How many stairs in a flight?

This might seem like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” However, the number of stairs in a flight is not determined at random, but is governed by various factors, as well as UK building regulations.

In this blog, we will discuss the definition of the term ‘flight of stairs,’ as well as the rules around how many stairs should be in each flight.

Rules governing the number of steps in a flight of stairs

When building staircases, there are different rules depending on what they will be used for. For example, private staircases in domestic residences have less stringent rules than fire escapes in public buildings.

UK building regulations provide specific rules as to how many steps should be in each flight of stairs. These take into account any landings between each straight flight of stairs, as well as turns on winder or spiral staircases.

What is a flight of stairs?

A flight of stairs is defined as a continuous series of stairs between landings. Each landing indicates the end of the flight.

There are several reasons why most flights of stairs average out at 12 or 13 steps per flight. Too many steps in a flight can make them tiring to ascend and disorientating to descend. Additionally, a great number of steps in a straight flight of stairs increases the risk of serious injury, as the distance that it would be possible to fall from increases.

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Too few steps in a flight, on the other hand, would take up a significantly more space, as well as being rather awkward to ascend and descend.

Maximum number of stairs in a flight 

Below, we’ve listed the maximum number of stairs in a flight for various applications. As you can see, this number is determined by the maximum rise (vertical measurement of each step) and the maximum going (from the nose of one step to the riser of the next).

Min rise in


Max rise in cm Min going in cm Max going in cm Max steps in a straight flight of stairs
Private stairs 15 22 22 30 36
Utility stairs 15 19 25 40 16
Fire escapes 15 17 25 40 12

This means that the minimum pitch of a flight of stairs is 42 degrees.

Need help designing a flight of stairs?

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to replace your existing stairs or a builder or developer needing staircase design advice, it’s essential that you speak with reputable staircase experts to ensure that your plans are in line with UK building regulations.

Abbott Wade has years of experience in renovating and replacing staircases across the UK, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Give them a call on 01744 634442 or send a message using the contact form on their website for a swift response.

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