There is couple of common mistakes in staircase design that should be avoided. Most people do not realize the many choices they have for staircases. May be they do not know about the some mistake in stairs design, it may be width of staircase, size of treads or height of risers. These all mistakes can easily be customized if the home owner knows about the common mistakes in stairs designs.
In multistory buildings sometimes staircase width is less than the required width because of lack of space or to cut cost of construction. Such staircases are uncomfortable for apartment owners and may be fatal at the time of family gatherings, fire or other accident. The minimum width of staircase should be 125cm for two or three apartments where the number of users is more than 10.
Due to space adjustment, non-availability of space or faulty design, steep slope has been given in the stair because of which users feel uncomfortable and it is very difficult to use stair for old age and ill persons. In multistory building, if there is not a facility of lift or may be lift got out of order, steep slope stairs become uncomfortable for people living on 2nd and 3rd floor. 30-degree slope is ideal for stairs, due to lack of space slope should not exceed 45 degree.
Tread width less than 200 mm may be dangerous and cause accident. Keep minimum width of tread 250mm for residential and 300 mm for non-residential buildings. To increase the width of tread step nosing should be provided. If the riser of stair step makes obtuse angle with tread, it will also increase the width of tread.
Make sure riser’s maximum height is 190 mm and minimum height is 150 mm. Risers of height more than 190 mm are very uncomfortable. It causes difficulty for old age and ill people; children also do not feel comfortable. Riser’s maximum height for residential building should be 190 mm and for commercial building should be 170mm. If the available space is very less than riser height can be 200 mm. Riser of heights less than 150mm are also too much uncomfortable.
Make sure that the all risers are of consistent height from the top to bottom otherwise it may cause accident. Risers of different height will throw the cadence of foot that may cause fall in stairs.
Floor is an important feature of safe and easily accessible stairs. Non slippery material should be used for stairs floor. If the floor of stair steps slippery, then it may cause accident and some time it may be fatal. Marble floor is best suitable for residence; avoid polishing of marble that will make the marble slippery. Chequered tile flooring is best suitable for steps of stairs in public place where stair is open to rain as in railway over bridges at platform etc.
Handrail must be provided in the stairs for comfortable use of stairs. Make sure that hand rails are easily seen in day or night time. Where both end of stair is open provide the handrail on both sides of stairs. In case where stair has walls on both sides then handrail should be provided on walls. The height of handrail should not be less than 800mm and not more than 900mm. The space between the supports of handrail in houses should not more than 250mm and horizontal/ cross support should be 150 mm from top of stair steps to avoid any accidental fall especially for kids.
Make sure there is proper arrangement of light other wise it may cause accident in night. 2-way electric switches should be used for stairs for easy access of switch from top and bottom of the stairs. Provision of natural light and ventilation is necessary in the stair to save energy bill during day time and stair can be used at the time of electricity failure. Due to proper ventilation, suffocation problem also not arises.
Some times it has been seen that baby / kids climb on the steps and are not able to return then they either cry for help or fell in the steps. To avoid such situation proper gates/ doors must be provide at the top and bottom of stair with locking arrangements. It is also necessary for security to avoid the entry of intruders.
The clear height above stair steps is called headroom. If headroom is less than 170 cm, than there is a chances of accident. In this situation when a person going upward there is less chance of accident but in down ward direction there are more chances of accident to strike head on beam of landing/ flight of stair. In unavoidable situation, a caution is to be given by printing “mind your head”. For easy movement of furniture in stairs, the minimum clear headroom in stairs should be 2.00 meters.
The maximum numbers of steps should not be more than 15 in one flight if so landing should be provided after 15 steps for comfort while moving up and down the stairs. Avoid water tap near the entry of stairs on terrace if so there are chances of water flow in the stairs that will make the stairs slippery.