puntloos

Minimum stairs in a new build - 42degree?

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As far as I can tell, from e.g. https://www.pearstairs.co.uk/staircase-buillding-regulations/

The max stair angle is 42 degrees, except space saver stairs:

 

"The use of these staircases are quite often interpreted differently by different building Inspectors, they do not like their use. The building regulation rules state that they can be used to a single room only if there is no other alternative."

 

Does anyone know how to interpret this? In particular, I need to reach a loft in an 'elegant' way, and a good space saver stair seems the right approach, but I'd need maybe 47 degrees. 

Will they complain? Or is this acceptable even in new builds? (I imagine in loft conversions it's harder to find a good place for stairs, but even in my case I'm struggling)

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Think you will have to ask the BCO. Only ever seen them used on loft conversions.

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Spiral staircase?

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It will depend on the intended use of the loft.

 

If it is a habitable, usable space (eg bedroom), then Building Regs will apply ie 42 degrees, and the usual headroom. There would also be other requirements - escape, fire etc.

 

If it is storage, then you may be OK. But they may have a view if they think they are being played  and it will be changed later. Not sure what happens then. We used to have one up to an office,  but it was a full attic floor with a real staircase too.

 

An early GD ("Urban Space Pod, Peckham) had pigeon toed stairs to minimal bedrooms in a roof pod. It had KM in paroxyms about the efficient space usage and the sliding roof, and included a mini dance studio for the dance teacher girlfriend.

 

When I lived in Chiswick I knew someone that used one to an attic conversion bedroom in a terrraced house.


Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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I can't see how space saver stairs could pass building regs bit you could ask. 

I installed some in a small attic conversion to bedroom in my previous house but there was no chance of building regs approval due to stair angle and height at top of stairs.

I just accepted it was done without building regs approval while making sure it complied with regs as far as it could. It was pretty common practise on the street.

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The fact it’s a new build dwelling, you should have no reason but to comply with the regulated stair design, i.e. max. 42 degrees, depths of landings as wide as the stair, 2m headroom, etc... Where the BR’s provide the reduced regulated requirements, i.e. space saver stairs, 1.8-1.9m headroom, those should only really be used for loft conversions so those to an existing house where space is limited.

 

As @Temp mentioned, it’s really going to be down to Building Control and various Council’s along with Approved Inspectors may have slightly different views.

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8 hours ago, puntloos said:

I need to reach a loft in an 'elegant' way

that tells me its not a loft but another bedrooom or office -you don,t need elegant for a loft 

 

 it will need proper staircase in new build-

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Thanks all, weird that as @Ferdinand indicated some type of "future plans" seem to matter.

If the house existed today, it would be storage, but I always wanted something like this:

attic.jpg.0b7757bd3940e74f4056e6bff92a642a.jpg

Basically a 'half furnished' place where you can just chil, listen to the rain, something like that. 

Same goes for my kid, who is now 2.5, so too young, but I imagine him climbing up there when he's 6+ to play castle or something. 

No intention of 'light fittings' or 'installed TVs' or anything built-up.

 

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If it’s going to be storage area, then not an issue. If it’s going to be more like a habitable room/area either now or later then it will need to comply with the BR’s for structure, fire safety, thermal, electrics, etc... With it being a new build, you’d build out the loft as it it was to be a habitable room now as it’ll be a lot more work not to mention expensive dealing with it later.

 

I saw your other thread with the floor plans. Why can’t the new stair up to the second floor follow the design and layout of the one below?

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I have a good quality loft ladder (pull down type) fir access to my “loft” but it is fully insulated “warm roof” and could be used fir other purposes in the future 👹. My mate converted his loft fir his teenage son to have room fir all his “stuff” and a similar loft ladder permanently down. Just list it as “storage”.

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Maybe useful to outline my requirements:

 

In order of importance

1 - Should be possible to permanently use (e.g. if people are in there it's not safe to close it up), so it shouldn't block any rooms

2 - Ideally some way to get bed/couch sized things up there..

3 - Slightly more elegant than some thing you have to pull out with hassle

4 - Ideally some clever way to have my kid be able to sneak up there from his bedroom2

 

Below I've posted a few images with overlaid the walkable loft space (it says 1.8m but I'm planning 2m)

 

2 hours ago, DevilDamo said:

I saw your other thread with the floor plans. Why can’t the new stair up to the second floor follow the design and layout of the one below?

Don't think that will work since there is no loft where the normal one ends

duplicate.thumb.png.0b22dffcdfd99bea10f6b3f58d43894d.png

Also, not a big fan of the cluttering the nice void with loft stairs? 

 

5 hours ago, Temp said:

Spiral staircase?

 

Now we're talking, I think I will experiment with this idea.. My main worry is how to get large-ish stuff into the loft? I assume a couch will never make it up there through a spiral stair.. Perhaps a second opening above bedroom 4 & winch?

spiral.thumb.png.a0db51d86690bd7667743a263fcd30b8.png

 

 

 

Edited by puntloos

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We have a winner.. I think?

 

This staircase has the minimum 60cm step width, and the minimum distance from the wall on all sides (5cm)

I didn't check the height of the steps though but I imagine that will 'simply work'? 

 

Also I do plan to close off the stairwell, so indeed people can enter from the main hall and not bother the kid.

spiral2.png.457dcfc4e134754efe107c0d723c48f1.png

 

spiral3.thumb.png.40124efddcecd2e1f9748a8763bc70cd.png

Edited by puntloos

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Sorry if you know this but I probably should mention it.. A loft usually means a house has three storeys and that has implications re the fire regs. It can mean stair wells need to be enclosed on the ground/first floor. It's been awhile since I looked at the regs so I'm rusty on the details. Usually you need a 30min fire rated path on ground floor but I'm not sure how high up that has to extend.

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Could make an interesting hidden stair

hidden.png

 

 

Edited by puntloos

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27 minutes ago, Temp said:

Sorry if you know this but I probably should mention it..

Nope, I'm still only a beginner so probably good to mention any rookie mistakes!

 

27 minutes ago, Temp said:

A loft usually means a house has three storeys and that has implications re the fire regs. It can mean stair wells need to be enclosed on the ground/first floor. It's been awhile since I looked at the regs so I'm rusty on the details. Usually you need a 30min fire rated path on ground floor but I'm not sure how high up that has to extend.

 

To be clear I would intend to fully enclose the stairwell with walls on all sides.. (and of course doors to actually get in.. maybe a bookcase in the kidsroom as a hidden door)

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Are these your current proposals? If so, I’m confused why there would be no loft void at the top of the new stair if it was to follow the line of of the one below as you’d end up in the middle

of the house/roof? You’d also still have a stair void/atrium but just not as big. It’ll still be a grand entrance along with a feature stair and wouldn’t look like an after thought, which is what I think you’d end up with if you went down the alternating tread or spiral stair route.

135D80B9-F429-49CD-BB2A-35D561DEF661.png

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2 hours ago, DevilDamo said:

Are these your current proposals? If so, I’m confused why there would be no loft void at the top of the new stair if it was to follow the line of of the one below as you’d end up in the middle

of the house/roof? You’d also still have a stair void/atrium but just not as big. It’ll still be a grand entrance along with a feature stair and wouldn’t look like an after thought, which is what I think you’d end up with if you went down the alternating tread or spiral stair route.

135D80B9-F429-49CD-BB2A-35D561DEF661.png

 

The reddish area through my design (in the earlier post) is where the architect figures the loft would be. Of course you can sacrifice some of the atrium, but well, not sure if that is worth it. 

 

@DevilDamo I guess the core problem is that an 'exact' copy of the stair upward would end mid-air ,and to fix that you would either have to take the entire row, or have some strange 'white box' or landing mid air that catches the stair.

 

Perhaps I'll put your suggestion into 3D just to see how it looks. The 'secret spiral' idea really appeals to me at this point though - what do you guys think?

Edited by puntloos

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With this stair void, are you suggesting this will be exposed all the way up to the underside of the rafters? If so, you can still achieve this same look and feel with the new stair over the existing. Imagine the current stair from ground to first... just take that up from first to second, which will provide you with an additional room or access to two rooms.

 

Do you have a section through the building?

 

Spiral staircases are ok in certain situations but where they’re really more exposed and made a feature. They’re a pain to move furniture up and down and in some instances, actually take up more space than a traditionally designed staircase. The one you showed is 600mm wide, which is really tight and is something you’d normally see and use for a wine cellar. You’d want a width of at least 800mm to make it flow and work better.

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27 minutes ago, DevilDamo said:

With this stair void, are you suggesting this will be exposed all the way up to the underside of the rafters?

Yes, the idea is indeed a void from ground to the rooflights. I suppose we 'might' change our minds, close up the loft and just have some light columns shine through. But as it stands it's a straight shot up from ground floor.

 

Quote

If so, you can still achieve this same look and feel with the new stair over the existing. Imagine the current stair from ground to first... just take that up from first to second, which will provide you with an additional room or access to two rooms.

 

My sense is that the extra stairs will feel clutter-y (and we are trying to make an 'imposing' design with a pretty limited footprint) - but I'll put it in 3D and take a look.

 

Quote

Do you have a section through the building?

 

My english or builder-ese is failing me. What's this? Cut house in half and then look from the side?

 

Quote

Spiral staircases are ok in certain situations but where they’re really more exposed and made a feature.

 

Well  they have some proper uses, and in this case somehow they turned out to fill one 'passing fancy' which is that you can enter it with two entrances - the sneaky way behind the kid's bookshelf and straight shot 

Quote

They’re a pain to move furniture up and down

No doubt, but is it impossible? In particular many couches are designed so they fit 'barely' into a door. But if they do, will they fit up the spiral if you have sufficiently strong/agile guys to really wiggle it up? Hard, but "once a year" jobs shouldn't factor in strongly into design decisions.

 

Quote

and in some instances, actually take up more space than a traditionally designed staircase. The one you showed is 600mm wide, which is really tight and is something you’d normally see and use for a wine cellar.

Fair, but eh, again the purpose is basically a loft ;) 

Quote

You’d want a width of at least 800mm to make it flow and work better.

 

Worth considering I suppose, but that's 40cm of space which is at a major premium in my house. If you've been following my journey, the current design has gone to literally 40+ major iterations already, but my house ticks a LOT of my Detailed Brief requirements which is no small feat imo. Frankly if I had to go 80 I might first try your 'copy of staircase' approach since it impacts the rest of my design less and could in fact look fairly cool.

 

btw - thanks for your ongoing comments. Useful food for thought..

Edited by puntloos

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You would still see most of the rooflight (in its current position) if the new stair followed the existing. The rooflight could be re-positioned or re-sized to sit directly and centralised on the actual void, which would provide more benefit.

 

A section, a cross section through the building. It was just to see what floor to ceiling heights you had and how much usable space there’d be in the loft by the time you’ve taken into account the 900mm high dwarf stud walls.

 

It’s not impossible to move furniture up and down spiral staircases because if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be designed or manufactured. You’re obviously restricting the use by reducing the width and 600mm... that’s the width of a kitchen/utility worktop. It’s so narrow for a stair of any kind. Some furniture can pose issues with your normal width doors but bear in mind, the normal minimum of those are 762mm with some being 686mm which are both wider than what you have stated. Also bear in mind you’d normally have direct straight through access with a door or you may have to deal another corner/turn once you’re through a door. With a spiral, you’ll have those restrictions for approx. 2-6-2.7m high.

 

I think it does really boil down to your intended use for the loft. If it is just going to be a glorified storage area, then do what you feel is best. If however you’d like to provide some additional habitable accommodation up there in the form of a Bedroom or Games room, then you’d want the access up to it as traditional as possible and therefore flowing with the existing stair.

 

I also assume the roof will be formed with cranked steels and lose cut timbers or were you going down the (attic) truss route? With the latter, there may be a few issues in trying to achieve that full height vaulted look. But of course, that is for a truss manufacturer to advise upon.

Edited by DevilDamo

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@DevilDamo Here's a quick examination of the two hallway options - google drive should let you use the arrow keys to quickly compare forward and back.

 

5 hours ago, DevilDamo said:

You would still see most of the rooflight (in its current position) if the new stair followed the existing. The rooflight could be re-positioned or re-sized to sit directly and centralised on the actual void, which would provide more benefit.

 

My above attempt was real quick so it's not 100% fair, but it gives it a decent shot, no? What did you think?

 

To me it seems clear the stair-copy version is more cluttered, but of course there are two hidden benefits, 7sqm more loft and 2.5sqm more bedroom 2 space

 

Quote

 

A section, a cross section through the building. It was just to see what floor to ceiling heights you had and how much usable space there’d be in the loft by the time you’ve taken into account the 900mm high dwarf stud walls.

 

Frankly I'm still terrible with this tool, so if anything this will show how poor my approximation of the reality is.. but eh.. here you go 😃. In particular, note that the roof is auto-generated  so I am not sure it's deeply helpful..

 

cross1.thumb.jpg.572d7475a9d004dac489f63f49ddbe94.jpgcross3.thumb.jpg.5ade09238c5145ff48d23df6d9d48de5.jpg

 

 

Quote

 

It’s not impossible to move furniture up and down spiral staircases because if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be designed or manufactured.

Ah ok, I assumed perhaps you'd have to use a winch or just build it into the house 'permanently'. I was actively considering a winch hook in the ceiling and one side wall of the loft openable.. low tech solution :)

 

Quote

 

You’re obviously restricting the use by reducing the width and 600mm... that’s the width of a kitchen/utility worktop. It’s so narrow for a stair of any kind. Some furniture can pose issues with your normal width doors but bear in mind, the normal minimum of those are 762mm with some being 686mm which are both wider than what you have stated. Also bear in mind you’d normally have direct straight through access with a door or you may have to deal another corner/turn once you’re through a door. With a spiral, you’ll have those restrictions for approx. 2-6-2.7m high.

Understood. The reason I'm so tempted by the unorthodox spiral is that indeed it seems to make best use of the space without being in view, but I'm aware there's clear downsides too. I might try to aim for 686mm.. I think I can live with that.. but 762-800 is too much of a sacrifice in this 'compact' (*) home.

 

Quote

I think it does really boil down to your intended use for the loft. If it is just going to be a glorified storage area, then do what you feel is best. If however you’d like to provide some additional habitable accommodation up there in the form of a Bedroom or Games room, then you’d want the access up to it as traditional as possible and therefore flowing with the existing stair.

 

You're hitting the nail on the head, thank you. I do think that for our family we have plenty of space in the current bedrooms, even if e.g. my mom moves in. So it's not really 'for us', the question becomes more a matter of resale value and perhaps doing cool stuff such as 'my special loft space' or some cool playing area for my kid's year 5-15.. (ha, and 17+ perhaps ;) )

 

Quote

 

I also assume the roof will be formed with cranked steels and lose cut timbers or were you going down the (attic) truss route?

With the latter, there may be a few issues in trying to achieve that full height vaulted look. But of course, that is for a truss manufacturer to advise upon.

 

Haven't given it much thought! Not my area, so I'm depending on the architect. Their suggestion seems to be a roof unlike the (auto generated!) one of my renders, that has a flat section containing the rooflights. Clearly 'the most space' typically has other downsides.. what would you advise?

 

Thanks again for taking the time, it's really helpful!

 

(*) I know I know, in the modern world, nobody who has 250m2 and a garden in a major commuter city can complain about lack of space but as perhaps you can appreciate I've tried my very hardest to apply compact/efficient design principles as much as possible, giving me pretty outsize features (8x5 living, 3x6 void) that are unusual for a 12x10 footprint

 

Edited by puntloos

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Your architect must have produced a workable section in order for the elevations to have been produced? The section would show the exact build up of all the various elements... their structure, insulation and internal finishes. This would really start putting a perspective on how much space you have, in particular at second floor/loft level.

 

I assume the cross sections you’ve provided are as you said just generic ones with the software you’re using as the floor to ceiling heights, first and second floor thicknesses along with roof build up do not appear to be relatable or feasible?

 

In terms of the roof structure, your two options would be cranked steels with cut timbers (First image) or attic trusses (Second image). Whichever option you/the architect/the engineer go with, the rafters would more than likely be 220-225mm deep, which excludes any insulation required to the underside.

627CD006-AB88-4DA1-8FD6-3E8EF5F92516.png

BB734D34-C812-4061-A886-F3862FFEC3A1.jpeg

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FWIW when I was a kid if I had a bookcase that opened to a hidden spiral stair to an attic playroom I would have *loved* it and doubtless been the envy of all my friends. It'd be a perfect treehouse/crow's nest/space station/whatever for younger imagination games and a brilliant hideaway as they get older.

 

Depends on how much you value the trade-off of getting stuff up there (trapdoor and winch is not a bad workaround IMO, or just get everything flat pack and build in situ), and perhaps more importantly the fact it would undoubtedly mean you'd be hosting all the playdates for years to come!

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The suggestion by @DevilDamo seems the simplest and best.  You would need a gallery landing to join the hall outside bed 4 to the bottom of the 1st to 2nd floor stair.  Have the same landing / void arrangement as the first floor.  There would be future potential to make this floor a master suite / teenagers / au pair accommodation and would be of value when selling.

 

The sections you have do not seem correct.

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