The Building Code and Compliance, does my stair comply?

Today, July 24th 2019 we received an updated copy of our Certificate Of Accreditation demonstrating enzie’s compliance with the 2018 National Construction Code of Australia (NCC). The updated certificate was warmly received by enzie as the last update was nearly 20 years ago. The reissuing of the certificate got us all reflecting on the compliance question around building spiral stairs in Australia.

“Are they legal?”

One of the most common objections that we come across when spiral stair are proposed is “arn’t they illegal?”. Sometimes the statement is more definitive that that, it’ not uncommon to have someone tell you  “they are illegal”, and the closer you get to the North Shore of Sydney, the more frequent that you hear this kind of statement. Of course enzie isn’t selling an illegal product. All well designed spiral stairs comply with the building code. As the industry leader enzie was involved with the drafting of the then BCA in 1996. The “Deem to satisfy” section of the BCA on spiral stairs was in large parts based on enzie’s Data-sheets at the time.

The reason why some people, especially in Sydney, think spiral stairs are illegal goes back a long way. There is a comprehensive history on the Building codes in Australia on the ABCD website. In short in the early 20th century the trying to navigate the various codes was an exercise fraught with challenges. In the 1950’s States and Territories started to establish more uniform technical building requirements. However, States and Territories delegated their primary responsibilities to municipal councils.  This resulted is rules based on local needs, or wants which meant in some area’s Spiral Stairs were deemed as non compliant. Sadly a result of this was people putting stairs in regardless and with no eye to complying to any rules they built stairs that were steep, uncomfortable and in some cases dangerous.

By the In the 1990’s things started to change. A National approach was needed. The ABCB was established to draft a new national code. Unlike previous codes this one was nation and performance based.

What is a Performance Based Code?

In short a performance based code sets out to meet certain measurable or predictable performance requirements, such as energy efficiency, without a prescriptive method by which to attain certain specific requirements. This is in contrast to previous prescribed building codes, which mandate specific construction practises, such as timber batten size, distance between them and number of screws required to secure them. This flexible approach provides the ability to develop tools and methods to evaluate the entire life cycle of the building process, from the design, to procurement, through construction and the evaluation of results. It is an inherently more flexible system that can stay up to date without the need to rewrite the code as new technology and techniques become available.

But how do I know if a certain product complies?

Introducing the “Deem To Satisfy” (DTS). The Building code does still have a prescriptive component to it called the”Deem To Satisfy”. The  DTS is a  set recipe of what, when and how to do something. The DTS outlines, materials, components, design factors, and construction methods that, if used, are deemed to meet the Performance Requirements.

How does the enzie spiral staircase comply?

Most of enzie’s design meet the “Deem To Satisfy” section of the NCCS.  IN addition all of enzie stairs have been assessed by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee and are deemed to comply with the NCCS. This certificate is a handy tool to be used to quickly demonstrate compliance. It’s a quick and easy tool to counter someone who confidently tells you that “they’re illegal!”

Creative Space Saving Stairs and Their Visual Impact On a Room

Spiral Stairs are considered a great saver of the physical space in a room. With diameters starting at 1070mm there is no smaller permeant safe access stairs available on the market.  But what about their visual impact on room? What do we mean by visual impact on the size of the room?

Visual Impact

For the purpose of this article lets define what we mean by “visual impact on the size of the room”. Your stair can be designed with differing level of transparency. You can adjust the transparency depending on  how much you want to impact upon the room. In small rooms it is desirable to have a very transparent stair which helps gives the room the appearance of being bigger.

By considering up the stair design, materials colours you can completely transform how that stair will perform.  There is a lot to consider with the layout of your stair so we alway suggest you consult with an expert. That said, we offer some tips below with regards to designing a staircase that is right for you and your home

 

The Classic series of stairs is great for this with is tapered tread and lightweight thin balusters and handrail. You can increate the transparency further by choosing darker colours or perforated steel treads.

 

 

 

 

An other options is to incorporate transparent elements like glass in the staircase design such as the Lucinda balustrade or even Glass Treads

 

 

 

 

Making an Impact

An alternative to the transparent stairs that might be preferable in smaller rooms you might prefer to make a bigger visual impact by installing a more solid looking stair. The Universal Series of stair is built which a thicker tread than the classic Series. It can be matched with a solid Balustrade an a heavier handrail for a more substantial  looking stair.

 

 

The Z-Tread takes it one step further by incorporating a solid tread and riser. This makes seeing though the staircase impossible. This stair is great for large rooms or for where the staircase needs to act as a visual barrier

Cleaning & Maintaining Your Timber Stairs

Incorporating elements of timber into your spiral staircase design is a popular way to add an element of authentic and warmth to the design.  It’s easy to understand why people love timber stairs: they add warmth, don’t harbour dust and dirt, are softer underfoot than steel and a great job hiding dust and dirt.  Whilst over time timber stair will occasionally scratch or mark, the affect is gentle and is often to their patina, giving them a well loved lived-in appeal.

Why it’s important  to clean timber treads

In order to get maximum life out of your timber treads you will require some care and maintenance.  There are some natural enemies of Timber treads on stairs which should be avoided”

  • Excessive water
  • Excessive sunlight
  • Heavy impact with hard objects

Cleaning is easier, most of the time a light dust is all that’s is required. This is important to regularly remove build up that could cause scratches. A soft-bristled broom, vacuum or electrostatic mop are your best options. The standard enzie finish on our treads is a water based polyurethane. This finish can be cleaned with a damp mop when required. As they always say it’s best to test the cleaning product on a discrete part of the timber staircase before applying. When using the mop be sure to wring out your mop well. Also pay attention not leave pools of water behind that might cause the timber to warp.

With regular maintenance your timber staircase well you will give you years of service and will only improve with age.

 

 

Calculating Your Circular Stairs Dimensions & Design

Size matters

The starting point for any spiral staircase design is establishing the ideal size for the application. Sometimes this size is dictated by the fixed dimensions of an existing opening. For example you might have an existing  opening that is 1300mm x 1500 mm. In which case, as a rule, the smaller of the two dimensions will be the one that dictates the size of the staircase that you can install. In that example an enzie 1300 spiral staircase would be the openly option

Other times, the planning allows for the size of the staircase to be considered before anything is built that might restrict options.  As with most things the best corse of action is to speak to an expert, our obligation advisory line on 1800 035 078 is available to discuss your specific requirements. However general rules around considering which size stair to install, please note that these rules a apply to Spiral Staircases and not the larger Helical Stairs

enzie spiral stairs are available isn 5 standard diameters 1300mm, 1500mm, 1750mm, 1880mm and 2000mm. They are available is custom sizes from 1070mm up to 2600m. Stair 1600mm or smaller are considered “Small Spiral Stairs” and have higher than usual riser heights which allow deeper treads that would otherwise be allowed.  Stairs larger than 1600mm have tractional riser higher and easier to navigate when carrying things up and down.

Small Spiral Staircases

Small spiral stairs are absolutely fantastic when used appropriately. They allow safe comfortable access whilst taking up an incredibly  small footprint. Think about a staircase only needing 1.3 meter x 1.3 meter opening to fit through, that’s almost ladder size but with the comfort of a staircase. That said if you were to have a 1300 diameter stair as the only access between your living rooms downstairs and 5 bedrooms upstairs then you would start to find it limiting.

Examples where small spiral staircases are a good option

  1. Lofts
  2. Access to one or two bedrooms
  3. Access to study or guest bedroom
  4. Access to from balcony
  5. Secondary access stairs
  6. Applications where space is an at an absolute premium, think Terrace House

Larger Spiral Staircases

When the space permits a larger spiral staircase is  luxury. Enzie’s standard larder diameters are 1750, 1880 and 2000mm. As general rule you don’t get as much a benefit in comfort going from a 1750 to an 1880 as you do from a 1500 to a 1750. The larger diameter stair benefit from the advantage of having a lower riser height than the smaller stairs without sacrificing headroom or tread depth.

Larger diameter spiral stairs can be used an alternative to traditional wider stairs without sacrificing ergonomics but whilst saving a considerable amount of space. A 2400 diameter stair gives you a tread width of over 1 meter and a tread depth of up to 400mm

Larger Curved Staircases

Should you need a larger stair than 2600mm then we suggest you move over the a Helical Staircase which has the benefit of a built in inner handrail

The enzie® Stairs Helical Staircase

What is a Helical Stair?

A self-supporting sweeping or curved stair that unlike a spiral stair does not have a pole or column in the centre.

If you have the space to play with, you really can’t go past the dramatic beauty of a helical staircase. Created without the central column, the helical stair has an inner and outer handrail,  plus it no longer has the narrow part of the tread that occurs close to the column of a spiral stair, both these features allow for two-way traffic.

The sculptured curves of this design appear to float from one level to the next, creating a fluid, sculptural feature.

The helical stair can be a beautiful piece of living useable art – an Architectural statement piece.

How does it differ from a Spiral Stair?

Spiral stairs are designed to rotate around a central column.


enzie® Spiral Stair

Whereas, a Helical stair has an internal ribbon balustrade in lieu of the column.


enzie® Stair Helical Stair

Why choose an enzie®  Stairs Helical Stair?

An enzie®  Stairs Helical Staircase is built from a hybrid of Steel and Timber allowing extremely tight tolerances and fine details. The enzie®  system is also entirely modular allowing components to be carried into awkward location without the needs for cranes or lifting equipment. Unlike many other helical stair cases that are delivered fully constructed and then need to be craned into place

enzie®  Stairs is one of the very few companies in the world to make a modular, easy to erect Helical Stair case. Our modular design allows our Helical staircase to can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Recently enzie®  Spiral Stairs shipped a Helical staircase to the USA, when our installers arrived onsite to start installing, they found that the builders, who had been so excited and curious had unpacked the treads and already installed them.

When asked why they had not waited they said we were just too excited and wanted to see if it really fitted together as you said it would. For the rest of the install the other trade kept popping past to see the balustrading and Handrail being finished.

As this job had been quite a large commission William travelled to the USA to make sure the architect and client were happy. In a conversation William asked the architect why they had chosen to go with enzie®  Stairs, an Australian Company from the other side of the world, to which the architect answered

‘When we did all of our research into companies that supplied Helical Stairs we found enzie® Stairs was the only company that we found with a modular Helical Stair system that met our requirements.’


enzie® Stairs Design and Construction

Like our Spiral stairs, the enzie® Helical Stairs we sell are designed by us; and it is not just the stairs but all the components are designed by us. All enzie® Stairs are customised to suit your particular needs and are modelled up in 3D for cutting, by our CNC computer controlled machinery. This enables cutting to an accuracy of 0.2mm.

A digital copy of the each custom made part, for you stair, is kept on file so that it for some reason, it needs to be remade, we can easily duplicate the original part accurately in the future.

Factory manufactured components -Not only do we have a physical address in Reservoir, but your stair is actually made in the Reservoir Factory. Plus, should you require extra parts, including custom parts, they are here, or are made, at the same factory in Reservoir, Australia so turnaround times are quick.

And Yes, enzie® Stairs is a fully owned Australian company, with a physical showroom and factory in Reservoir, Victoria.

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions by Enzie Stair’s Customers

Question 1 – How high can an Enzie Stair case go?

An Enzie Spiral Stair is made to suit your floor to floor height. There is no limit to the height you can go. However, the building authorities may require a landing every 18 risers.

Question 2 – Will my Enzie Stair comply with the building regulations?

The short answer is – Yes.

The longer answer is – The Building Control Accreditation Authority has determined that the Enzie Spiral Stair complies with the requirements of Clause DP2©, DP3 Vol1 and P2.5(b), P2. 5.2 Vol 2 as adopted by the Victorian Building regulations Registration Number V97/04, (providing you use a stair suitable for the application).

You can take advantage of the free design service we provide to help with this process,

Question 3 – What area of living space am I going to lose if I install an Enzie Stair?

The space taken up by an Enzie Spiral Stair will depend entirely on the size of the stair and the design that you choose. The space that the Spiral staircase will take up is reflected in the diameter of the spiral staircase. It should be noted that this space taken up on both floors. To determine the actual space used, you may use the free design tool on the website or our free design service. This will give you all the measurements you need plus a design of the layout on both levels.

Question 4 – Is a deposit required?

A deposit is not generally needed if you are purchasing one of our spiral staircases; however, payment before delivery is required.

If you are looking to purchase a Helical staircase a deposit will be required.

Question 5 – Is it a one size fits all kit solution?

No. Enzie Spiral staircases are modular in design, however each spiral stair case is custom made to order.

Question 6 – Can I install my Enzie spiral stair myself?

Of course! Any competent handyman or builder would be able to follow our installation instructions for our spiral stairs. Plus, help is always just a phone call away. Enzie also offer an installation service.

Question 7 – What type of footing will I need?

Timber and concrete floors are adequate (see our data sheets). External stairs may need concrete footings for both the column and bottom posts.

Question 8 – When is the ideal time to install my Enzie Spiral Stair?

As the Enzie spiral stair case is pre-finished, the best time to install it is after all the dirty trades are finished and the plaster, that is the fixing stage.

Question 9 – Is the landing supplied?

Internal Enzie Spiral Staircase landings are constructed from 90mm x 45mm pine framing with particle board on top. This material is not normally supplied unless Enzie has arranged installation. In this case the landing is fixed, but not lined or trimmed. Pre-fabricated steel landings may be used inside, but a template is necessary to ensure accuracy of the fabrication.

External Enzie Spirals staircases can be fitted with a timber landing as an extension of a timber deck or with a prefabricated steel landing.

Question 10 – Are Enzie Stairs Weatherproofed?

For external use Enzie Spiral staircases can be made from a few different materials. The decision on which material to use will depend on the external environment conditions where your spiral staircase will live.

Refer to the Enzie Fast Sheet Cleaning and Maintenance of Steel Spiral Stairs and ‘The Hostile Environment Article’ for more information.

Enzie Stairs – Made in Australia

A few weeks ago an Enzie customer came in to out new factory to discuss is stairs. Being ever so proud of our new factory set up William invited the customer out into the factory to watch his (the customers) own treads being cut on the computerised CNC machine. Needless to say said customer was blown away.

Wow, I thought that my stair was going to come in parts, shipped in from China! Was the customer’s reaction, I had no idea that you designed and made everything here in Australia, he continued.

These (the customers) comments were the inspiration for this article on how we design and construct  our products – right here Australia.

With over 45 years in the spiral stair construction business, we know our ‘stuff’. Though out this time Enzie stairs has created the a process that strives to give our customers piece of mind from the design process, though the production of the stair, and until the stair case has been delivered and installed. But wait there is more, we also offer a life time guarantee on our product. This Guarantee is not just lip service, our proven longevity in the business shows that we have been and will be around to honour this guarantee.

The Beginning

From the time you contact us for a quote, the design process begins. Understanding your needs, your price range and the purpose stair we set to work on designing the spiral stair case for you.

So we can give you your all important quote.

Design stage

Once we have all the information on your staircase and you have ordered your staircase. Enzie set to work on creating a 3D CAD file on all the parts that will be made (in our Australian factory), specifically for your stair. This information is key, as it is from this 3D CAD file, that our computer operated Laser Machine and CNC machine makes and/or cuts out many of the parts for your stair.

Having the ability to create this computer generated files also enables us to manage and store your stair information electronically so if we require this information in the future for any reason, we can access your file to re-produce any parts necessary.

Production

Enzie stairs have invested time, energy and money machinery and technology to improve the accuracy and quality of their product, over the years. And are always looking for ways to improve and evolve their product and service.

It is with all the information produced at the design stage and from our 3D CAD computer generated paperwork that drawings and work orders are produced.  These work orders are then used in our Australian factory to create your spiral or helical staircase. As all Enzie Stairs are customised to suit your particular needs, we model your stair design in 3D for cutting, by our CNC computer controlled machinery. This enables cutting to an accuracy of 0.2mm.

Having the ability to manufacture and produce stairs and stair parts gives our customers piece of mind that should something get damaged on their staircase in the future, Enzie stairs will be there to re-produce any parts necessary, to repair their staircase.

Construction of our Spiral Stairs

The first Enzie Staircase was designed and by Bryan Mackenzie some 45 years ago. Wanting a Spiral Staircase and not being able to find one here in Australia Bryan Mackenzie set about designing a spiral staircase that suited his own needs. At this time Bryan also recognised that there was a gap in the Australian Stair market and Enzie Stairs was born.

The Spiral Stair design that Bryan created is modular and self-supporting.

This makes the staircase easy to transport, easy to install and if in the future you need to move it, it is easy to take down and re-assemble in another location. While our Enzie Spiral staircases are modular in design, each spiral stair case is custom made to order, to the customer specifications.

Enzie Stairs and the different Handrail/Balustrade Options.

As I am sure you already know Enzie Stairs currently offers four different designs in their spiral stair range. In this article I thought we would focus on the Handrail/Balustrade options offered with in each series. Most of Enzie’s stairs have a modular Handrail/Balustrade system. Made in our Australian Factory, our stairs are designed on site in a 3D CAD computer program and then custom made for each customer, according their individual stair needs.

So let’s start with defining the terminology:

What is the difference between a handrail, balusters and balustrade?

The ‘Handrail’ is the rail that you hold on to as you walk up or down stair.

‘Balusters’ are the uprights that sit under the handrail and support the handrail.

While the ‘Balustrade’ is the barrier that prevents you from falling off the stair, and supports the handrail. The balustrade can take many forms, i.e a series of upright rods, a parapet wall, or a glass panelling.

Classic Spiral Stair Series

The Enzie Classic Spiral Stair Series offers;

  • a H Balustrade
  • a H-S Balustrade and
  • an enfold panelling.

The design of both H and the H-S Handrail is very similar. The difference between the two being in the spacing between the steel upright Balusters. Note: There are also different Baluster designs available.

The H- Balustrade has 3 balusters per tread paced up to 180mm, with a round handrail on top;. This spacing is larger than what you will find on most staircases. This spacing complies with the BCA regulations as outlined by our Certificate of Accreditation. This Accreditation is issued by the Building Control Commission, though is not deemed acceptable NSW and Qld.

The H-S Balustrade has an extra baluster per tread, bringing the number of balusters per tread up to four again with a round handrail op top. This brings spacing of the balusters down to less than 125mm on the stair, which not only complies with the Building Control Commission it also complies with the ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ component of the BCA and is required in both NSW and QLD.

Enfold Panels are the final Balustrade option offered in the Enzie Classic Spiral Stair series. These enfold panels are offered in both glass and aluminium and they fully enclose the staircase and steps.

Universal Spiral Stair Series

The Enzie Spiral Stair series offers an amazing range of Balustrade options, with even further choices of materials and styles with in of the handrail options.

The Enzie Spiral Stair series offers;

  • Enclose Balustrade
  • Standard Balustrade
  • Mac Balustrade
  • Echuca Balustrade
  • Lucinda Balustrade

Enclose Balustrade offers 3 different options.

Option One – Solid Enclose.

Elegantly wraps your Enzie Universal Spiral Stair with a solid aluminium wrap. This substantial structure offers privacy security and simplicity. The handrail can be mounted of top of the balustrade or inside and below the top of the wrap

Option Two – Perforated Enclose

An element of transparency is attained with a perforated wrap. This option manages to maintain a balance of transparency without losing the security, privacy and simplicity of the Solid Enclose. Like

Option Three – Laser Cut Enclose. The handrail can be mounted of top of the balustrade or inside and below the top of the wrap

Laser cutting technology allows you to design your own unique shape pattern or picture to be cut into the enclose panel. The handrail can be mounted of top of the balustrade or inside and below the top of the wrap

Standard Balustrade

This handrail design is based on the famous Enzie H series Balustrade first made available in the Enzie Classic Spiral Stair series. A critical difference however is that this design allows for a thicker handrail made from 32mm steel and thicker 22mm uprights

Mac Handrail

The sweeping lines of the stainless steel tubing, paired with a thicker handrail in either timber or stainless steel material leads the viewer’s eye up and around the staircase, enhancing any already elegant form.

Universal Echuca Balustrade

This Balustrade solution takes simple timber slats and turns them into an elegant privacy shield.

Economy Balustrade

This adjustable steel Handrail/balustrade option is currently only available for the 1300 and 1500 diameter Universal stair. This option does allow the buyer to spend a little less but still enjoy the universals stair series.

Universal Lucinda Balustrade

The Universal Lucinda Handrail/Balustrade allows for a clear or coloured curved toughened glass to be matched with a timber or stainless handrail.

The Z Tread Spiral Staircase

The Z Tread Spiral Staircase comes with the Enclose Balustrade system.

The 6 Steps when Purchasing a Spiral Staircase from Enzie.

Making an Inquiry.

So you are interested in purchasing a stair, feel free to contact us with all your questions. We love to talk stairs and we welcome every opportunity to do so . Whether it is just a general question or you are looking for specific information we are happy to answer all your the questions.

The Design.

The Design stage is an interactive one between our Enzie representative and you the customer. The idea is for you (the customer), to explore the different staircase options available for the diameter and layouts. Other considerations are the location of the stair and options such as balustrading, finishes, timber selection if appropriate and colour.

The Quote

Once the design has been decided upon, the Enzie representative will create a quotation of cost for your spiral staircase.  The quotation will list all of your Customer selections for your  spiral staircase.

If you the customer is unsure, it is possible to get a few different quotes on the different options you are interested in, to help you make a decision.

At this stage a site visit may be arranged, though at this stage it is not always necessary and a quotation can be created from plans and drawings.

Things to note at this stage:

  • The quotation price has an expiration date and is good for three months only
  • When a site check is carried out the price of the stair may change slightly if the floor to floor height is not as listed on the quote.

Check Measure

Before your Spiral Staircase can be scheduled for production, a site check by the installer is carried out. The installer will check:

  • The floor to floor height has not changed
  • The area where the spiral stair is suitable
  • That there is sufficient space for the staircase to fit.

Your Staircase is Made

Yes it is manufactured here in out Melbourne Factory. Before we start to manufacture your stair case, Sarah in the office will give you a call to see if you are ready to accept your stair. She will send you a copy of your invoice and may ask you to pay for your staircase.  Because we believe in the “Just In Time Principles’ we do not like to make stairs that cannot be delivered to site once manufacturing is completed.

We also will be arranging for the installation of your staircase with our installers once your stair is complete

Delivery and Installation

Your stair case may be picked up or we can arrange for your staircase to be delivered onsite. Your staircase must be fully paid for before it will leaves our factory.

6 Things To Think About When Purchasing A Staircase.

What is the Purpose of the Stair?

What is the purpose of the stair is the first important question.  Of course the staircase is to allow people to traverse from one level to another.  However, the purpose of the stair could be a factor in the size and style of the staircase you purchase. One client may want the staircase to be an architect statement piece, while another client might want the staircase to fade into the background or not to be seen at all.

How will the stair be used? – Is it to access bedrooms, a study a garage etc?

Each answer to these questions will govern what type and size of the staircase you should purchase.

What is the Climate and External Environment like Where your Staircase is to go?

The climate where your staircase is to be situated in, dictates the type of finish on your staircase. It is not just whether your staircase is going to be inside or out, but whether you are close to the sea or not, can be factor when thinking about your stair purchase. If you are close to the sea or live in a harsh environment, you may be required to think more deeply about the finishes on your staircase.

How much space do I have to my stair in? Or put another way how much space will my staircase take up?

 If you are purchasing a spiral staircase, the diameter of the staircase will dictate how much space you require.

Is the stair made to order?

Enzie Spiral staircases are manufactured to individual requirements. Each of our spiral staircases are made to order ensuring that you get the staircase to suit your needs.

Not only that Enzie Stairs have at least 4 different styles of spirals staircases. Each Spiral staircase design also has several options in materials and finishes to have your stair made out of along with numerous colours, balustrade option and in some cases tread options. With all these options you truly get to feel like you have designed your own unique stair to suit your house.

Is the company an Australian Company and is the stair Australian Made?

Enzie Stairs is not only a fully owned Australian company; we also have a physical showroom and factory in Reservoir, Victoria. Yes, your stair is actually made right here in Australia. So if in the future you require extra parts etc, they are here in Australia making supply quick and easy.

Not only are the stairs made here Enzie Stairs  designed the staircases they are selling. Unlike other companies Enzie Stairs do not sell another companies Spiral Stair products; and it is not just the stairs but all the components are designed by us. Yes you can actually ring and speak to the person who designed your staircase.

Is the stair modular?

Yes. Enzie Spiral Staircases are modular.

This makes the staircase easy to transport, easy to install and if in the future you need to move it, it is easy to take down and re-assemble in another location.

Each of our staircases comes as a complete kit. This saves you money whether you want to install the stair case yourself or we install the staircase for you, as all the components are pre-made and finished to reduce time on the job. With each stair case we manufacturer we include specialist tooling and comprehensive easy to follow instructions on how to install your staircase.