Strin­gent rules on stair­cases

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Fol­low­ing from Mo­hammed’s ques­tion last week, Vivien has sent me this about noisy floors:

Re sound­proof­ing a floor, my friend had an up­stairs with just the floor­boards form­ing the ceil­ing down­stairs, and you couldn’t so much as sneeze up­stairs with­out it be­ing heard around the house. So she put down rub­ber mat­ting and then car­pets and it’s much im­proved. Of course, there is no longer a nice wooden floor vis­i­ble up­stairs.

And the build­ing con­trac­tor fell down the stairs and broke an an­kle in two places. Other than that, it was a great suc­cess.

This is not the first time I have heard about builders and stair­cases, and it is usu­ally dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase.

On the sub­ject of stair­cases, there are strin­gent reg­u­la­tions around the de­sign and safety mea­sures re­quired, many of which are of­ten over­looked for the sake of aes­thet­ics. Treads and ris­ers must be of cer­tain di­men­sions and handrails are a must as is get­ting the an­gle cor­rect.

All too of­ten I have seen the stair­case be­ing fit­ted into the open­ing, rather than the open­ing be­ing de­signed around a safe stair­case.

So, if you are build­ing a dou­ble-storey, en­sure that the stair­case de­sign is cor­rect, or if you are buy­ing a dou­ble-storey home make sure you can han­dle the stairs.

What can be even more dan­ger­ous are small steps, a small dif­fer­ence in heights be­tween rooms or go­ing from in­side to out­side over a small step, which of­ten causes peo­ple to trip. Th­ese ar­eas should be clearly iden­ti­fied with some kind of warn­ing sign.

A fi­nal word on stairs: I have of­ten seen peo­ple have to get rid of a favourite piece of fur­ni­ture be­cause it won’t fit up the stair­case to the top floor. Of course you can spend a for­tune hav­ing the piece dis­man­tled and then re­assem­bled and I have even seen cranes be­ing used to get items to the top floor.

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