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andrewm

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Since recent discussions have revealed that there seem to be many people on this forum that work with wood professionally I thought I might pose this problem here.

I need to replace my stairs in order to increase the headroom a bit and to get something a bit more contemporary. This is not something that I care to do myself, and in any case my workshop is not big enough for that size project. But whom should I approach first? It?s probably too small a job for an architect and I worry that an interior designer would be more concerned with what colour to paint them. A builder could probably do the installation easily but I want something more than an off-the-shelf design, not least because of the restricted room.

So, is this something that a local joinery could undertake, both design and construction, or would they be prefer to be given a design and a set of plans and be told ?build this?? Structural loading calculations may be an issue but I don?t know.

Ideally I would like someone who can come up with a suitable design, not necessarily in wood, produce it and install it. Any ideas would be appreciated because getting started in this one seems to be the difficult bit.

Andrew
 

Melville

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Hello Andrewm, i would suggest you find o good joiner for this project,but one who does not mind working in different materials.

I would also suggest you ask to see some of his work and, the fact that he takes his own site measurements as there is far more to good stair building than meets the eye.

It might also be a good idea to ask your local building control to send out a inspector to discuss building regs with you so that you know what limits you are working to, i have done this myself and find them more than helpfull.

When i measure for a staircase i always transfer measurements for total rise and going onto a rod, this is insurance and can save a second site visit. good luck.
 

Aragorn

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My experience of the local joiners where I live is that they need proper plans. They won't design stuff, they just build it!
I think getting the local building regs people around is a must. From there, personally I would go to a good builder, as they can manage the whole project, draft in the architect if needed, or make drawings themselves and go straight to the joiner.
 

Keith Smith

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Andrew, unless you are going to get a designer or architect in, and that IMHO is a risky thing to do, you need to get a good idea of what you want before you approach anybody. Do some rough sketches with dimensions so that you have something to take with you and then phone a few joiners and if possible go and visit their workshops. If they can't help you they may well know somebody who can.

In my experience I am always put off when prospective customers call with little idea what they want.

Keith
 

Steve James

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Hi all

Andrew, contact your local joinery workshop.
They will be able to tell you straight away what you can and cannot do.
There are certain limitations with stairs which will restrict what you can do.
Certainly with new build, 2m headroom and 42 degrees maximum pitch spring to mind for a dwelling.
As I said earlier, contact your local joinery workshop and ask them to come out and give an estimate.
Hope this helps.

Steve
 

Mcluma

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OK Steve,

ONE MORE TIME

FIRST SPEAK TO YOUR LOCAL BUILDING REGS INSPECTOR, and then to a joiner

Sorry to say but you are responsible for the stairs, and not the joiner, so if its wrong, its on your account.

If the stairs are wrong from a building REGS point, YOU cannot even sell your house anymore. SO do not mess about here.

so after you know whats possible and not, you cann desing anything you want, your imagination is the limit :wink:

Mcluma
 

andrewm

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First port of call before I even started any of this was Part K of the building regs. [mods: note I'm talking about Part K here not Part P :)] which is from where I get my design contraints. I have spoken to the Building Control Officer for the area and he has told me that I can put in something that is not compliant provided it is better than what is there at the moment. So provided I am increasing the headroom it does not have to meet current regs. However I cannot do so at the expense of making somehting else that did previously meet the regs fail to meet them - if you get my gist.

First port of call seems to be a local joiners that specialises in stairs to see what they can do and find out what I am going to have to get others to do first.

Many thanks for your input peeps,

Andrew
 

Woodythepecker

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Andrew, i believe that you do need planing permission if you are going to rip a staircase out and put a different one in.

There is a lot more to it then designing one. For a start the riser and going (tread) have to be a certain size. You have to leave a certain amount of headroom etc, etc.

Why don't you contact a company that designs staircase such as www.the-wooden-hill-company.co.uk they might be able to help.

Regards

Woody

Andrew i replys seemed to have crossed
 

Steve James

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Hi again

Firstly Mcluma, why the shouting!
As I said in my previous post, any joinery workshop should know the building regs.
I`ve put in hundreds of flights of stairs, and seen many actually measured up on site.
These guys know what they`re doing, otherwise they would`nt stay in business, it is in their interest to know the regs , they want to get paid!!!!

Steve
 

andrewm

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Devon,

I don't think that there is any requirement for planning permission per se because what I am doing is not affecting what the house looks like. I am just replacing one staircase with another. There is a requirement for building regulation approval to make sure that what I do meets current building standards as far as it can.

Before posting I looked at munerous sites like the wooden hill company but most seem to offer modular systems which while I would be happy fitting them for access to a loft extension for the main staircase I want something a little more substantial. One company that does do custom built stairs is http://www.bisca.co.uk but while they look wonderful (especially the all glass structures) they are, unfortunately, outside of my price range.

I am going to have a go at contacting some local joiners to see what they say and take it from there. I will report back when I know more.

Andrew
 

Mcluma

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He Steve,

SORRY FOR SHOUTING AT YOU :lol: :lol:

as a matter of fact, i wanted to make a point to Andrew that he should contact a building inspector, (which he did)

But I had the names mixed up :oops:

As to Andrew, Well if the inspector thinks you can put it in

you can put it in. You have done your duty as to speak to him and report the issue, and he has acted

So you are free to go

McLuma
 

Noel

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Overhere and I'm sure it's maybe the same in England etc providing your house has been certified there's no need to talk to planning, building control or anybody else. You can essentially do what you want providing there are no alterations to the floor plan or the shape of the property. Putting in stairs is no different from replacing your kitchen. And if the stairs fall down that's between you and the maker/fitter and the courts. Certainly the advice from building control can be helpful but I can't fathom why so many people feel to assume that officialdom needs be invited into your home when it there is no need for it. Maybe it's the laissez faire mentality overhere, dunno.

Noel
 

andrewm

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Going a bit off-topic here but there is some difference between stairs and a kitchen in that stairs are covered by Part K of the building regulations and therefore officialdom defines what can and cannot be done. The same cannot be said of kitchens except with respect to wiring when it comes under Part P and the building control dept needs to be involved unless you are able to self-certify.
 

Noel

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I'm sure you're correct and I'm certainly not been critical about your approach but as I said things are different over here, hence the comparison of stairs and kitchens. And your Part P isn't an issue. If your property is a few years old or more nobody gives a toot what you do. And long may it stay that way.
 

Keith Smith

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Noel that is the way it SHOULD be here, but officialdom is getting out of hand.

I am trying to change 3 windows, admittedly in a listed building but I have been at it with different council departments for over 12 months, think I might move over to Ireland.

Back to stairs

I worked on a barn conversion last year, I only did second fix so had nothing to do with the initial installation of the stairs. The stairs were fitted exactly according to the architects drawings but when the BCO came out for final inspection he failed them for headroom. We had to remove the ceiling, cut out the oak beams and replace them with steels inside the roof cavity. Did the architect want to know?

Keith
 
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