Staircases shall have adequate guarding and be constructed to reduce the risk of being climbed or falling through.


  • is required where the drop is more than 600mm at any point along the open sides of stairs and landings
  • may be required where a stair abuts an opening window, to comply with relevant building regulations.

Guarding should be:

  • provided along the full length of the flight, including landings
  • capable of resisting a horizontal force of 0.36kN/m at its minimum required height, in accordance with BS 6180
  • a solid wall or balustrading
  • in accordance with the table below.

Table 2: Guarding height

Type of stairsFlights – minimum guarding height (mm)Landings – minimum guarding height (mm)
Private stairs (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)900900
Private stairs (Scotland)840-1000900
Common stairs9001100

Balustrading should:

  • be fixed securely
  • not be climbed easily by children, e.g. have no horizontal foot holds which would enable climbing
  • not have openings larger than 100mm in diameter.

Where guardrails or balustrades are long, newel posts may not be sufficient to transfer the horizontal forces to the structure, and intermediate posts may be required. The method of fixing newels should be specified, e.g. through-bolted to joists.