Timber Stairs Accreditation and Certification

Our Timber stairs and accreditation and certification services is delivered through the BWF Stair Scheme.

The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. Ranging from domestic, common and fire protected common stairs, the standard expected of the manufacturers for their stairs is extremely high to ensure quality and safety.

Why a stair scheme?

Stairs remain one of the most common areas for accidents with over 800 recorded deaths attributed to slips, trips and falls on staircases every year in the UK. BWF members continue to report problems in the staircase market which undermine them as quality manufacturers. The technical requirements for timber stairs are complex and difficult to interpret, and there is no straightforward method for Building Control to verify that a stair has been manufactured correctly and complies with the relevant standards and building regulations.  The increasing use of timber stairs in multi-storey, multi-occupancy buildngs (blocks of flats) brings this into sharp focus. If a stair failed during an emergency evacuation, the consequences would be devastating.

The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. The scheme is focussed on promoting effective design, reliable manufacture, and developing guidance where standards and regulations are in conflict. It ensures 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
• Deflection
• Fire Resistance

Accreditation means that every Scheme member's design process and manufacturing operation has been independently verified. All members are required to meet the standards laid down by the BWF Code of Conduct. Members receive an audit visit on application and are audited biennially from then on.

The scheme now represents approximately 70% of the timber stair market, bringing together like-minded manufacturers who are committed to driving up standards in timber stairs to make the industry more competitive against rival materials and increase market share.

Fire Protection and Certification of Staircases

In medium-rise buildings, the common flight stair may act as one of the routes of escape in the event of fire.  So it is vital that it is able to resist the effects of the fire and maintain its integrity. This demands a higher level of accreditation. Members offering fire protected stairs have to demonstrate that their stairs comply with the requirements for fire protection under the test method set out in BD2569 Fire Performance of Escape Stairs – Guidance Document (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2009).

Independent third party certification via BRE's Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), which tests and verifies design, performance, manufacturing process and quality assurance throughout manufacture, should be the minimum requirement for every passive fire protection product.

More on the history and practicalities of Fire Certification of Staircases

 

If you are a stair manufacturer and would like more information, visit the BWF Stair Scheme Website

 

If you are someone looking to specify an accredited or certified timber staircase, visit our guidance on the scheme and stairs specification under the 'why wood?' section
 

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