(12) Stairs and potential through-floor lift in dwelling

Principle: Enable access to storeys above the entrance level for the widest range of households.


Criterion 12 – Stairs and potential though-floor lift in dwellings

The design within a dwelling of two or more storeys should incorporate both:

a) Potential for stair lift installation; and,

b) A suitable identified space for a through-the–floor lift from the entrance level to a storey containing a main bedroom and a bathroom satisfying Criterion 14.


Required specification to achieve Criterion 12a – Stairs

In dwellings with two or more storeys, the stairs and associated area should be adequate to enable installation of a (seated) stair lift without significant alteration or reinforcement.

A clear width of 900mm should be provided on stairs. This clear width should be measured 450mm above the pitch height.


Required specification to achieve Criterion 12b – Potential for through floor lift

Unless the entrance level of the dwelling contains the living accommodation, the kitchen, a main (twin or double) bedroom and a bathroom meeting the requirements of Criterion 14, a suitable route for a wheelchair accessible through-the-floor lift from the entrance level should be identified. This route should enable potential access to those rooms listed in the preceding sentence that are not on the dwelling’s entrance level.

The identified route for the lift may be from a living room/space directly into a bedroom above. Alternatively, the route may be from, or arrive in, circulation space.

The potential aperture size for the route through the floor should be a minimum1000mm x 1500mm – with the potential approach to the lift being to one of the shorter sides. This potential aperture area should be clear of services.

Where the identified lift route within the dwelling passes through a concrete floor, a ‘knock out’ panel should be pre-formed within the floor. Traditional wooden joist floors, ‘I’beam floors, and metal web floors need not be provided with a ‘knock out’ panel along the lift route, provided that their design has taken account of associated point loads to enable the creation of the void if required.

It is acceptable for the identified route to require some degree of alteration / moving of demountable partition walls (e.g. timber stud walls) if this can provide the most efficient and practical layout arrangement following lift installation. However, where this is the case, the partitions to be moved should be clear of services.

When the potential arrival point for the lift arrives directly into a bedroom, there must be space to exit and approach the lift.

A compromised room layout would be expected following lift installation, but as a basic minimum the room should still be able to function as a single bedroom.

It is also a requirement that if the lift route is to arrive directly into a bedroom, the dwelling must have at least one bedroom that remains functional as a double bedroom.


Additional good practice recommendations that exceed, or are in addition to, the above requirements:



Although stair lifts are available for installation on most forms of stair, a straight flight with clear landings at the top and bottom, will provide for a more cost effective installation.

A straight flight of stairs with goings (treads) of consistent depth (i.e. no winders) is safer to use, particularly for those less agile.

A straight stair, without winders, is therefore recommended.

Where winders are incorporated onto a stair consideration should be given to ensure that an adequate going depth remains on the winders if a stair lift is installed.


Potential through floor lift

At the identified route, provide an electrical point to assist in any future adaptation / installation of the lift. This plate should be annotated with ‘lift position’ (or similar) to assist in future identification of the possible route.

Contact us

020 78228232
Centre for Accessible Environments
240 City Rd