Loft Conversion Stairs

Published: 26th February 2009
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One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning a new loft project is the location of the loft conversion stairs and whether they will be compatible with the building regulations.

The Building Regulations

Rather unexpectedly the building regulations regarding loft stairs are not too onerous.


The general rule regarding headroom is that there must be a minimum clearance of 2.0 meters for a staircase but, for loft stairs, the regulations are relaxed a little and only 1.9 meters needs to be achieved.

Because of this is there is a slope where the stairs enter the loft then the clearance only needs to be 1.8 meters and 2 meters on the highest side.

Width Of The Loft Stairs

The usual requirement regarding the width of loft conversion stairs is that they should be at least 800mm wide. Though that isn't always the case. If your new loft conversion has only one inhabitable room than the building regulations will allow a minimum width of just 600mm for the loft stairs.

Types Of Loft Stairs

There three main types of loft stairs; the traditional and most common type is the straight staircase although, depending on the available space, this is sometimes split into a quarter or half turn with a small landing incorporated.

Another option for loft conversion stairs is the very stylish and contemporary spiral staircases.

As an absolute last resort compact stairs, also called alternating thread stairs, can be used. These can only be used when space is severely restricted and it just isn't possible to use any other kind of loft stairs.

Compact stairs are very steep and are very unsuitable for the young and old. The use of these kind of stairs is tightly controlled and they must have handrails fixed to each side and, it should be noted, they can only be used as a straight flight of stairs. Because of the depth and angle of the stairs they cannot be used with a landing or as a corner layout.

Building Regulations ' A Summary For Loft Conversion Stairs

Accept when the building control officer will agree to the use of alternating tread or compact stairs the regulations for loft stairs are:

The pitch must not be steeper than 43 degrees

The goings which is the main part of the tread must not be less than 220mm deep

The risers which is the vertical part of the step must not be higher than 220mm

Except as noted above the minimum headroom must be 2 meters across the full width of the stair.

Although they only need to be used on one side the handrails on loft conversion stairs must have a minimum height of 900mm

The gap between handrail spindles known as balusters must not be larger than 90mm.

When the stairs are used to turn a corner than the winders must be 220mm deep at the centre and not less than 50mm at the narrow end.


Craig Ellyard writes extensively for Loft Conversion Uk and is the author of the best selling ebook Plan And Design Your Loft Conversion

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