Disability Discrimination Act 1995

From 1 October 2004, under Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to overcome physical and other barriers to access. For further information on the DDA visit the Disability Rights Commission website

Associated Imagery

Steps and stairs should be carefully detailed for the benefit and safety of everyone; Accompanying handrails are important for people with walking difficulties and impaired balance; Blind and visually impaired people benefit particularly from handrails which extend at the top and bottom of flights, a tactile surface to indicate the top of a flight of stairs, clearly distinguished Nosings and a going which suits a natural cadence, especially when descending. Recommended nosing profiles assist people with leg braces or prosthetic devices who would have difficulty with sharp projections or abrupt angles. Solid risers also assist those who need to use canes or crutches on the step above to help maintain their balance.

Corduroy tactile surface

  • Corduroy surfaces should also be used at intermediate landings where there is access onto the landing other than from the steps themselves or on large intermediate landings where the handrails are not continuous.
  • Nosings should be integral with the step and distinguishable in colour and tone.


  • Nosings should be used on the front face as well as on the top of each step so that they are visible when ascending and descending.
  • A flight between landings should not contain more than 12 risers if the going is less than 350mm or 18 risers if the going is 350mm or more. The rise and going of each step should be consistent in a flight, between 150 and 170mm (with possible exceptions where adjacent to an existing building the riser may be greater than 170mm).
  • Open risers should not be used. Spiral stairs, tapered treads and tapered risers are not recommended, as they are exceptionally difficult for many people.