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Stair Regulations in New Zealand: Key Information

8 April 2021

The following definitions and measurements will help you understand the stair regulations you must meet in New Zealand.



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.



Code Requirements in New Zealand

Stair Maximum pitch Maximum riser height (mm) Minimum tread (mm)
Service, minor private 47° 220 220
Secondary Private 41° 200 250
Common, main private 37° 190 280
Accessible 32° 180 310


Riser height and tread depth should be of a uniform height within a tolerance of ±5mm, in one flight.


There is currently no specified minimum width in the Building Code.  Most stairs are between 900mm – 1100mm wide, for comfortable use.


You can check current stair regulations in full here (PDF).

Or call us with your query on 0800 896 500.  Our team is familiar with the technical requirements of stairs and will be happy to assist with your query.


You can also find more information on our resources page, such as how to check you've got enough head room in your stairwell or where you should set out blocking for handrails.



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