What are Part K building regulations and how do they apply to staircases in commercial properties?


What are Part K building regulations and how do they apply to staircases in commercial properties?

At Essential Projects, we work alongside architects and contractors during the initial design phase to help them design and plan a staircase that will fit within the space available, and one of the key aspects of our involvement is to ensure the design will meet building regulations.

The regulations we reference are called Part K building regulations and this article is to help explain some of the aspects that will apply to commercial staircase or balustrading projects.

As expert fabricators that specialises in the manufacturing of bespoke metalwork and glasswork, Essential Projects has to comply with Part K building regulations on nearly every project. 

What are Part K Regulations?

Part K building regulations is an approved document that forms part of the overall Building Regulations 2010 legislation. The document relates to the protection from falling, collision and impact on all building works on commercial properties for people who are responsible for building work (e.g. agent, designer, builder or installer).

The document is broken down into the following sections. 

  1. Stairs and ladders
  2. Ramps
  3. Protection from falling
  4. Protection against impact with glazing
  5. Protection from collision with open windows
  6. Manifestation of glazing
  7. Safe opening and closing of windows
  8. Safe access for cleaning windows
  9. Protection against impact from and trapping by doors 

On all commercial projects it is the building owner’s responsibility for ensuring that work complies with the Building Regulations. If building work does not comply with the Building Regulations, the building owner may be served with an enforcement notice.

There are many things that need to be considered when factoring in Park K regulations to your commercial project. Part K building regulations apply to the following “building works”.

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting
  • The material alteration of a building or a controlled service or fitting.
Part K building regulations

How can Essential Projects help?

When working alongside contractors or architects during the preliminary stages of a staircase or balustrade project, Essential Projects provides the expert knowledge of when to apply the regulations to technical drawings and how to comply with the regulations during the manufacturing and installation process. 

One of the most common issues that we encounter when consulting on staircase projects is a lack of knowledge of exactly how much space needs to be factored in for unforeseen aspects of design as defined by Part K regulations such as the overhang of handrails and the ‘landing space’ required between each flight of stairs if the staircase features turn or spirals.

This oversight, which can sometimes only be the fraction of a millimetre, can mean that design modifications that the client might not be happy with, and ultimately leads to significant delays or changes depending on the scope of the changes required.

If consulted at an early stage in the design process, our expert knowledge will help to eliminate these potential oversights and you will be confident that your design covers all areas of the regulations including;

  • Required steepness of stairs
  • Headroom required for stairs
  • Width of stairs
  • Length of flights of stairs for both Utility and General Access stairs

If you are working on a staircase project that has fallen foul of Part K regulations, we may also be able to help. There have been a number of projects where our services have been required retrospectively and we have applied for special dispensation for staircases which aren’t compliant with H&S regulations. 

Ultimately, our role is to help you understand how Part K regulations need to be applied and bring our expertise throughout to ensure that the regulations are applied where required and that your project is compliant, stays on track and is cost-efficient. 

If you have a project that is highly technical and requires a specialist who has the relevant knowledge to understand and apply the Part K regulations, feel free to contact Essential Projects on sales@essentialprojects.co.uk or 0115 975 5787.


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