Technical Tips and Definitions



TREAD:  The horizontal surface which you walk on.  Tread material can be  timber, steel, glass, acryllic, panel product or tiling.


RISER: The vertical component in between each tread.  Riser material can be timber, steel, glass, acryllic, panel product or tiling.


GOING: The horizontal distance between each riser face.


NOSING:  The rounded projected end of the stair tread.


BULLNOSED TREAD: A 'D' Shaped tread at the bottom of a staircase.  See photo opposite.


STRINGERS: The main structural component that supports the treads and risers.  There can be two strings running up each side of the stair or sometimes one central string as in steel stair construction.  Strings can be either steel, timber or glass.


WINDER TREADS:  'Kite' shaped treads, used in areas where there is a small space for the stair to fit into.


HANDRAIL:  A rail to provide support and assistance with the movement of a person.  A handrail is required for accessible stairs, main private stairs and common stairs.  An accessible stair requires a continuous handrail to both sides of the stair.


BALUSTRADE:  The infill parts of a barrier, typically between the floor and the top rail.  Balustrade materials can be timber, aluminium, acryllic, glass or wrought iron.


BRACKETS:  Used to fix the handrail to the wall or a glass balustrade.





ACCESSIBLE STAIRWAY:  A stairway having features for use by people with disabilities.  Usually required in places that the general public use, whether or not a lift is provided. 


COMMON STAIRWAY: A stairway which is used by the public.


PRIVATE STAIRWAY:  A stair used by a household unit.


MAIN PRIVATE STAIRWAY: A private stairway intended to provide access between frequently used spaces such as kitchens, living areas and garages.


MINOR PRIVATE STAIRWAY:  A stairway not on a main thoroughfare and intended to provide infrequent access to a single room which is not a living area or kitchen.


SERVICE STAIRWAY:  A stairway that is used infrequently by service personnel to gain access to spaces for the service and maintenance of goods.


You can check current regulations here:


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