A Guide to DDA Compliant Handrails

According to the Office for Disability Issues and Department for Work and Pensions there are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability in Great Britain.

Disabled people contribute over £80 billion a year to the UK economy and account for up to 20% of the customer base for UK businesses, making it essential to have the correct facilities in place.

Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments need to be made to commercial and public buildings to overcome physical barriers which prevent disabled access. One way to achieve this is to provide suitable handrails on external stairways as recommended in Part M of the Building Regulations.

DDA Handrail Requirements

Handrails should be provided to provide a safe means of access for all, particularly those who find it difficult to negotiate changes of level.

For wide flight of steps, handrails should be used to divide the flight into channels.   On flights of steps wider than 1800mm, it is recommended that handrails are used to divide the flight into channels between 1000 and 1800mm.  If the flight of steps consists of two or more risers, then a continuous handrail should be provided on either side.  Where the stairway consists of two or more flights separated by landings, where possible handrails should be continuous throughout the series of the flight.

DDA Handrail Height

Handrails must be between 900mm and 1.1m in height and should extend the width of one stair tread and then level out for at least 300mm.

Consideration should also be given to children or those who are short of stature through the provision of a second, lower handrail set at 600mm.

DDA Handrail Design

In addition to the above requirements, handrails should also:

  • a continuous smooth surface and not cold to touch
  • be circular or oval for ease of grip.  Ideally circular handrails should have a diameter of between 40 and 45mm while oval ones should have a width of 50mm
  • contrast visually with its surroundings without being highly reflective
  • terminate the system in a way which reduces the risk of clothing being caught

DDA Access is Kee

Given the requirements of the Equality Act and Building Regulations, and the number of people who require access to commercial and public buildings, companies should aim to create a handrail system which children, the elderly, the disabled and even able-bodied adults can benefit from.

Outlined here are just a few considerations when it comes to handrail systems for external stairs, for further information and details of other applications, please see our Guide to DDA Compliant Handrails.

How to Protect Your Business Structure from Lightning

If you live or work in an area where a lot of storms happen, enough so that lightning strikes are something to worry about, you may want to look into a few different ways to protect your business structure or your house from a lightning strike.

The problem with lightning is that it can come very quickly, and you never really know where it is going to hit.

Having something in place to keep anything from happening will ensure that your structure stays standing for years to come.

One of the most common implementations that you can make to protect your building is to get a lightning protection system, better known as a lightning rod.

These are usually set up near the building in order to attract the lightning strike and then neutralize it before it travels back into the ground.

By having it travel into the ground, essentially it will dissipate and not be of any danger to the building or surrounding trees at all.

You can get an older style lightning rod put in place, or something that is a bit more modern instead.

The more modern models are basically made up of a series of small copper and aluminium spikes which are now called air terminals.

These air terminals are mounted on the highest points of a house or a business building, usually at the top of the roof, a chimney if it exists, and other high points on dormers.

One building can have as many as ten or more, depending on its size and the shape of it.

Not to mention, if there are many high points, you can fit many on the roof.

By setting up a lightning protection system at your building you can save yourself from a lot of damage later on.

When lightning strikes a building or a tree, sometimes a fire can easily break out due to the sparks created.

If you have something to protect the building in place, you can actually send the current into the ground safely, and out of the way of everything that could possibly catch fire.

It will end up saving you a lot of time and money down the line.

Many places of business should actually have some sort of protection system in place, that way they can continuously protect their structures in the case of a major storm breaking out.

It is better to be well prepared than have something happen.

How Does a Lightning Protection System Work?

Something that not many people actually think about on a daily basis is how a lightning protection system actually works. You want to make sure that you are protecting a certain structure from any sort of lightning damage, should a storm blow through.

A lightning protection system is also known as a lightning rod, which more people may actually be aware of. But even if you have seen one of these near a building before, you may not actually know how the entire system actually works.

Essentially, the system is set up so that it will take the strikes of lightning instead of having it strike the house or building, or even the tree, nearby.

How this actually happens is due to the whole network that is included in the system, not just a rod. It includes a network of bonding conductors, air terminals and ground electrodes that are designed to provide a low impedance path that the lightning will take from the top of the rod to the ground.

By grounding it, it basically takes all of the charge out of the strike, thereby lessening the impact that it could make.

The idea behind having the system set up the way that it is, is to neutralize that current that is flowing through from the lightning.

These strikes can be quite strong and can cause a lot of damage. By giving it an area where as soon as it strikes, it is sent through the systems of bonding conductors, and eventually to the ground electrodes that will keep the strike lower than what it could be, and significantly less dangerous for the surrounding trees and buildings.

Once the current goes through the system and hits the ground, it will then be dissipated safely and can no longer cause harm at all.

These systems are always made of metal, as it is a better conductor of heat and will draw the lightning in. This keeps it from hitting any dry wood that could then cause a spark and later a fire.

Many older buildings will have lightning protections systems around them to keep the chance of a spark from really happening.

It would not do well to have no system in place, and then have something happen to a very important building.

By using these systems, people can feel better during a storm, if they should see lightning in the distance.

It is always better to be safe than sorry.