House extension   UK
 Home extension guide - how to build a house extension and refurbish your home


About Us Advertise on this site Contact Us Privacy Disclaimer Site Map


Use our professional services for your own home extension plans

Loft Conversion Access and Stairs Options

Accessing a loft conversion is usually via a Building Regulations compliant set of stairs. Gone are the days when a ‘pull down loft ladder’ was an acceptable means of accessing the loft conversion. However, the Building Regulations do allow for certain flexibilities regarding the final choice of access stairs that you might want to use within a loft conversion.

Safe means of escape is of paramount importance for a loft conversion especially in the second and third storey application of a loft conversion. This article wont go into all the aspects of fire safety, early warning and compartmentation but will simply focus on the types of access stairs a house owner can consider for a loft conversion.

Firstly, as a general rule, if a loft conversion is to only serve one room or even a bedroom with an en-suite or separate bathroom for example, the clear stair width can be reduced down from 800mm to 600mm. This can be very useful for some very tight spaces for the new stair well so it should be considered as a design option. This is applicable for a first and second floor application for a loft conversion

Secondly, a compliant stair case under Building Regulations irrespective of its clear width should always be considered first. This means that the new access stair set for the loft conversion must have minimum and maximum rise and going dimensions combined with a maximum pitch angle. Other dimensional criteria applies for the hand rails and balustrade.

Should a compliant set of access stairs not be possible for the loft conversion then the Building Regulations will allow for the installation of a ‘space saver’ set of stairs that have alternating specially cut treads and a steeper spine pitch of around 70 degrees.

However, these are a very last option and the Building Inspector will want it proven that a compliant set of access stairs is not possible for the loft conversion before accepting the space saver stairs as a suitable alternative. This is because in the event of fire a panic situation will usually arise and as these space saver stairs requires a thought through regimented way of using a specific step for each specific foot. It can be very easy to get the sequence wrong along the flight of space saver stairs that could cause tripping and falling.

As a general rule of thumb, space saver stairs are easy to use for the able bodied and fit between the ages of say 12 and 55. Others outside of these age limits and less functional bodies may find them difficult to use even in a calm and normal use condition. What would happen trying to get down these stairs in a panic fire situation can prove disastrous for some people.






































©2012-All rights reserved

This page last updated:

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Finder