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Stair safety website launched

A new website showcasing safe, compliant timber stairs has been launched by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme

Posted by Dave Higgitt | January 30, 2015 | Security & safety

The website, aimed at architects, builders and contractors, includes case studies, an image gallery and a directory of all Stair Scheme member firms, allowing buyers to identify and buy safety compliant products from accredited and certified suppliers. 

The site also includes technical guidance, downloadable toolbox talks and other resources for anyone working with stairs, including the BWF Stair Scheme installation guide

Iain McIlwee, BWF chief executive, said:“Stairs remain one of the most common areas for accidents and, while not all accidents can be prevented, good design and solid quality can make a considerable difference in driving safety. In addition to safety, sound design and installation of a staircase saves time and money. 

“Since 2010 we’ve been working with industry to increase standards for stair manufacture and installation in the UK. Through this new website we can now deliver an easy-to-use and informative directory for anyone looking to source accredited and certified quality designs and safety compliant stairs.” 

The website was launched following a sell-out seminar at the Building Centre last month. More than 120 delegates were given an introduction to the practicalities of designing staircases, looking at regulation and standards, and using scrapbook of contemporary staircase images found in the press and online which fail from a regulation and safety perspective. 

Dr Luke Whale, managing director of C4Ci, provided an insight into the complexity of a staircase, showing a humble staircase can be as complicated from structural calculation perspective as a roller-coaster, and explaining how a designer can assess structural elements of staircases to enhance design freedom. 

Alex Haw, director of Atmos Studio, also demonstrated how a staircase captures movement in a building and how it forms a fundamental part of the design and flow of any building.  A copy of his presentation is online at: https://atmosstudio.tumblr.com/post/105013853224/alex-haw-lecture-on-stairs-to-the-british 

Each year, there are an estimated 450,000 injuries and 650 deaths on stairs across the UK, often caused by poor quality and badly-designed stairs. 

After the British Standards Institution (BSI) declared the standard ‘BS 585 Wood Stairs’ obsolete in 2004, the BWF and timber industry responded to confusion from timber stair designers and manufacturers about how to comply with the various UK and EU standards, regulations and codes by setting up the BWF Stair Scheme. 

The BWF Stair Scheme is the gold standard for stair accreditation and certification in the UK and represents approximately 70% of the timber stair market. BWF Stair Scheme members are regularly audited to ensure quality and safety, and the Scheme label provides customer reassurance about standards with every stair badged with a unique serial number as evidence of accreditation or certification. 

BWF Stair Scheme website: www.bwfstairscheme.org.uk

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