Stairs are one of the most hazardous locations in a building and faulty construction or installation of staircases contributes to a wide range of risks and problems. In response, The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme has launched a new fact card: 10 steps to a successful staircase installation.
Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the BWF, says:
"This fact card is for contractors and developers, and has received a lot of support from building control and inspection organisations who are concerned that too many aspects of the installation process are often overlooked, resulting in squeaky or even unstable stairs. Stair Scheme members are working closely with these organisations to ensure that the stairs are specified, designed and installed correctly."
Paul Cribbens, Senior Technical Officer at NHBC says:
“Good specification, design, manufacture and installation are all key to delivering high quality staircases. The fact that the stair industry supply chain is collectively looking at practical solutions to improve the quality and certification of its work in this way is very much welcomed.”
Tips for contractors include the importance of communication during the design process and how even the smallest change can make a huge impact on the structure and performance of the staircase. When receiving the delivery of the staircase, has the installer considered how they’re going to move it and if they’re not installing straight away, do they have somewhere safe to store it? What may seem like obvious advice is crucial to the installation process and the overall effectiveness of the staircase.
Installers are reminded to read the instructions; if these are neglected changes that may need to be made further on in the process could hamper the whole process. Joints should be tight and secure, to avoid squeaky stairs, and the stair should be level. The fact card includes specific measurements to assist with this.
Health and safety is also the main consideration during the installation process and installers are reminded that if the balustrade is to be added last, temporary guarding should be in place to protect the workers.
By following the advice given in the fact card (available to download now: www.bwf.org.uk/assets/stair-installation-guide-web-ready-final.pdf) those assembling staircases should feel confident that they are manufactured and installed to a high standard and function as intended.
The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. The scheme is managed by the BWF, and includes manufacturers, as well as approved suppliers, who play an important part in maintaining these standards.