New guide for architects ensures safety of showcase timber stairs

17 October 2016

A new free guide for architects and designers is being launched at Timber Expo this week (18 October 2016) providing up-to-date guidance on technical and safety factors to be taken into consideration when specifying timber stairs.

Such stairs are often chosen for their high performance characteristics, extensive and varied range of finishes and the sheer natural beauty of timber as a material.

However, stairs are also one of the most important and difficult aspects of building construction to perfect because their correct specification, manufacture and installation impacts so greatly on the building’s safety and aesthetics.

The BWF Stair Scheme has published its Architects’ Guide to explain the process of designing, specifying and installing a timber stair. Understanding the process allows architects to liaise and collaborate more successfully with stair manufacturers to deliver a safe, compliant and beautiful timber stair.

Hannah Mansell, scheme manager of the BWF Stair Scheme, said:

“The stair is the centrepiece of any building, and tiny details can make the mundane magical in terms of the architectural styling of the stair surroundings. But our new guide is born of frustration – the Internet is peppered with beautiful staircases that are frankly death traps, particularly when we consider how our lifestyles are changing. A staircase can and should be beautiful and safe.

“We would always recommend that architects work with an accredited stair manufacturer at the earliest point in the design stages of a project. Competent stair manufacturers are highly trained, and all our members are also audited to ensure that they meet high standards of manufacturing quality and product performance.”

The guide covers the anatomy of a timber stair, gives prompts on key questions to answer to establish the correct regulations, looks at key elements such as handrails and nosings, user classifications and objectives of the stair, and also highlights the main dimensional  considerations.

It also provides advice on materials selection, loading requirements, design detailing, fixing points, scheduling of delivery and installation issues.

Want a copy of the guide? You can download it here.

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