Requirements for stairs

As we have already mentioned above a staircase constitutes an architectural element which primary purpose is to connect the levels located at different height. Climbing at any height is always connected with defined risk. When building a staircase starting from its design and up to its assembling, you shall give the priority to safety. The stairs shall be strong, have a convenient design for their safe usage. For this purpose in the process of design, making and assembling of stairs, you shall follow certain rules, conditions, and your local Building Code. You shall familiarize with them prior to commencement of designing.



Since the stairs connect different levels in the house, in case of fire or emergency evacuation they shall serve as the only or additional way for evacuation. That is why the area of the stairway throughout its length, including the landings, as also the entry and exit zones shall always be free and in a good light. The light shall be soft and scattered. It is inadmissible to use strong blinding light. It is forbidden to construct built-in closets in the stairway. It is also forbidden to install electrical and gas meters in the stairway. In terms of fire safety the stairs with straight flights are considered the best for evacuation.
If you plan to build arched or spiral stairs prior to designing make some observations about yourself, with what leg you start going upstairs, and with what leg you start going downstairs. It will help you to choose the direction of stairs – clockwise or counterclockwise, and also to choose the quantity of steps in the flight.



The assembled stairs shall be reliably fastened to the ceiling, floor or to the walls. The fasteners shall exclude any movements of the stairs in any direction from intended loads.
No designer decisions aimed at improvement and lightening of the stairs shall be implemented to the prejudice of safety.
If over the length of the flight of stairs there are window apertures in the walls, they shall be reliably fenced, and shatterproof glass shall be used in the windows.

All steps shall have nonskid covering, and skid resistant edging can be fastened at the forefront of the steps. The forefront of the steps can also be marked with a color edging.
Handrails, balusters, as well as railing shall be reliably fastened, and their height shall be not lower than the admissible minimum. If there are children in the house, the handrails shall be designed in such a way as to eliminate a possibility of children's climbing over the handrails, and the distance between the balusters shall be not more than 10 cm.
The handhold of handrails shall have a profile friendly for a hand to provide for a good grip.
If the flight of stairs has turns over it length, the angle of the turn cannot be less than 90 degrees.
The paint color of steps and of the stairway in whole shall make a pleasant impression, and be in harmony with the general design of the house.
The entire construction of stairs, fastening techniques of their separate units, as well as the materials used for stairs building shall withstand the intended load, which shall also include the possible loads connected with carrying of things from one floor to the other.






Below we will try to summarize the basic parameters and values one shall rigorously adhere to:
- The amount of steps in one flight shall not exceed 16.
- Minimal quantity of steps in one flight shall be equal to 3.
- The correlation between rise height and going shall be preferably chosen from the following values 15/31, 16/30,17/29, 18/28. As we have already mentioned in the section How to build stairs, in different countries some building regulations allow to slightly broaden these norms, but we recommend to adhere to these values.
- The nosing of every tread shall make no less than 30 mm.
- The minimal height of handrails in the flight of stairs shall make no less than 900 mm.
- The minimal height of handrails on the balcony shall make no less than 1,100 mm.
- The width of the intermediate landing shall be equal to the width of the flight of stairs connected with it.
- The depth of landing shall be longer by half of the tread width in each direction, or by the whole tread width in one direction.
- The headroom above the flight of stairs for comfortable and safe usage of stairs shall make no less than 2,100 mm.

The position of the stairway in the house must not create any obstacles for convenient moving about the house.
It is desirable that the stairs are easily available for the primary areas in the house such as a hall, living room, dining room, kitchen, and also visible from the entrance. If you position the stairs like that, they will fulfill their basic role more efficiently and functionally.

Please, be aware that the above rules and requirements are general. For complete acquaintance with working regulations we strongly recommend you to familiarize yourself with the Building Code of your country.
You can familiarize yourself with the Building Code at your local department for architectural control or try to find it in the Internet. Here are some links for Building Codes.

Building stairs is a good and needful work, and if you have some experience in woodwork and follow generally accepted rules of ergonomics and safety, and also take into consideration your local Building Code, you are surely to succeed.

Related Content :

- Stairs Models

- Stairs Types

- How to build Stairs