The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme has launched a new and improved Staircase Installation Guide, to help fill the skills gap and focus on safe, quality installations for both domestic and general access staircases.
Getting stairs right first time and avoiding costly squeaks and even running the gauntlet of non-compliance is a major drain on productivity in the housebuilding and wider construction markets.
Poorly fitted stairs remain one of the most common areas for accidents in the UK with more than 800 recorded deaths attributed to slips, trips and falls on staircases every year and 300,000 visits per year related to falls on stairs.
Kevin Underwood, technical director at the British Woodworking Federation said: “A shortage in skills on site is now a real problem in the industry. Manufacturers are no longer able to assume that the necessary fitting skills and knowledge will be available at the point of installation and so are having to take more of a role in guiding the fitting process, which is where the BWF Stair Scheme Installation Guide comes in.”
The guide produced by the BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. Members design and manufacture domestic, common and fire protected stairs to an extremely high standard to ensure quality and safety within the industry.
Builders and contractors have a duty to correctly install staircases that are fit for purpose. While members of the BWF Stair Scheme produce stairs that will support the necessary loads in both the flights and the balustrades, poor installation practices can cause the stability of the stair to be reduced, potentially leading to premature failure of components and ultimately the collapse of the stair. The guide is designed to bridge the gap between manufacturers and installers to ensure that industry standards are met and best practice is followed to safely install timber staircases.
“There are many elements that need to be adhered to when it comes to correctly installing timber staircases and a single mistake or missed fixing could render a stair unsafe,” said Underwood. “In simple terms, if a stair is not installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions it won’t be fit for purpose. We continue to get reports from our members of problems within the staircase market that undermine them as suppliers.
“By providing guidance on the intricacies of stair installation we hope to help improve the skills and knowledge of all those working within the sector and ensuring that the highest standards are met for the stair market in the UK.”
John Slaughter of the Home Builders Federation which has supported the guide said: “Working more effectively with the supply chain is critical to improving productivity and quality in the home building sector and this kind of collaboration between manufacturers and our members is a great example of how this can be done effectively. The BWF Stair Scheme and the quality information that is produced from this group is a very welcome support to our industry and members.”
For more information or to download a copy of the BWF Stair Scheme Installation Guide visit www.bwfstairscheme.org.uk/stair-installation