Staircase Design Principles & Construction

In most situations, a staircase is an integral part of the home’s design and style. Stairs may be steep or gradual, narrow or wide, purely functional or grand and showy. Some are built in place by woodworkers, finish carpenters, or stairmakers; others are factory manufactured, shipped to a building site, and installed by carpenters.

A staircase is an integral part of a building. It is a series of steps arranged in an order so that people can go from one floor of a building to another . The stair should be as per standard design principles and constructed in a such a manner that people can negotiate the steps with ease.

A staircase is an integral part of a building; residence, office or public utility. It is designed and built according to the local building codes. A staircase may be straight, circular, flared or spiral. Ergonomic design principles are to be followed in the planning and construction of stairs to avoid inconvenience to the users as well as to avoid accidents.

Any house built on more than one level has at least one staircase that serves as its vertical thoroughfare. There are, of course, many different kinds of staircases, differing by their materials, construction methods, general shape, design, and a number of other features.

Staircase Design Principles
Stairs are a series of steps arranged in an order to provide access from one floor of a building to another floor. They should be provided in a convenient location of the building. In case of a multistory building, though elevators will be there for the normal movement from one floor to another, stairs are a must for emergency exit in case of fire or other calamities.

Technical Terms
The following are the technical terms associated with a stair.
  1. Step: The portion of the stair where the foot lands during ascending/descending.
  2. Tread: The horizontal portion of a step.
  3. Riser: The vertical portion of a step.
  4. Stringer: The inclined member which supports the steps.
  5. Landing: It is the horizontal platform provided at the end of each flight.
  6. Pitch: It is the slope of the stair.
  7. Railing: It is the inclined member of a stair which is to support the hand.
  8. while descending or ascending.
  9. Baluster: It is the vertical intermediate support of the hand-rail.
Characteristics of a Good Stair
The following are the characteristics of a good stair.
  1. It should have easy access from all sides of the building
  2. It should be well ventilated
  3. It should have wide landing at end of each flight
  4. Normally there should not be more than 12 steps in a flight.
  5. The rise and go of the steps should be so proportioned that the ascending and descending of the flight is easy.
  6. Handrail must be provided at least on one side of the stair
  7. The inclination of the stair should be between 30 to 45 degrees.
Types of Stairs
  1. The different types of stairs are:
  2. Straight stairs
  3. Quarter-turn stairs
  4. Dog-legged stairs
  5. Open-newel stairs
  6. Circular stairs
  7. Bifurcated stairs
  8. Geometrical stairs
  9. Spiral stairs
Construction of Stairs
Stairs are constructed with any of the following materials. Brick masonry, Stone masonry, Timber, Steel, Reinforced Cement Concrete

Summary of Staircase Design Principles
  1. Type of Stair: The type of stair depends on the type of building, availability of space and the purpose of stair.
  2. Rise and Going: The standard rise and tread is 15 x 25 cm. However the dimensions can be changed depending on the actual site conditions.
  3. Number of rises: The number of rises is equal to the total height of the room divided by one rise.
  4. Number of threads: This is equal to number of rises minus one.
A stair’s design is heavily affected by its function. An entry stairway that handles all up-and-down foot traffic and is placed in a highly visible location is bound to be much more grand than a stairway to a hardly-ever-used basement or where economy of space is imperative.

Regardless of type, all stairs have the same fundamental parts, as shown here. It is how these parts are built and combined that gives a stairway its style and individuality. Of course, not all stairways have all of these parts-for example, some stairways have open risers.

Stairs are built according to basic rules and principles intended to make them safe to use. These rules, governed by building codes, stipulate the permissible heights of risers, depth and width of treads, placement of handrails, and similar concerns.

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