What are the current recommendations for the rise and going of stairs?

8 February 2011

The following tables provide the criteria for rise and going as given in:

1 Approved Document K: Protection from falling, collision and impact
2 Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings
3 BS 5395-1:2000: Code of practice for the design, construction and maintenance of straight stairs and winders
4 BS 5395-1:2010: Code of practice for the design of stairs with straight flights and winders.



1 - Approved Document K  Clauses 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 (Usual method)

type of stair 

rise (R) 

going (G) 

min

max 

min 

max 

min going with max rise

private 1

155

220

245

260

220 (2441)

private 2

165

200

223

300

 

institutional and assembly

135

1802

280

340

280 (2503)

other

150

1902

250

320

250

Notes to table:
1 The maximum pitch of a private stair is 42┬║ this means that with a rise of 220mm the going must be at least 244mm.
2 For the maximum rise for stairs providing the means of  access for disabled people reference should be made to Approved Document M (see below)
3 If the area of a floor of the building is less than 100m2, the going may be reduced to 250mm The normal relationship between the dimensions of the rise and the going is that twice the rise plus the going (2R+G) should be between 550mm and 700mm. Clause 1.7 Alternative Method The requirements for steepness of stairs can be met by following the relevant recommendations in BS 5395-1:1977. Notes: (a) AD K acknowledges that BS 5395-1:1977 is withdrawn and is superseded by BS 5395-1:2000. (b) It is also acceptable to refer to the latest version of the code of practice which is BS 5395-1:2010.

2 - Approved Document M

Notes: (a) There are no recommendations for Part M compliant stairs in dwellings.
 
(b) There are no recommendations for Part M compliant stairs within the common areas of blocks of flats where a lift is provided.
Section 3: horizontal and vertical circulation within buildings other than dwellings Clause 3.51 internal stairs ÔÇô provisions

type of stair 

rise (R) 

going (G) 

min

max

min

max 

buildings other than dwellings

150

170

250

refer to AD K

schools

150

170

280

refer to AD K

 

3 - BS 5395-1:2000
Stairs, ladders and walkways. Code of practice for the design of straight stairs.

type of stair 

rise (R) 

going (G) 

min

max

min

max 

private

100

220

225

350

public

100

190

250

350

assembly

100

180

280

350

Clause 7.5, comfortable gait A comfortable gait on stairs is expected for most people if the relationship between the dimensions of the rise and the going is that twice the rise plus the going (2R+G) is between 550mm and 700mm.
4 - BS 5395-1:2010
Code of practice for the design of stairs with straight flights and winders

type of stair 

Rise (R) 

Going (G) 

 

min

max

min

max 

private

150

200

250

400

normal-use

150

180

300

450

Note: There is no criterion on pitch or comfortable gait (2R+G) in this version of the code of practice.


The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. Ranging from domestic, common and fire protected common stairs, the standard expected of the manufacturers for their stairs is extremely high to ensure quality and safety.

The scheme now represents approximately 70% of the timber stair market, bringing together like-minded manufacturers who are committed to driving up standards in timber stairs to make the industry more competitive against rival materials and increase market share.

Follow the link to view the BWF's stairs publications including the BWF Stair Design Guide.

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