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Building Regulations Staircases

Explained: building regulations and staircases


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Last updated Thursday 22nd April 2021

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You might look at stairs and not think much of them, but this home essential comes with a lot of rules and regulations - namely, building regulations.

Being such an important structural feature in your home, the building regulations on staircases is robust. So if you’re looking at giving yours a makeover, or you want to build something bespoke, here’s what you need to know…

Width and height

Good news, though there are many rules surrounding staircases, there’s no strict minimum on the width your staircase can be. That being said, you’ll need to remember to keep them functional, and that at some point you’ll probably need to move furniture up or down them.

Our experts recommend keeping your stairs to a minimum of 750mm, though this can be pushed to 600mm in the case of loft conversions.

As for the length of your stairs, this is naturally dictated by the number of stairs you need, and their own height and width restrictions - more of this in a moment. For domestic properties, the maximum number of stairs you can have is 16. However, in our experience, even the tallest home rarely goes over 14.

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Your steps

Industry types like to speak in their own language, therefore the length of each step is called the ‘going’, while the height is the ‘rise’.

Each step on your staircase has to be the same height and length. You can’t be catching people out with one step at 185mm and the next 230mm!

  • Rise can be a minimum of 150mm and a maximum of 220mm
  • Going a minimum of 223mm and a maximum of 320mm

Head Height

This part of your stairs is pretty simple: you must have a minimum of 2000mm of head room, and this has to be constant through the entire staircase.


One of the main concerns of building regulations on stairs is the health and safety of those dwelling in a property. And as such, handrails are an important part of any staircase design.

When planning your stairs, remember these handrail rules…

  • Handrails are mandatory.
  • Stairs should have a handrail on at least one side if they are less than one metre wide, and on both sides if wider than this.
  • Handrails should be placed between 900mm and 1000mm above the highest point on the staircase steps.
  • To protect children from getting their heads stuck, any spindles on your staircase should not allow a 100mm sphere to pass through.


Pitch refers to the slope of your stairs. The maximum pitch of a domestic staircase is 42° - and that’s all you need to know for pitch. Easy.


Landings are very important when it comes to building regulations for stairs, as you need to put appropriate measures in place so people can see your stairs when entering the space to avoid anyone falling down and becoming injured.

This means…

  • The space between any door opening and the staircase should be at least 400mm.
  • Landing at the top and bottom of every staircase should be level and flat, although those at ground level can have a gradient, as long as it doesn’t exceed 1:20.
  • Landings must be clear of any permanent obstructions.

Resi’s building regulations package

We believe the best way of meeting all of your project’s legal requirements is to go with a building regulations package.

This set of technical drawings brings together the expertise of specialists like: your architect, structural engineer, and CCTV drainage surveyor.

At Resi, we're able to bring everything you need under one roof. Thanks to our Connect service, we can recommend local specilists near you, while our in-house technicians consolidates everything into one concise package for your contractor to use during construction.

Learn more about building regulations.

And if you have any questions about this or any other part of the home improvement journey, our team are always on hand to answer your questions.

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