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Second Staircase Rule: What it means for UK Construction

With the publication of the long-awaited second staircase guidelines on March 29, 2024, requiring a second staircase for all new residential buildings over 18 metres in height, developers have received the information and guidance they now need to proceed with construction/development plans and – if necessary – make adjustments to incorporate the now-required second staircase.


Aldi Darlington -  Peter Marshall Steel Stairs

The amendment to Approved Document B, which now includes a second staircase, complements the package of recent fire safety measures and reforms, including the Building Safety Act, which ensures the safety of people in new and existing tall buildings.

In October 2023, it was announced that there would be a 30-month transition period (until October 2026) from the date the changes for the second staircase are officially published in Approved Document B.

During the transition period, all new building applications for buildings over 18 metres in height can follow either the previous guidance or the new guidance for the second staircase. At the end of the 30 months (beginning of October 2026), all new applications must include a second staircase. The transition period also provides clarity for developers and projects that were previously held up at the planning stage can now proceed with certainty.

With the finalisation of the guide, it is clear that it only relates to the provision of a second staircase. Document B does not contain any specific design solutions or restrictions that would therefore be considered compliant, which is a matter of interpretation by designers and builders.

Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said:The change in guidance to include two staircases for buildings over 18 metres provides clarity for developers and ensures both new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents.”

Kieran Ganley, Director of Peter Marshall Steel Stairs had this to say about the guidelines, “At Peter Marshall Steel Stairs, we understand the importance of compliance and safety. With our extensive stair experience, we are fully equipped to assist developers in seamlessly meeting these new requirements. Our team is committed to providing high-quality service and staying informed with the latest legislation, especially regarding end-user safety. We have advised numerous clients on the new legislation for a second staircase in planned developments and are always available to offer assistance.”

Peter Marshall Steel Stairs, established in 1970, is a specialist company primarily involved in the design, manufacture and installation of highly engineered steelwork, stairs and balustrade systems, with the expertise to assist contractors in meeting the new requirements.

With our expertise and experience, our flexibility allows us to offer a wide range of solutions, from small single applications to multi-site and multi-flight installations. With a national and international customer base, we offer our customers the highest level of service. This, combined with the integrity and professionalism with which we approach each project, has earned us recognition from world-class companies. We are certified to UKCA and Execution Class 3 and pride ourselves on meeting the requirements.