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Stairs and Balconies

Here are just some of our most frequently asked questions.  however, if you have a question that’s not listed then please feel free to send us an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What information do I need to provide in order to get a quote?

There are four pieces of information that are required initially:

  • The range of staircase you are interested in, i.e. Victorian, Scandinavian, Parisienne etc.
  • The diameter or width of the stairs required.
  • The approximate height of the stairs from finished floor to finished floor.
  • Do you need to comply with building regulations?

What is the diameter of the stairs?

If you imagine the spiral being drawn as a circle on a piece of paper, the diameter is the measurement from one side of the circle to the other so it is the overall width of the staircase. Our range now extends to over 13 diameters, and with our in house pattern making we can make specific diameters or width of straight stairs to order.

What is the floor to floor measurement?

The floor to floor measurement is the measurement from the finished floor on the level that you are entering the staircase right through to the top of the finished floor on level that you will be exiting the staircase. If you are ordering a stair, then you also need to take into account the finished surfaces, i.e. carpet, tiles etc.

How much space do I need to be able to fit a spiral stair?

The normal rule of thumb is that you need a square or circular opening that is 100mm larger than the diameter of the staircase. However, if you do not have this space, please feel free to contact us as it may be that we can get the spiral to fit another way or suggest a different solution for the stairs.

How do I know whether my stairs will need to comply with Building Regulations?

There are two interpretations of the Building Regulations, both of which state different requirements, so the best person to contact is your local building inspector as it will be their interpretation which will determine whether certain criteria needs to be adhered to. However we have over 30 years’ experience in the trade, so please do not hesitate to contact us in the first instance and will be able assist and guide you into the detail of the building regulations and the right people to contact. If your stairs are part of a planning application then you will need to comply. To help you select the most suitable diameter stair please click on this link (choosing the right size)

What type of stairs do you make?

We can make spiral, straight, combination (part straight/part spiral) and kited stairs in cast aluminium, wood or a mixture of the both to any height and diameter. Our products are truly bespoke and every staircase is built and fully erect in the workshop prior to shipping to individual customer needs.

Why Cast Aluminium and not Cast Iron?

Our Cast Aluminium staircases are just as strong and durable as any Cast Iron staircase on the market and look exactly the same. When used externally Cast Aluminium staircases simply only need a solid footing to fix to and therefore does not need the extensive concrete foundations that Cast Iron staircases often require, minimising disruption to the existing surroundings and environment.

What timbers do you use?

We only work with hard woods, the most popular being Ash, Oak and Sapele but we can work with other hard woods and have built stairs Cherry, Walnut, Beech and Mahogany so should you have preference of the timber to be used, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you conduct site surveys?

95% of staircases do not require a site visit so unless the project is particularly complicated, site visits are not done as a matter of course. To ensure that your staircase meets your needs and will fit, working drawings are produced so that you, and if appropriate your builder and architect, can all visualise the stairs, and on these drawings will be marked the dimensions that you will need to confirm in order for us to build. We endeavour to make the process as straight forward for you as we can and are always on the end of the phone or email to answer any queries or questions that you have.

Do you offer a fitting service?

We are only able to offer a fitting service for clients in the London area. However, all our products are designed for local tradesman and DIY enthusiast to install, and because they will have been fully erected in our workshop and made to measure there is very little work to be done on site if correct dimensions have been supplied. Full fitting instructions are sent out with the staircases but should you wish to have a look at what is involved they can also be viewed here

Are the stairs easy to install?

All our staircases and balconies are designed for local tradesman and DIY enthusiast to install and because they will have been fully erected in our workshop and made to measure there is very little fabrication work to be done on site. Full fitting instructions are sent out with the staircases and balconies but should you wish to have a look at what is involved they can also be viewed here

Are the stairs safe?

Staircases can be made so that there is no gap greater than 99mm on the staircase which makes them extremely safe. This is a Building Regulation requirement and therefore is a standard requirement for most staircases. We have a full showroom in Derbyshire so you are more than welcome to come and try them out to put your mind at ease.

Can you make stairs that are different to those on your website?

What you see on the website is an illustration of the different ranges and the different options within the ranges, but it is in no way exhaustive, and things like balusters can be mixed and matched on almost any of the ranges. If you have a concept in mind which is not illustrated on the website, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will talk your design through with you.

How can I contact you?

We can be contact by phone, email or fax. All our details can be found here

Do you have a showroom that we can visit?

Yes we do. There is a full showroom at our Derbyshire works. The Derbyshire showroom is open daily from 8am – 4.30pm but should you need to visit us at the weekend then this can be arrange by prior appointment. We strongly encourage prospective clients to visit the showroom if they can so that can see all the different options available and a feel for the different diameters and quality of the product.

Do you ship abroad?

Yes we can arrange delivery worldwide. Approximately 15% of our staircases are exported to Europe and the wider world.

Where do you get your castings from?

We own our foundry so all our cast aluminium castings are manufactured in Stoke on Trent and our cast iron castings in London. This means we can have total control over the quality of castings. Most of our competitors import casting from the Far East with little control over quality or flexibility.


We are CE Accredited. Read more about this on our Certifications page.

Gates and Railings

What style of railings would traditionally be found in our area?

Where possible we will give advice on what has traditionally been found in the area, but if you have photos and examples of previous installations or photos of what your neighbours then that is always helpful.

What height should the railings be?

Building Regulations would state that external railings should be 1100mm high from ground to the top of the railings. Many railings on the front of the property are wall top railings and therefore the railings plus the wall must make the height required.

Do we need permission for railings?

You will only need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a railing, wall or gate if:

  • It would be over 1 metre high and next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway); or over 2 metres high elsewhere; or
  • Your right to put up or alter fences, walls and gates is removed by an article 4 direction or a planning condition; or
  • Your house is a listed building or in the curtilage of a listed building.
  • The fence, wall or gate, or any other boundary involved, forms a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its curtilage.

You will not need to apply for planning permission to take down a railing, wall, or gate, or to alter, maintain or improve an existing railing, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don’t increase its height. In a conservation area, however, you might need planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area to take down a railing, wall or gate.

Is it cast iron? – Mine is definitely cast iron.

The word cast iron is often used to describe a large range of railings and gates when in fact they are not. Most railings are mild steel bars with either steel or cast iron railing heads. The very old ornate railings may well be traditional cast iron but we will be able to advise you on this.

Where do you make your gates and railings?

We have workshops in South and East London where our gates and railings are made.

Do you offer a fitting service?

We are able to offer a fitting service on all our products in the London area, but a fitting service is not always required as the majority of our products can be made for local tradesman to install.

Do you come and measure up?

If you opt for a fitting service then the site measure is part of the price. If you opt for a product on a supply only basis then we require you to provide the dimensions or alternatively we can come and take the measurements for a small additional charge.

Can you build the wall?

Unfortunately we do not offer a service to complete any building works.

Why choose British Spirals & Castings?

We are a family business which has been trading for over 30 years with a focus on quality and customer service. We manufacture all our stairs, balconies, gates and railings in the UK and make them to your individual specifications. The staircases and balconies are all fully erected in our workshops prior to deliver so we know that it fits to the specification provided and they have all been designed so that local tradesman will be able to install them. We do not supply kit stairs which have been mass produced in foreign factories and which will rarely comply with UK Building Regulations. We also have the widest range of cast tread diameters and patterns in the world so we are more likely to be able to find a staircase to suit and as the range of cast staircases continues to expand we are able to offer a wide range of choice. We pride ourselves on the fact that everything is built to the highest standards and encourage customers to come and visit our showrooms in Derbyshire  so that you can try out different diameters and see the different designs which will create thought and ideas. We also offer a complete design service for any specification of stairs including bespoke and new pattern work. Our aim is to endeavour to build what you want.

Have we answered all of your questions? If not please contact us by phone on 01663 750716 or email and we will endeavour to answer any outstanding queries and questions for you.

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