What Are the Australian Design Rules For Stairs In Australia
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Introduction

Stairs are an essential part of any building, and they must be designed and constructed to ensure the safety of the users. In Australia, there are specific design rules that must be followed when designing stairs.

These rules are in place to ensure that stairs are safe, functional, and accessible to everyone. In this article, we will discuss the Australian design rules for stairs in Australia.

Key Takeaways

  • The Australian design rules for stairs are in place to ensure that stairs are safe, functional, and accessible to everyone.
  • Three key Australian standards outline requirements for the design, construction, and installation of stairways: AS 1428.1, AS/NZ 4586, and AS 1657.
  • Staircases must slope at an angle of 20° to 45°, but between 30° and 38° is recommended.
  • Stair treads need to be slip-resistant and extend across the full width of the stairway.
  • Stairways wider than 1 metre need a handrail on both sides.
What Are the Australian Design Rules For Stairs In Australia? 61

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Australian Design Rules for Stairs

There are three key Australian standards which outline requirements for the design, construction, and installation of stairways:

  1. AS 1428.1: Design For Access and Mobility, General Requirements for Access – New Buildings
    This standard outlines the general requirements for access in new buildings. It covers topics such as ramps, stairs, lifts, and handrails. The standard also provides guidelines for the design of stairs to ensure that they are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
  2. AS/NZ 4586: Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials
    This standard outlines the slip resistance requirements for new pedestrian surface materials. It provides guidelines for the selection of materials that are slip-resistant and suitable for use on stairs.
  3. AS 1657: Fixed Platforms, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders – Design, Construction, Installation
    This standard outlines the requirements for the design, construction, and installation of fixed platforms, walkways, stairways, and ladders. It provides guidelines for the design of stairs to ensure that they are safe and functional.

Stair Design Requirements

The Australian design rules for stairs cover a wide range of topics, including the number of stairs in a single flight, the slope of the staircase, the width of the stairway, and the design of the treads and risers. Here are some of the key requirements:

  • The Australian standards for stairs and landings state that you can use a maximum of 18 stairs (risers) in a single flight. Flights can be connected using landings. A barrier, a landing 2+ metres in length, or a change in the direction of the stairway of 90+ degrees needs to take place every 36 stairs.
  • Staircases must slope at an angle of 20° to 45°, but between 30° and 38° is recommended.
  • Stair treads need to be slip-resistant and extend across the full width of the stairway. The edge of the treads should be visible against the background. Slip-resistant nosings can be added to meet these standards. Treads must be solid if the stairway is more than 10 metres high or connects more than 3 stories.
  • Handrails are required on all exposed sides of the staircase unless there’s a fixed structure within 10cm of the stairway. Every staircase needs one handrail. Stairways wider than 1 metre need a handrail on both sides.

Advice & Actionable Tips

  • When designing stairs, always follow the Australian design rules to ensure that they are safe, functional, and accessible to everyone.
  • Use slip-resistant materials for the treads and risers to prevent accidents.
  • Ensure that the staircase is well-lit to improve visibility and prevent accidents.
  • Install handrails on both sides of the staircase if it is wider than 1 metre.
  • Consider adding slip-resistant nosings to the treads to improve safety.

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Stair Treads and Slip-Resistance

Stair treads play a crucial role in preventing slips and falls. According to Australian design rules, they must be slip-resistant and extend across the full width of the stairway.

To meet these standards, the edge of the treads should be visible against the background. For added safety, slip-resistant nosings can be incorporated.

It’s essential to note that if the stairway exceeds a height of 10 meters or connects more than three stories, the treads must be solid.

This ensures the structural integrity and durability of the stairs, providing peace of mind for both designers and users.

Handrails: A Necessity for Safety

Handrails are a non-negotiable element in stair design, as they contribute significantly to user safety.

According to Australian regulations, handrails are required on all exposed sides of the staircase unless there’s a fixed structure within 10cm of the stairway.

Every staircase, especially those wider than 1 meter, must have at least one handrail on both sides.

Installing handrails serves a dual purpose: preventing accidents and providing support for individuals with mobility challenges.

Always ensure that handrails are securely fixed and comply with height and diameter standards outlined in the Australian Design Rules.

Advice & Actionable Tips

When embarking on a stair design project, consider these actionable tips to align with Australian design rules:

  1. Prioritize Safety: Always follow the Australian design rules to ensure stairs are safe, functional, and accessible to everyone.
  2. Material Selection: Choose slip-resistant materials for treads and risers to prevent accidents.
  3. Optimal Lighting: Improve visibility and prevent accidents by ensuring the staircase is well-lit.
  4. Dual Handrails: Install handrails on both sides if the staircase width exceeds 1 meter.
  5. Slip-Resistant Nosings: Enhance safety by incorporating slip-resistant nosings on the treads.

FAQ

What are the Australian design rules for stairs?

The Australian design rules for stairs are in place to ensure that stairs are safe, functional, and accessible to everyone. There are three key Australian standards that outline requirements for the design, construction, and installation of stairways: AS 1428.1, AS/NZ 4586, and AS 1657.

How many stairs can be in a single flight?

The Australian standards for stairs and landings state that you can use a maximum of 18 stairs (risers) in a single flight. Flights can be connected using landings. A barrier, a landing 2+ metres in length, or a change in the direction of the stairway of 90+ degrees needs to take place every 36 stairs.

What is the slope of a staircase?

Staircases must slope at an angle of 20° to 45°, but between 30° and 38° is recommended. This range ensures a balance between comfortable ascent and descent while maintaining safety standards.

Adhering to Australian design rules ensures that your stairs not only meet regulatory requirements but also prioritize the well-being of those who use them.

By integrating safety measures and following these guidelines, your stair design can seamlessly combine functionality and aesthetics.

Remember, a well-designed staircase is a journey made safer and more accessible for everyone.

Resources & Further Reading

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