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Old Fashion Ideas solve a Steel Staircase problem

The Steel Staircase Problem

Cosmetic International  employed Woodhouse Contracts of Hatfield as the main contractor on their Watford site. Woodhouse’s requirement was to fit a compliant steel staircase into a limited space between a concrete slab and a proposed new disabled lift and that it be not only a compliant but aesthetically pleasing.

Steel staircase architect drawing
Steel staircase architect drawing

All Metal Solutions was approached to become the sub-contractor to design, build and fit the stairway. We designed several versions as solutions to the problem for comment. After both the Client and main contractor commented and after various further issues were discussed; All Metal Solutions produced a final drawing of the steel staircase for structural approval .

final steel staircase 2Building regulations state that every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that every level can be reached safely by stairs or ramps.

As half of all accidents involving falls within and around buildings occur on stairways, this risk can be greatly reduced by ensuring that any change in level incorporates basic precautions to guard against accident and falls.

Regulation for Steel Stairways and Landings

The effective width is measured between handrails, clear of obstructions. The effective width of our stairway was in accordance with the recommendations of a minimum of 800 mm from one storey to another where a continuous handrail is fitted to both sides of a flight with no more than 16 rises.

final steel staircaseThe design of any pedestrian protective barriers in and around such gaps in any protective barrier should not be large enough to permit a child to pass through. To ensure this, openings in a protective barrier should prevent the passage of a 100 mm diameter sphere. However, the space between a rise in a stair and the lowest edge of the protective barrier may be larger than 100 mm, provided the lowest edge of the barrier is not more than 50 mm above, and parallel to, the pitch line of the stair.

There are more points to be considered of course and we took all the necessary steps at this design stage to ensure we complied.

On approval we manufactured and have since installed the steel staircase as can be seen from the pictures. However, the job is not yet complete. As soon as the builder clears the area we will be installing the glass panels onto the stainless steel handrails.


The problem was to construct and fit a steel stairway with limited space between a concrete slab, a new lift and a main entrance doorway. In addition the client also wanted clear under stair space for storage.

The solution that was eventually put into practice was affected by good old fashioned drawing and drafting works. Delays that occurred in the process caused by planning and client discussions meant  All Metal Solutions had to accommodate a delayed start date of over a month, and to provide a quicker turn round when the go was finally given; demonstrating All Metal Solution’s great flexibility and awareness in our planning and costing.

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