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Building Regulations - Unsafe Stairs

Discussion in 'Legal' started by CBJROMS, Mar 31, 2010.


    CBJROMS UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 114 Likes: 21
    I have just purchased an industrial unit which had a mezzanine floor put into it back in 2003. The upstairs was used for offices but I am going to use it as a second (there is a small showroom on the ground floor) show area for my trade customers.

    There are currently 2 sets of stairs leading to this mezzanine; one at the back and one at the front of the building. Each staircase is made of steel with treadplated steps and galvanised steel handrails. The handrails have huge gaps (eg a small elephant could pass through!) in them and some of the gaps between the treads are too large to be safe. The mezzanine and both sets of stiars have a certifacte to show that they passed Building regs in 2003.

    I want to replace the staircase with a nice, safe wooden version but am constrained by the width of the opening in the mezzanine. Adjusting the mezzanine is going to be unaffordable for me. My new staircase would be 1015mm wide, with a riser of 182mm and a going of 250mm. I understand that this will not meet the requirements for a DDA staircase but it will be a great improvement on the existing.

    How I am I likely to stand with Building Control? Is it true that I can replace like for like and still be covered?

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Posted: Mar 31, 2010 By: CBJROMS Member since: May 31, 2008
  2. gordonthegofor

    gordonthegofor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 308 Likes: 6
    My experience is that it depends on your Building Control officer, whenever I have asked about relaxations I get a resounding NO, but have seen customers & Architects getting relaxations that I would never dream of asking for.

    You won't know without asking
    The 100mm sphere rule does not apply to commercial situations where children are not likely to be present

    The stair regulations in England are different to Scotland, not sure how different
    Posted: Mar 31, 2010 By: gordonthegofor Member since: Dec 20, 2005
  3. gordonthegofor

    gordonthegofor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 308 Likes: 6
    Have you got sorted out?

    Some other thoughts -

    If it is the gaps that are your main concern it may be possible to put infills into the gaps in the balastrading and stair risers, or possibly clad them in timber (no different to putting a carpet on a stair). Would need to see the stairs to say for certain
    Posted: Apr 1, 2010 By: gordonthegofor Member since: Dec 20, 2005
  4. spykie

    spykie UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 25 Likes: 0
    The transition of turning a mezzanine floor previously used for internal use or industrial storage to a showroom to be used by members of the public (this includes trades people) opens up a can of worms. There are many issues to address regarding; access, fire safety provisions and facilities for the disabled.
    These are outlined in the Building Regulations Approved Documents B, M & K which you can purchase from your local authority or book shop.
    The first thing you should do however is to consullt your local building control officer who should give you specific advice regarding the regulations and your intended usage. This is free as it is their job (as it is our taxes) and they are generally very helpful.
    My company fabricate and install mezzanines (as well as pallet racking and shelving. Sorry about the plug!) and the most impotant people to consult are the local council building departments' advisors & inspectors as they are the ones who can condemn the usage and even close you down if things are not done right.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    Posted: Apr 2, 2010 By: spykie Member since: Nov 26, 2008
  5. UKSBD

    UKSBD UKBF Legend Staff Member

    Posts: 8,120 Likes: 1,539

    I hear this all the time with one of the products I supply.
    People moan when being told they have to do something to comply with
    regulations, but surely their solicitor should have told them before
    purchasing the property?
    Posted: Apr 2, 2010 By: UKSBD Member since: Dec 30, 2005
  6. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 11,402 Likes: 3,952
    Good advice.

    For those who are interested, LABC (local authority building control) has not been funded by our tax money for some time, they are run as businesses, needing to make profit. As such they often charge for advice, especially if a site visit is required. This is certainly true for the half a dozen different LABC around here, but may not apply to the whole country.
    Posted: Apr 2, 2010 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006

    CBJROMS UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 114 Likes: 21
    Thanks for all the reposnes.

    Just to be clear, I have no problem with the need to satisfy Building Regulations as I like to do things properly.

    My dilemma is that the current staircase has been certificated as complying with Building regulations in 2003 but looks ugly and is, in my view, unsafe. So it needs to be either modified or replaced.

    I have sought advice from a number of people (including local Building Control) and everyone says the same. Keep the staircase and modify its handrails & treads.

    I can see how new handrails could be manufactured and bolted-on. I guess that the treads can either be carpeted over or covered in wood as suggested above.

    Thanks for the help.

    Posted: Apr 3, 2010 By: CBJROMS Member since: May 31, 2008