Staircases Specialists

Staircases Specialists

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Staircase Building Regulations in Ireland?

Staircases are composed of four parts; the tread or going (i.e. where you step), the riser (the height between each step), the nosing (the lip that extends past the tread of the lower stair to create an overlap), and the railing. Depending on where the staircase is to be installed - domestic houses, utility stairs, or general access - there are different limits to each. 

For the purpose of domestic houses, the tread of the stair cannot be less than 220 mm, while the rise cannot exceed 220 mm, with a maximum pitch of 42°. A 2m headroom is also recommended, but your staircase will have to conform to precise specifications here.

Furthermore, whether building or refurbishing, all staircases in Ireland have to conform to the Building Regulations Part K Amendment 1997 - 2014. This means that:

  • All the treads of the staircase should be level and, for open risers, the distance between each should be less than 100 mm.
  • There can be no permanent obstructions in front of a staircase. This includes door swings. A door may only open upon a landing if it leaves a clear area of at least 400 mm.
  • With the exception of the landing, the staircase should be level. The landing may be sloped if the gradient is less than 1:60 in the direction of travel. The surface must also be permanently firm.
  • The side of the stairs should be guarded with rails.
  • Ramps, ladders, stairways, and ramps will allow for safe passage for all users of the building.
  • The sides of all floors and balconies, any part of a roof that people normally have access to, as well as sunken areas of a building, must be railed to protect users from falling.

As far as railings go, a handrail is required on at least one side if the staircase is less than 1 m wide. For wider staircases, two handrails are required. The height of the handrail should be between 900 mm and 1,000 mm along the stairs and between 900 mm and 1,100 mm on the landings. No handrail is needed on the first two bottom steps. Finally, the distance between the spindles of the guard supporting the handrail must not exceed 99 mm.

You should consult Part M (Access for Disabled People) of the Building Regulations if your stairs will be used by people with impaired mobility.

Rest assured that your YourPro contractor will advise you on the best solution for your specific project and ensure that the project meets building regulations.



 

Do I Need a Special Permit to Build a Staircase?

That attic you want to convert into a loft by quickly adding a staircase over the weekend? Yes, that’s almost certainly going to need a permit.

When it comes to any form of home improvement, be it an extension or a renovation, it is best practice to always check with your local council for the current requirements as regulations and legislation do change. As a rule of thumb, any cosmetic work, such as painting or titling, won’t require special permits. Any form of structural work or alteration, plumbing, or electrical modification, will. The same goes for changes to the roofline, sewage, adding fireplaces, and modifying windows or other openings.

If you are a tenant, always check with your landlord before commencing with any work, cosmetic or otherwise. Even something as “little” as painting a living room wall could affect your security deposit when the time comes to move out. Depending on your lease contract, charges for necessary maintenance work might be covered by your landlord. This could be either by arranging for the work to be done through someone like YourPro themselves or by compensating you for the expense of having it professionally seen to.

Our carpentry specialists will also advise you on the required permits and building specifications to ensure that everything is by the book when they come to inspect your existing staircase or proposed installation space.



 

Does My Staircase Have to Have a Railing?

Any staircase consisting of more than two steps must have a railing. Yes, even those beautiful floating stairs you saw in an interior design magazine, they too need a railing. If your proposed staircase is less than 1 m wide, you will need a railing on at least one side of the stairs, while wider staircases will require two. 

For health and safety reasons, it is also essential that objects and limbs can’t get stuck in between the spindles of the railing. This means that a ball with a diameter of 100 mm must not be able to pass through the space between the spindles.

If your staircase has more than one landing, you will also be required to have gates at one or both sides of the stairs. As a safety precaution, those with young children should also consider installing gates at the top and bottom of a staircase.



 

How Long Does it Take to Build a Staircase?

The time it will take to install your staircase depends on a number of factors, most notably its intricacy and location. You’re looking at roughly two days if you are getting a contractor to install a straight, off-the-shelf staircase. Five days to a week might be needed if it’s a curved or circular staircase.

A detailed or customised design will take longer in manufacturing time but might not necessarily affect the installation time. If you are outsourcing the entire process, your carpenter will be able to give you an accurate estimation of how long it is likely to take. If, however, you are separating the process into ordering the staircase from a manufacturer and only getting in a carpenter for the installation, it’s best to first find out from the manufacturer how long it will take to be delivered. Ask your carpenter when they will be available, and arrange with the manufacturer for it to be completed and delivered at that time.



 

Will Any Staircase Do?

A staircase is more than just a cosmetic or subjective purchase. It is a structural element of your house that’s going to be there for many years. There are serious structural concerns that come with installing a staircase. These will impact both the type of staircase you can install and where it can be installed. 

If you are merely refurbishing your existing staircase, you should be fine choosing any design from a stylistic point of view. However, suppose you are adding a staircase by adding another floor or converting your loft, for instance. In that case, it’s time to put budget based decisions aside for a moment and consider uniformity. When, one day, it comes to listing your house on the market, a house with two (or more!) different styles of stairs will likely raise concerns with buyers over the quality of the extensions or renovations. This can negatively impact the price of your house. In this case, it is strongly advised that you match the design of the proposed staircase with that of any existing stairs.



 

What Does it Cost to Build a Staircase?

The cost of your staircase will depend primarily on your material choice and its layout or design. A straight, single flight of stairs made from MDF will be the cheapest at around €500. Solid pine stairs will be in the mid-range mark, while hardwoods like oak or walnut will be high-end. Bear in mind that MDF and pine stairs will likely also need to be carpeted at an additional expense. Bespoke showcase pieces that can reach into the tens if not hundreds of thousands. Expect to pay around €2,000 for a standard, low-spec staircase, excluding labour.