How to Meet UK Staircase Building Regulations

Whether you are planning a whole new staircase or just a refurbishment of your existing stair balustrade, you need to make sure that your stairs comply with current UK building regulations. Many older staircases may not meet today’s standards, so installing new handrails, spindles and newel posts will give you a chance to bring your staircase up to date in terms of safety as well as looks. Here is a short run-down of the main points relating to private domestic stairs that you should be aware of:

Stair pitch

The stair pitch, or steepness, is very important for safety. Every step must be level and have the same rise (height) and the same going (depth). For instance, you can’t have 190mm for the first four risers followed by 200mm for the rest, as this would be confusing for the user.

An exception to this rule is if there is a landing halfway up the stairs, in which case each section of the staircase can be treated differently. However, this is not recommended.

These are the permitted measurements:

· The maximum rise, or height, for any step should be 220mm, with the minimum being 150mm.

· Every step has to have a minimum going, or depth, of 220mm, and a maximum going of 300mm.

· The maximum pitch, or steepness, must not exceed 42°.

Stair width

Believe it or not, there is no recommendation for the minimum width of a domestic staircase. However, to ensure that your stairs are pleasing to the eye and comfortable to use it is best to make the staircase at least 800mm wide, with the optimum recommended width being between 850mm and 950mm.

When it comes to loft conversions, the widely accepted minimum width is 600mm, although between 700mm and 750mm is advised.

On staircases that change direction, you are allowed to make each flight a different width if necessary.

Stair length

A flight of stairs can include up to 36 risers, or steps, in a straight line. After that, they should change direction by at least 30°. This is to interrupt falls and prevent anyone tumbling a long way down to the bottom of the stairs.

Landings

A landing can either be a flat platform where the stairs change direction, or part of the floor at the top or bottom of the staircase. For safety, the landing must be at least as wide and deep as the narrowest part of the stairs. All landings need to be completely level except for the ground floor, where a slight gradient (up to 1:60) is permitted. In addition, no door should be able to swing nearer than 400mm to the front of any step.

Head room

There is a minimum head room requirement of 2m at all points both on and off the stairs. In the case of loft conversions the available headroom will meet building regulations as long as the height at the centre of the staircase is at least 1.9m, and does not reduce to less than 1.8m at the side of the stairs.

Some building control officers may be lenient if you are having real trouble with your loft stairs, but you should always check with them before going ahead.

Handrails

Your stairs must have a handrail on at least one side if the staircase is less than 1m wide, and rail on both sides if the stairs are wider than this. You don’t have to fit a handrail on the first two steps up from the bottom, but after this point you must make sure there is a handrail on any open parts of the staircase to protect people going up and down.

The handrail height needs to be between 900mm and 1000mm as measured from the pitch line to the top of the handrail. (The pitch line is an imaginary line drawn across the tip of the treads showing the slope of the staircase from top to bottom.)

Mind the gap

One of the most important rules, aimed at protecting small children and preventing falls, is that a 100mm sphere must not be able to pass through any opening on a staircase. This means you need to ensure that the spindles, or balusters, are not too far apart, and that any wide gaps between open risers are fitted with riser bars to reduce the size of the openings.

Stair balustrades should also be designed so that children are not encouraged to climb up them. For this reason old-fashioned ‘ranch style’ banisters with horizontal stair rails should be replaced with vertical spindles.

Please note that these rules only apply to homes in England and, for the most part, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own set of building regulations.

Save Money With These Seven Home Improvements

Everybody wants their home to be in the best condition as you will want to live a comfortable life. You will always have a long list of renovations in your mind. Upgrading the house can be a little expensive, and you may not have enough budget for the renovations. You can save a lot of money if you are careful with your improvement plans. Prioritizing your repairs is important. Try to focus on the ones which are a high priority. Focus on improvements which are going to save money in the long run as well.

Here are some of the improvements that are useful in saving money:

Getting Rid of Drafts:

Experts mostly recommend that insulation is an excellent choice when it comes to preparing for winters. But sealing doors and windows is an always a good choice no matter when you do it. The seals always pay off so you can either invest in real seals or replace them with better-insulated ones. You should look to add insulation in the major areas such as the attic. Insulating the attic not only helps in keeping the house warm in winter but it is also helpful in keeping the house cold in summers. Seal all the air leaks like the outlets and switches. It will not just bring comfort to your life and will result in money-saving improvement.

Adding the insulation on just the doors and replacing the windows you will see improvement in the appearance of the house and also see energy improvements. You can also recoup most of the cost if you look to selling the house.

Adding Low Flow Fixtures:

Low fixtures are an excellent home improvement because it will help in decreasing the water wastage. It will assist in saving a lot of money as well. With low fixtures, you can also reduce about fifty percent of water consumption. It is important to look for improvements that help in energy efficiency because it is not just good for the environment but is also cost-effective.

Replacing Regular Bulbs:

The regular light bulbs are high consumers of energy. You can save some money by replacing them with fluorescent bulbs. They have a longer lifespan as compared to the regular bulbs although they might cost more initially. The high initial cost can make up for a low running cost. These bulbs also assist in lowering the energy bills.

Updating High Energy Appliances:

You can reap a lot of benefits from improvements if you upgrade your appliances which are inefficient. Most of the power is consumed by large systems such as the heating system, heaters, air conditioning, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers. You can adjust the energy consumption of the appliances like installing a thermostat that is programmable and running during night hours. You can repair the already existing systems or replace them with the new and better models.

Dishwashers:

It is important to replace the old dishwasher with a new one because they use just an average of 5.8 gallons of water in each cycle. The other dishwashers can cause a lot of water wastage because they used as much as ten gallons in each cycle. If you upgrade your dishwasher, you can save a lot in when it comes to energy costs and save plenty of water as well.

Cleaning the Gutter and Dealing With Structural Problems:

Water is mostly the culprit behind the most expensive home repairs. If there are any leaks, you should deal with them and make sure you control the water around your house. Gutters are the first line of defense against any water problems in your basement, rotten wood fascia, leaking roofs and other serious problems. Firstly you should clean the gutters and install gutter guards because it helps in preventing any future damage from water.

You should look for foundation cracks, mildew or mold in a basement area, roof issues, and loose shingles or any other possible signs of water damage and a sign of pests. Water repairs are costly, but you can lower the cost by doing prevention and maintenance by yourself. You can maintain the gutter and water leaks by regular inspections and upkeep.

Programmable Thermostat:

They have gained popularity because they have many energy and money saving advantages. If you know how to use the device correctly, you will be able to use a lot of money. It is mostly more accurate than the conventional thermostat. It is efficient and cost-effective device and an excellent choice for improving your home.

These are some of the home improvements which will not just make your house more comfortable but will also help in saving some money.

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Tips To Wind Up Your Bedroom Efficiently

While moving into a new house is a moment of joy for all owners, it is also very tiresome at the same time. The most important task at hand is to wind up your bedroom well because this is the one place in your house where you are likely to keep your most valuable possessions. Thus, be prepared to have a hectic schedule while packing because this would be the best time when you can actually discard the unwanted stuff to declutter your room. Be very clear that the more things you pack the more expensive your shift will be.

Here are some tips which will help you clear up your room efficiently without much hassle.

• Organize your room: Having an organized room to start off with would prove to be beneficial as you would be able to get ample amount of space. It would also help you pack only the important things which would be dust free.

• Have a checklist at hand: Although making a list of your belongings would seem to be a very immature idea at first, you can trust anyone on this that would seem to be a boom when you start packing up. This is because you would have all things clear as to which ones are important and your top priority. This list would also give you an idea about the amount of packing material you would require.

• Pack mattress and carpets efficiently: Most of the people invest a huge amount of money in buying a mattress as it is a matter of their comfort. Thus, make sure you pack them well so as to avoid them from getting dirty during the transit. Pack them securely in shrink wraps which are specifically meant to protect carpets and mattresses. Don’t worry if you do not have one. The packers and movers would surely be able to help you on this.

• Make use of garbage bags to pack linen covers and pillows: Since garbage bags are large and sturdy they would be the best packing material for your linen covers and pillows. Be sure to seal the bags before transporting them.

• Get the help of your kids: Let your kids take the responsibility of their own room. Involve them in the packing process which would also reduce your burden. Make sure they throw away the things which they no longer use.