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Last edited 11 Feb 2019
Spiral stairs and helical stairs
Spiral and helical staircases can create a sense of light within properties, they can take up less space than traditional stairs, and can create a focal point to a design. They are often available as pre-fabricated kits.
Approved document K, Protection from falling, collision and impact, gives the following definitions.
- A spiral stair is a stair in a helix around a central column.
- A helical stair is a stair in a helix around a central void.
The approved document requires that spiral stairs and helical stairs are designed in accordance with BS 5395-2 Stairs, ladders and walkways. Code of practice for the design of helical and spiral stairs [1984 + AMD 6076, Corrigenda July 2008, C2, C3]. It gives recommendations for the design of internal and external helical and spiral stairs and gives guidance on the geometry of helical and spiral stairs, including:
- Alternative materials, components and methods of design and construction.
- Fire protection and means of escape.
- Load tests.
- Design geometry.
- Typical layouts for stairs.
- Relationship between rise and going.
- Measurement of clear width and goings.
- Maximum gap between column and tread.
- Calculation of going.
- Calculation of clear headroom.
- Structural materials.
- Sizes of stairs.
Helical and spiral stairs involve the use of tapered treads. A tapered tread is a step in which the going (the depth from front to back of a tread, less any overlap with the next tread above) reduces from one side to the other. Approved document K requires that consecutive tapered treads, should use the same going. If a stair consists of straight and tapered treads, the going of the tapered treads should not be less than the going of the straight treads.
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