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Staircase Compliance

Posted by Paul Ackling 08th Apr 2019

It’s an exciting time for staircase design.

With custom builders like Peninsula Homes leading with innovation, stairs are no longer limited to just a functional purpose, but often play a key element of the overall design.

In addition to great design, every staircase must meet staircase compliance safety regulations. Australian Standards for stairs are regulated by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the National Construction Code (NCC). General Staircase works to keep abreast of industry regulations and will work with you to ensure your staircase is compliant and meets your desired visual design.


Glossary of Terms:

  • Flight – the part of the stair that has a uniform series of tread goings and risers
  • Tread – the part of the stair you step on; the step
  • Riser – the kickboard or vertical portion in between treads; the height between consecutive treads
  • Going – the depth of tread from the front to back
  • Balustrade – the whole section of railing, including posts, handrails and balusters
  • Handrail – the section of the stair you hold

A summary of requirements for stairs:

  • A single flight can have a maximum of 17 treads (steps). If more treads are required, a landing or platform must be incorporated into the design. Flights can be connected using landings.
  • The width of a stairway shall be a minimum of 600mm measured between the inside edges of handrails
  • Treads can have a minimum going of 240mm and a maximum going of 355mm

Note: The slip resistant surface of every tread shall extend across the full width of the stairway to meet P3 rating. Genneral Staircase advises you to speak with your Flooring or Painter/Polisher to ensure this standard is met.

  • Risers can have a minimum rise of 115mm and a maximum rise of 190mm
  • If the stair is an open rise stair, the riser opening must be less than 125mm

Note: A tolerance of 5mm from the nominated dimensions in approved documents is considered acceptable. This allows for the variation in the behaviour of timber caused by atmospheric moisture changes.

  • Landing minimum is 750mm

Note: Landings must be provided where the sill of a doorway threshold (more than 230mm above the adjoining surface) opens onto a stair that provides a change in floor level, or if the floor to ground level is greater than 3 risers or 570mm Vertical head clearance cannot be less than 2000mm measured vertically from the nosing of the tread, unless otherwise approved by the regulatory authority.

A summary of requirements for balustrades: 

  • A balustrade is required for any accessible walkway, stairway and balcony where the floor level is more than 1000mm
  • Balustrade to staircase rake has a minimum height of 865mm
  • Balustrade to void or landing has a minimum height of 1000mm
  • Balustrade openings must be less than 125mm. For stairs, the space is tested above the nosing line
  • For floors more than 4 metres above the surface beneath it, any horizontal elements within the balustrade or other barrier between 150mm and 760mm above the floor must not facilitate climbing.
  • Handrails to a stairway must be located to at least one side, running the full length of the flight, and have no obstruction that will tend to break handhold.

The possibilities are endless for your staircase design. Working with elements of timber, wood turning, metal, glass and premium polishing, the realm of finishes and textures of your staircase are broad and diverse.

With a synergy between Peninsula Homes and Genneral Staircase designers, we build not only compliant staircases, but also the staircase of your dreams.


Article written by Genneral Staircase for Peninsula Homes


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