Australian regulations are known the world over for being some of the strictest and most comprehensive set of rules for anything and everything. This is a good thing, as all of those rules are written and imposed to ensure safety of every Australian. But there are times when builders and clients misinterpret what the regulations say, and assume that they’re doing it right when in fact, they’re overdoing it.
A classic example is the continuous handrail. Whenever homeowners want to build balustrades for staircases, they badger their contractors whenever there’s a gap in the handrail. There are reasons some contractors prefer cutting some sections of handrail – many of them aesthetic. Homeowners shouldn’t, however, think that their builders are willing to risk potential violations for visual appeal.
A closer look at the Build Code of Australia (BCA) 2014 will reveal where all the confusion comes from. According to the regulations, handrails within residential buildings need to be continuous on each flight of stairs. But, the rules include certain situations wherein contractors can make aesthetic modifications to the design of the continuous handrails.
The most basic example of these exemptions is that though residential homes need to have continuous handrails on every flight of stairs, there can be gaps for landings between each flight. Another classic rule is about the need for handrails on both sides of the staircase; unless the property is required to meet the Australian disability access code, one side is enough.
We can also help ease the pressure with handrail questions, as the presence of a balustrade also has an effect on how residents are complying with building code regulations. For example, even if a staircase is bounded by solid walls, it still requires a handrail on at least one side if it doesn’t incorporate a balustrade.
If you’re looking for contractors that know the intricacies and nuances of the building codes, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today and we’ll talk to you about how we can design your staircases that ensure its safety and elevate its aesthetic value at the same time.