Richard Burbidge is urging merchants to promote safe stairs and balustrades in accordance with Part K of the Building Regulations.

Merchants are in a prime position to advise their customers of safety issues detailed in the regulations, and offer secure solutions, helping to ensure the safety of homeowners and increase sales.

The revised Part K of the Building Regulations, which covers government guidelines in relation to protection against falling, collision and impact, states that guarding such as balustrades must be fitted on flights of stairs and landings with a drop of 600mm or more in residential dwellings.

The 1985 Building Regulations advise that, in all buildings lived in by children less than five years of age, staircases and landings should be designed to prevent children becoming trapped in or readily being able to climb the guarding. Horizontal, panelled stair balustrades, or ‘ranch style’, are of particular risk of these incidents, as it is easy to climb and even easier for a child’s head to become trapped between the panels.

The ranch style was outlawed in the 1985 Building Regulations, but still remains in many homes. Despite these regulations being in existence for 30 years, there’s still a need for education within the building industry and homeowners. Families moving into existing homes in particular must be made aware of these guidelines, as they play an important part in safeguarding children from accidents and injuries.

When trade professionals go into a branch, merchants have the perfect opportunity to educate installers of the risks associated with staircases, and encourage them to look out for ranch style stairs when carrying out existing work in a home.

*Richard Burbidge completes rigorous tests on all of its stair parts to guarantee it complies with the standards.

Josh Burbidge is commercial director at Richard Burbidge.