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UK Staircase Designs And Safety Regulations Overview

Designing a staircase for your house build project is an important task that requires careful consideration. To be sure that a staircase design is both aesthetically and practically successful, it’s important to understand the building regulations around staircases and incorporate them into your staircase design.

We will guide you through the essential factors to consider when planning your staircase project by providing you with a thorough understanding of building regulations and the significance of incorporating them into your design. Compliance with these regulations is vital for both safety and legal requirements.

9 Considerations for Successful Staircase Specification

The success of a staircase specification holds immense power in terms of aesthetics, safety, and project reputation. To ensure a successful staircase specification, there are crucial factors that must be considered.

1. Building Regulations Compliant Staircase Specification

It is essential to adhere to regulations regarding dimensions, riser heights, tread depths, fire safety, and access. Consider different staircase layout designs and materials, such as fire-retardant-treated timber to further enhance safety and minimise fire risk.

2. Location and Space

Where the staircase will be placed should be carefully planned. Strategic placement within the property can transform the staircase into a focal point, add aesthetic value and increase the overall appeal of the property whilst optimising the area available.

3. Design and Style

The staircase design should complement the architectural style and aesthetic of the project. The right design contributes to a positive first impression and can increase the value and market perception of a project.

4. Materials and Finishes

Choosing the right materials and finishes is crucial for durability and aesthetics. High-quality, low-maintenance materials, such as redwood pine or oak, ensures better longevity. You may add details like glass balustrades to create a contemporary feel and enhance the overall design.

5. Safety Features

Properly designed handrails and balustrades that are complaints with the UK building regulations regarding height and spacing help prevent accidents. Anti-slip treads or surfaces can also be incorporated to enhance traction and prevent slipping.

6. Lighting

Design features like riser lights and low-level guide lighting not only provide clear visibility but also add visual appeal to the staircase, highlighting architectural details and accentuating the materials used.

7. Sustainability

Collaborating with suppliers who adhere to sustainable practices, such as sourcing timber from responsibly managed forests certified by organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), demonstrates social responsibility and fosters long-term value.

8. Noise Control

Noise control measures, such as acoustic underlays or sound-deadening materials, can be integrated into the staircase construction to reduce creaking and minimise impact and airborne noises.

9. Maintenance and Cleaning

Ease of maintenance and longevity are important considerations. Select durable materials and finishes that are easy to maintain for better long-term quality and aesthetic appeal of the staircase. Applying protective coatings or sealants and ensuring sturdy assembly of components upholds safety and quality.

By carefully considering these nine essential factors, you can achieve a successful staircase specification that exceeds standards with enhanced aesthetics and safety.

Staircase Building Regulation Guidance

There are some basic rules and regulations to keep in mind when design a staircase that’s compliant. Here is an overview of the staircase building regulations:

Riser and Tread Dimensions

Consistency in riser and tread dimensions is vital to maintain balance and reduce the risk of falls. The minimum and maximum regulations for the riser and tread of each step should fall within the specified range.

Riser: minimum 150mm and maximum 220mm

Going: minimum 223mm and maximum 320mm

Open riser stairs should have a gap that prevents a 100mm sphere from passing through, with a 16mm lip of the step for comfortable use.

Regulation Pitch of the Stairs

The general guideline is to keep the slope of the stairs below 42 degrees. However, exceptions may be permitted by the building regulation inspector if necessary.


The sum of twice the rise and the going should be between 550mm and 700mm.

(Rise x 2 + Going = 550-700mm)

This approach ensures stairs feel familiar and comfortable to users.

Width Regulations

In a domestic setting, there is technically no minimum width requirement, but stairs should still be comfortable to use. However, handrails are necessary regardless of width.


Regulations stipulate a minimum headroom of 2 meters above all areas of the stairs, including landings, measured from the pitch line. Consistency should be maintained from the bottom to the top of the stairs.

It is also important to follow regulations regarding handrails, banister designs, and fire safety for timber staircases. By carefully adhering to these regulations, you can ensure a compliant staircase design that prioritises safety and functionality.

Fire Safety Regulations for Timber Staircases in the UK

In the UK, fire safety regulations for timber staircases are outlined in Part B of the Building Regulations. These regulations aim to protect lives by providing escape routes, restricting fire spread, and enabling fire brigade access. Requirements differ based on building height.

For three or four-storey homes with a top floor below 7.5 meters, a protected stairway must be present, constructed with fire-resistant materials that withstand fire for at least 30 minutes. Habitable rooms along the stairway require FD20-rated fire doors.

Homes with top floors above 7.5 meters need a second escape staircase or additional protection. Loft conversions in two-storey houses have similar regulations, including fire-resistant ceilings and interlinked smoke alarms.

To enhance staircase safety, there are additional steps you can take to improve its fire resistance. The British Standard BS 476-7 governs the surface spread of flame and classifies materials into four decreasing classes of performance. While most untreated timber falls into Class 3, surfaces in escape routes, such as staircases, must meet Class 0 for solid wood and Class 1 for plywood.

Have peace of mind by choosing fire retardant-treated timber, such as the ones we incorporate in all our staircases, for your staircases. The HR Prof we use is an eco-friendly fire retardant that meets Class 0 (Euro Class B) standards. This water-based product is absorbed into the cell structure of the timber without forming a surface finish, allowing the wood to breathe naturally.

How Does Staircase Design Impact Stair Safety?

Staircase design plays a critical role in ensuring safety, as stair-related accidents are often overlooked but can have serious consequences. Several factors need to be considered for optimal stair safety:

Careful Stair Layout Design Planning

Proper dimensions and proportions are crucial to accommodate stride length and natural gait. Consulting a staircase expert and adhering to recommended dimensions ensures safe and effortless movement. Visibility and minimising obstructions are important, and adequate lighting is essential.

Stair Handrails UK Standards Compliance

Specific regulations and standards must be followed for secure and compliant staircase design. Handrails should be on both sides for stairs wider than a meter. The height, location, and continuous nature of handrails are defined, along with recommendations for materials.

Banisters for Stairs to Enhance Safety

Banisters, or balustrades, significantly enhance stair safety. Material sturdiness, durability, and grip comfort should be considered. Gaps in banisters must comply with regulations, and glass balustrades should break safely. Secure anchoring is vital.

Sturdy Material and Non-Slip Finishes

Choosing a durable material like Oak or Redwood is important for long-term safety. Non-slip finishes, such as coatings or textured paint, improve grip and reduce slip hazards. Compatibility between materials and finishes should be ensured.

By considering these factors, stair designs can prioritise safety and reduce the risk of accidents. It is recommended to consult with experts, request material samples, and visit showrooms before finalising design choices.


Navigating the intricacies of a staircase specification can be a complex task. With so many considerations, regulations, and design choices to contend with, even seasoned professionals can find themselves feeling perplexed.

By collaborating closely with staircase experts, you can rest assured that your staircase design will seamlessly align with your project's unique needs. Multi-Turn's Staircase Success focuses on ensuring staircases are a successful part of every project. Our experts take full responsibility for measuring and designing your staircase to ensure compliance with building regulations, save time and avoid remedial work costs, creating a seamless fit within your project's aesthetic and budget. Enjoy peace of mind knowing your reputation is protected as every staircase fits first time and all your projects stay on track.

Ready to take the next step? Book a consultation with one of our staircase specialists today and discover how we can help with your projects at hand!


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