations to Remember When Interior Designing

When designing a staircase, it is vital to acknowledge the building regulations that dictate what you can and cannot do. While a staircase can be a luxurious central feature for your property it can also be very dangerous if it is not designed and installed properly. These are the top 6 most impactful building regulations on staircase design.

1. Maximum Staircase Pitch

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The pitch is essentially how steep your staircase can be. If the pitch is too low, then the footprint of the staircase will be too big, and it will not fit inside the property. Yet if the pitch is too high then climbing the staircase will feel more like scaling a cliff. To keep the stairs at a climbable angle, UK Building regulations allow a maximum pitch of 42°.

2. The 400mm Door Rule

landing size, uk landing, uk building regulations

We are taught as children never to play with doors because it is smart advice. Doors represent plenty of opportunities for accidents, this is compounded when combined with a staircase. Being knocked over by a wayward swinging door could have disastrous consequences if a staircase is nearby. Addressing this possible safety concern, regulations instruct that no door may swing within 400mm onto the front of any step.

3. Handrail Height

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This one is a point go ergonomics as well as safety. Apart from the treads, the handrail is the part of a staircase that is interacted with the most. It needs to be strong, reliable, and within reach. If the handrail is too high, then people will not be able to reach it. If the handrail is too low, then it is not only awkward to use but also presents the risk of falling over the balustrade. To keep the handrail, in the perfect ergonomic range, it should be installed between 900mm and 1,000mm above the pitch line of the flight. The pitch line runs up the flight, connecting the edge of each tread.

4. The 100mm Gap Rule

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This is a rule that can trip people up quite often while designing their staircase. This rule dictates that there cannot be a gap in a staircase that is 100mm or larger. This primarily applies to the gap between spindles (balusters) but it also applies to the gap between treads in a design with open risers. This regulation was brought in to minimise the potential for a child’s head to slip through balusters, or feet to fall through open risers. This rule may scupper the overall aesthetic you desired but it is essential for a safer staircase.

5. The Headroom Rule

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Being over 6 foot can be a curse. There are few things worse than cracking your head on the ceiling as you walk down a staircase. It can also be extremely difficult to move furniture up a staircase when the ceiling is in the way. The headroom rule dictates that there must be at least 2 metres of headroom all along a staircase. The distance is measured between the ceiling and the pitch line. The pitch line is an imaginary line that runs the full length of the staircase from tread-edge to tread-edge.

6. The Staircase Width Rule

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There are not actually any official directions for the minimum width of a domestic staircase, though we at Pear Stairs recommend not going narrower than 860mm. An important regulation to consider is how many handrails you will require. If a staircase is over 1,000mm wide than it will need a handrail on both sides. Yet, if a staircase is under 1,000mm then one handrail will suffice.

For more on building regulations, including staircase regulations for public and general-access properties, click here. To start designing your very own staircase, try the online Staircreator here or to speak with the Pear Stairs design team call 01938 553311.