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#1 Posted : 04 July 2024 16:12:27(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

A small block of flats (4 floors, but ground is a retail unit) has 5 studio flats. Two of the stairways (ground to first, and first to second) have no banisters. The width of these stairways are 73cm and 69cm. Managing agent feels that putting a banister in would narrow the stairway further, creating more hazard than what exists currently without the bansister.

In terms of fire escape routes the minimum recommended width is 75cm, unless it is to be used by less than 5 people - which might be ok for the upper floor staircase, but not for the ground-first staircase, which may be used by 5 or more people. (Obviously, it currently is already below 75cm.)

Any thoughts on whether it is appropriate to install banisters or not?


#2 Posted : 04 July 2024 17:50:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Have you thought making a pig's ear out of this problem? ;)

If you feel a handrail is necessary (I feel it may be difficult to not come to that conclusion), a pig's ear handrail may be useful

This one protrudes less than 70mm and will have a minimal impact on the overall width of the staircase as it would be a hip height and in any case, flow down this staircase will be in single file and the handrail will not impact that 

And at £15 per metre it wont break the bank


thanks 3 users thanked Messey for this useful post.
Mosh on 05/07/2024(UTC), firesafety101 on 05/07/2024(UTC), peter gotch on 05/07/2024(UTC)
#3 Posted : 05 July 2024 09:50:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Nice one Messey, the main advantage of installing that Pigs Ear is added sefety for those using the stairs.

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 05 July 2024 13:55:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Mosh

This is probably a conversion, and an issue (including the width of the staircases) which should have been considered at the time of conversion, but perhaps you are where you are. 

Have you considered talking to Fire and Rescue and then to Building Control?

Perhaps there is a solution that would enable handrails but still result in less intrusion into what are already very narrow staircases. 

Research by the Health and Safety Laboratory (which is an arm of the Health and Safety Executive) conclude that the value of a handrail is more as something to grab on to if falling than as something to hold on to when climbing up or down.

......and on that basis, I think that perhaps a narrow bar (say 20mm diameter) with sufficient gap between bar and wall might be an alternative to something else.

Imagine a curtain pole but on its side! 

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
Mosh on 05/07/2024(UTC)
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