Can you have a single step between landings?

2017 NCC Information Seminars

The 2017 NCC Information Seminars included a presentation on ‘Can you have a single step between landings?’ as part 6 of the 13 part BCA sessions delivered throughout February and March 2017.


Can you have a single step between landings?

Has anyone seen this sort of construction?


Apparently, there's a lot of these in Canberra getting up but not many in other parts of Australia.

Is this construction okay?

Can you have a single step between the landings?

Now this question came to us in the context of Volume Two: a detached house. -

So we'll look at this for Volume Two but there are similar provisions in Volume One.

So keep in mind that some of this is relevant to Volume One.

We'll look at it at Volume 2. 3.9.1 is the Deemed-to-Satisfy provision that we're looking at.

It contains requirements for dimensions and features of stairways and ramps. 

And all in all, we're about ensuring that stairs are safe and that most users are not fatigued when they're using them.

And these come straight back to performance requirement, p 2.5.1. -

So we have to ask the question, is there anything which prevents this step in the Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions?

Is there anything that regulates how high or short -or anything that regulates this step in the Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions? -

There's a few things to note when we're considering this question and some people have accepted it so we've got some yes'.

So I wonder if there's any no's in the room.

We've got a no in the room.

Some no's and some yes', a bit of a scattering, and once again, the rest of us are going, we got to wait for this guy at the front and see what he says because I'm too nervous to get it wrong.

I might have clients in the room, gosh.

How are we going to take this?

We're going to think about a few things when applying the Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions. -

The first thing we got to note is that it's not a flight, because a flight is a defined term, and that's part of a stair that has a continuous series of risers.

Now, I don't watch much TV but Neighbours is a series because there's more than one show right?

You get a documentary, that's not a series.

It might be if there's more than one but to have a series, you have to have more than one. -

We're talking about a single step all on its own.

It's not a flight.

There's a few other defined terms in there also about flight, but one to note is that alone, it is not a flight because of the word, series. -

A number of things, events etc such as our television shows or our risers.

A riser by itself is not a flight.

So with this understanding, we turn to the acceptable construction practice in 3.9.1, and we're looking for any relevant provisions.

Anything which regulates, prevents, regulates this particular step. 

And the first thing we note is that a landing cannot have a gradient steeper than one in fifty, and you might say, yeah Graham, that's okay.

I've got this really good spirit level, it's digital. -

And you know I can it put on the surface and it even tells me, one in fifty if it's less or more.

I put that on that surface it's flat, it's fine. -

But you have to have a pretty good spirit level because you have to measure from here to here, from where it commences to the start.

If we're going to call this construction in its entirety a landing, we're measuring our gradient from that point to that point.

It's not flat is it?

It's far more than one in fifty.

It is not a flat surface.

If we are trying to consider this all a landing.

So what we're noting there is that entire construction is not a landing. 

So if that entire construction between the two flights, because they have more than one riser, if that entire construction is not a landing what is it?

Well two landings.

That's an excellent answer.

We actually had somebody say and I can't disagree, it could be a pair of winders.

If it's turning the stair around.

A pair of winders are turning the stair.

If you call it that, that's fine, but remember, if we call that a winder and that a winder, then we can't get over 18 over the entire flight because suddenly this is part of the flight, and we'll have to have our consistent riser to mention also. 

So it could be a pair of winders or it could be as you say very correctly, a pair of landings.

Because once we do our measurements, in accordance with 3715, we come in 500, it's at least 750 millimetres long, that's fine.

We have a pair of landings.

If we have a pair of landings, the next question is, does the BCA regulate that particular step?

Trip hazard.

It's a trip hazard.

It's something to consider.

Does the BCA regulate that step?

Yes or no?

No, I've got a no.

I've got a yes.

I've got someone who wants to describe something.

Bear with me, sir.

I say yes because that riser is within a stairway, and so our 115 to 190 would apply. -

Now note that the adjacent flights, they have to have consistent riser heights.

This one is not a part of a flight, therefore it can be a different riser height to the adjacent flights.

But within that 115 to 190.

I do recommend that you make it consistent the whole way through if you have to really do that construction.

But the answer is yes.

You can have that single step in the landing.

You can have that single step in the landing and yes, we do regulate that height.

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