Building Regulations

How does a Space Saver Staircase kit work?

How does a Space Saver Staircase kit work?

In this article we look at choosing a space saver staircase kit, and how they can fit into such small spaces. The secret is in the paddle-shaped treads, combined with a narrow flight that you can squeeze into the tightest of spaces.

Design

Drawing of a space saver staircase with dimensions

Typical dimensions for a Space Saver Staircase, in this case the Gamia Mini.

Space saver stairs were originally designed to allow access to loft conversions. In a lot of properties in the UK space is at a premium, and fitting a full sized staircase to a loft room could mean losing the use of an entire bedroom. That’s not a very desirable outcome when you want to add a room! Space saving stairs were incorporated into building regulations to allow safe, fixed access to a loft but with a very small impact on the space it uses. So how is this achieved? The secret is the Paddle Shaped Treads!

See the diagram above – this full height staircase has total goings of only 1.5 metres, and a width of only 600mm. It is far smaller than a conventional staircase, which would need space of 2420mm L x 800mm W for the same number of treads.

The Paddle shaped Tread

Alternating paddle treads on a Space saver staircase

Alternating Paddle treads

Paddle shaped treads form an alternating tread staircase as shown in the image left. Some people refer to these as “Hit and Miss” treads. As you can see, the treads alternate as they go up the staircase. The advantage is that you get a full size tread depth (known as the “tread going”) on alternate treads, so you simply step on alternate treads as you ascend or descend the staircase. This design means the staircase can fit into a greatly reduced footprint, ideal for locations where space is limited. Most people assume this makes a space saver staircase steep and difficult to climb, but in fact this unusual tread design makes the staircase just as easy to climb and descend as a full sized staircase. You can see how this works on a typical space saver model, the Gamia Mini Plus

 

Building Regulations

Space saving stairs with paddle shaped treads should conform to K1 Building regulations, which has a special section for space saver stairs. Briefly to summarise you need to comply with the following:

  1. The staircase must be built in one or more straight flights, (so if you need a change of direction in the flight you should use a landing to do so, available with some modular systems such as the Gamia Mini Plus).
  2. Only for access to one habitable room [in the loft]
  3. Steps should be uniform with parallel nosings (so no fancy curved treads, or staircases which feature curved flights combined with paddle-shaped treads)
  4. Balustrade should comply with general building regs, ie have no gaps greater that 100mm
  5. Minimum tread going should be 220mm, maximum rise should be 220mm
  6. The above is a short description, for a full description of the requirements please refer to K1 building regulations.

For more information about Building Regs compliant space saver stairs, please check out the Gamia Mini Plus on our website!

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