The British Woodworking Federation Group

The art of structure

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A thought-provoking seminar for architects, specifiers and contractors concerned about the marriage between stair design, safety and performance is to be held at the Building Centre, London on 11 December.

Organised by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme, the event will look at the most common mistakes in stair design and installation, deconstructing beautiful looking staircases to identify the fundamental issues with compliance and safety, where form has won the day over function – and at times common sense.

Iain McIlwee, BWF chief executive, said:

“Stairs are critical to any interior design project. The right staircase can define a project, but all too often we see designs or installations which breach regulations and lead to real safety issues. Stairs are the most common accident zone in the home other than the kitchen, and a critical area of non-compliance with building regulations. The simple staircase is surrounded by a spaghetti of standards and trip hazards.

“That is what the BWF Stair Scheme was set up to address. We now embrace more than 70% of the timber staircase market. Our technical publications help specifiers, installers and building owners ensure their staircases are hassle free, as safe as possible and embrace the elements of great design. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the excellence that can now be found in timber stairs.”

The evening workshop will include sessions looking at the future of stair design, and will identify the five essential steps for safe stairs. Dr Luke Whale of C4Ci will also reveal the results of the performance research he has done to calculate the structural requirements of the humble staircase – surprisingly more complex than it might seem.

The event is free to attend, although advance booking is essential via the Building Centre website.

The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. It is focussed on promoting effective design, reliable manufacture, developing guidance where standards and regulations are in conflict, and ensuring best practice advice is passed to installers to reassure that products made by BWF accredited stair manufacturers consistently meet the relevant performance requirements for loading, defection and fire resistance.

The BWF Stair Scheme has published two technical guides and also CPD modules with advice on the design and installation of timber stairs

Event: Staircases: the art of structure
Date: 11 December 2014, 6.30pm
Venue: The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT

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