A Guide for Spiral Staircases

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A spiral staircase is a staircase that is constructed of tapered treads that wrap around a central column. Because they twist around a tight curve they offer a great space saving solution when access to an upper floor is needed and they take up less floor space than a conventional staircase.

Back in Medieval times spiral staircases were commonly found in castle turrets and were mainly constructed from stone. They were built in a clockwise ascent meaning that the attacking right handed swordsman was at a disadvantage when ascending the stairs. Nowadays the designs of spiral staircases have developed significantly and are now manufactured from materials such as glass and stainless steel. For the right property a spiral staircase can be a stunning alternative to a conventional staircase and can also be used as a stylish feature or focal point for a room.

For health and safety reasons there are now various rules and regulations that will need to be adhered to. The regulations govern the size of spiral staircases installed in new builds and renovations in residential and commercial properties. This is due to their tight construction and they are also not easy for elderly or disabled people to use. Moving large pieces of furniture between floors can also be tricky when using a spiral staircase. Generally the more people the staircase is providing access to, the smaller the rise height and the larger the diameter as this makes it safer and more comfortable to climb.

With regards to domestic spiral staircases there are two rules to follow. There should be no gap between the treads or the balustrade of more than 100mm and the balustrade should not be constructed with climbable rails. Commercial spiral staircases are required to have a centre column handrail and a rest platform if the there are more than 16 stairs. These guidance rules ensure that people using the staircase who are unfamiliar with a spiral can use it safely. There are different rules and regulations for commercial spiral staircases depending on the number of people that are going to use it at any one time, for a shopping centre for example a 1000mm clear tread is required coupled with a 190mm maximum rise.

Spiral staircases are a stunning solution for both commercial and domestic properties and there are currently a huge number of different models available in the market. There off-the-shelf kits that are imported from Europe or you employ the services of a specialist company to make one for you in a design and style you have chosen. If you decide to have a spiral staircase installed then you need to check that it meets with all rules and regulations and if you are unsure you should check with a building control officer.

 

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