Element 4 – STAIRS

Nov 27, 2013

The vertical journey in and around buildings is an opportunity for a different kind of experience. It can be merely a link between horizontal planes – functional and prosaic. It can also be without practical function to mark a division, form a threshold, a progress and be highly symbolic. The journey is dynamic and can have many different vantage points within and without. It is also a chance to bring light into the heart of the Ground Floor from a well-located bid window with a great view or a rooflight with even more light from the brightest light source.

‘Adding light, life and movement.’

1. The Building Regulations have many clauses affecting the design and configuration of a staircase and the designer needs to consider all the practical as well as the aesthetic issues including particularly the rules governing head-height and landing size.

2. Occasionally it is possible to use what is called a ‘paddle stair’. This stair has alternating paddle shaped steps which enables a steeper pitch at the expense of the convenience of normal full width treads. They require that you start with one foot and there are limitations on where they can be used.

3. The staircase is like a vertical chimney and the Building Regulations seek to protect people who may be at an upper level – particularly if they may be asleep when a fire breaks out. The open-plan nature of a house is necessarily compromised by the need for safety and various provisions are listed in the Building Regulations that take account of this – usually to ensure a safe exit down a main staircase and out through a front door if there are any rooms above First Floor Level.

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