According to building regulations stairs, ladders and ramps have to be designed, constructed and installed in a way that is safe for people moving between different levels in or about the building. Gooding Aluminium therefore takes a deeper look at regulations to help ensure specifiers are compliant when installing aluminium stair nosings.
According to Building Regulations (K&M), BS8300 and BS9266, the recommended dimension of a stair nosing should measure between 50-65mm and the riser 30-55mm. This ensures there is a large enough ‘band’ on the nose of the step.
Building Regs (K&M), BS8300 and BS9266 explain that the colour of the Stair Nosing is required to differ from that of the floor covering.
Every colour has a Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of between 0 (Black) and 100 (White). The documents indicate that there should be at least 30 points difference between the Stair Nosing LRV and that of the floor covering, e.g. If the floor covering has a LRV of 50, then the Stair Nosing should have a LRV of between 0-20 or 80-100. This helps create the ‘ladder effect’.
The tread material used in a Stair Nosing is important for the safety and performance of a stairway. There are two recommended tests that can be carried out to determine the slip resistance of a flooring material.
The pendulum test (PTV) and a surface micro roughness measurement (Rz). Either of these can be used to give an indication of the slip resistance of a material, although the Pendulum method is limited in so far as it cannot be used to test material on site.
Coverage of the tread material
Looking at the guidance provided for the coverage of the tread material on the top surface of the Stair Nosing, it explains that the tread is the surface of the Stair Nosing which receives ascending or descending footfall. The IP 15/06 states that the Stair Nosing tread material should extend to the front edge to the point at which it meets the vertical face in order to minimise the risk of a slip in descent.
Lastly, assistance has to be provided by a tactile surface at the approaches to a stairway.
Building Regs M and BS8300 state that corduroy tactile (not the blister finish– the type used on pavements at crossings) should be installed as a hazard warning surface on the top and bottom approaches of the staircase, which will warn pedestrians that they are approaching a staircase. The regulatory documents give details of the dimensions for these approach tactile areas.
These ‘guidelines’ are just that – guidelines. Technically they are not mandatory; evidence of this is common in the market as so many installations would not meet the criteria outlined above.
Nevertheless, we would encourage specifiers to follow the guidelines wherever possible, since Stair Nosings that meet these guidelines do actually help to make a stairway safer and thereby reduce the element of risk for users ascending or descending.
Information Paper IP 15/03 (Proprietary nosings for non-domestic stairs)
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