Loft conversion stairs are an integral part of any conversion project so in this article we’ll look at some of the specific building regulations regarding them along with a helpful glossary to help you prepare and plan the loft stairs for your new project.
The Building Regulations
Rather unexpectedly the building regulations regarding loft stairs are not too onerous.
The general rule regarding headroom is that there must be a minimum clearance of 2.0 meters for a staircase but, for loft stairs, the regulations are relaxed a little and only 1.9 meters needs to be achieved.
Because of this is there is a slope where the stairs enter the loft then the clearance only needs to be 1.8 meters and 2 meters on the highest side.
Width Of The Loft Stairs
The usual requirement regarding the width of loft conversion stairs is that they should be at least 800mm wide. Though that isn’t always the case. If your new loft conversion has only one inhabitable room than the building regulations will allow a minimum width of just 600mm for the loft stairs.
Types Of Loft Stairs
There three main types of loft stairs; straight staircases are the most common style of stairs used in loft conversions though they can be split into two different flights with the addition of a small landing.
The second most popular kind of loft conversion stairs are spiral staircases which can add a very stylish element to your overall design.
The third, and appropriately the last resort, are alternating step or compact stairs. These can only be used when space is severely restricted and it just isn’t possible to use any other kind of loft stairs.
Compact stairs are very steep and are very unsuitable for the young and old. The use of these kind of stairs is tightly controlled and they must have handrails fixed to each side and, it should be noted, they can only be used as a straight flight of stairs. Because of the depth and angle of the stairs they cannot be used with a landing or as a corner layout.
Building Regulations – A Summary For Loft Conversion Stairs
Accept when the building control officer will agree to the use of alternating tread or compact stairs the regulations for loft stairs are:
The pitch must not be steeper than 43 degrees
The goings which is the main part of the tread must not be less than 220mm deep
The risers which is the vertical part of the step must not be higher than 220mm
Except as noted above the minimum headroom must be 2 meters across the full width of the stair.
Although they only need to be used on one side the handrails on loft conversion stairs must have a minimum height of 900mm
The gap between handrail spindles known as balusters must not be larger than 90mm.