The British Woodworking Federation Group

Driving the Market

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Driving the MarketPauline Kelly, BWF Stair Scheme Chair

The BWF Stair Scheme promotes the principle that stair safety depends on the quality of design, specification & installation. The scheme helps marginalise bad practice, raise standards across the industry and improve safety. The challenge is to get the building industry to buy-in to the Scheme, and to spread the message that the Stair Scheme is a necessity in modern times.

The Scheme is gathering pace and to help get these messages out we are running a seminar on timber stairs at the Building Centre in London on the 28th March.  This event is aimed primarily at architects and specifiers, to help them understand the important issues on certification in the specification process. 

A staircase can be functional or an inspiration in design, but whatever its purpose, understanding its role in a building’s structure is crucial both in its manufacture and installation. This role is often one which can be overlooked in design, leading to bad practice that can have devastating consequences. 

In fact, stairs account for 800 fatalities and major injuries every year, according to BS 5395-1:2010, which highlights the need for effective specification. But it also highlights the need for the timber stairs industry to instil high standards in design and specification to protect our product, and indeed maintain our market share. If we can also raise the standard of our products over others, this will inevitably lead to an increase in sales.

The Building Centre Seminar will inform the decision-makers about all aspects of technical performance, compliance with standards and regulations and how to recognise good practice in design, construction & installation. This will be the start of our quest to ensure we see a shift to well specified, designed and installed stairs, while highlighting how the BWF is helping to make this easier for specifiers, through the BWF Stair Scheme.

The Stair Scheme provides the mechanism for simple specification, providing confidence that the staircase is safe and compliant with all relevant regulations, for everything from a domestic, common, or fire rated timber stair.

We’ll be explaining the scheme in more detail at the seminar too, in the hope that when specifiers think of compliant stairs, they automatically think of the BWF Stair Scheme.

It's important that the seminar is shown to be support by industry, so I’d love to see as many of you there that are able – whether you’re in the Stair Scheme or not. And if you’ve got clients wavering on whether to specify timber stairs, why not use this seminar to help make up their mind by inviting them along?

If you’d like to attend the seminar, which is free of charge, or would like more information about the event of the scheme itself, please let us know. Together we are stronger, and together we can drive the market.

The Stairs Seminar will take place at 6.15pm on 28th March at the Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London and is free to attend. Click here to register.

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Member of Construction Products Association
National Specialist Contractors Council
Passive Fire Protection Federation
Trade Association Forum
The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products