A reader's General Construction question: Cheap steps?

Leigh Mac.   from   the marsh, Australia   had this Cheap steps question.

Hi Bill, do you get confused with Bob? He's maybe a bit younger, not sure but...

In our 7X14X3.4m shed we're putting a mezzanine up one end in one 3.5m bay. Didn't get the steel shed people to supply flooring, handrail or stair, thinking I might be able to build cheaper in timber... again, not sure but !
As is only stuff storage, absolute min is all I want to have. What do you rekon might do for handrail and stair? I rekon if a pulldown ladder is OK for a ceiling storage then something like a fixed ladder might do here too?


Bill's reply

Hi Leigh,
  • It depends on how much you use it and how big the stuff is that you carry up and down.
  • If you use a fixed ladder you need to keep it the same angle as using it normally. Don't try to make it less steep.
  • I built a mezzanine floor to one workshop I had out of totally recycled materials.
  • C purlins for floor joists covered with 16mm Lamiwood cover sheets.
  • Two large C purlins for stringers and I had a load of old steel scaffold planks that I cut a few up for step treads. I used old scaffold tube for handrail.
  • Course you need a welder to take advantage of scrap steel.
  • There is a lot of old scaffolding that is not permitted any more, so it sells cheap.
  • This particular floor I hung it from the roof structure, so no columns underneath to get in the way. (This was fairly massive portal arch construction, don't think about it with a kit type shed)
It really depends what you have available that is cheap.
Thanks for that Bill.

No 2 son has a little gasless mig that I can use so that's good. Might put the bite on a few local brickies see if I can get hold of some old scaffolding. Do building regs actually specify details for stairs or handrail?
Is Lamiwood like speedbracing or industrial ply?
I think the floor from the kit place has its own legs that bolt to the frame... Got lucky with buying it before the july steel hike.

Cheers Leigh
Hi Leigh,
  • Lamiwood is the stuff they make kitchen cabinets with, Every pack from the factory has top and bottom cover sheets that are seconds in some way and the boys at the warehouse sell them off for cash for their social club.
  • It not a good floor, but I have used heaps for throw away formwork on small jobs,
  • I would try the scaffolding hire companies, they are always getting new stuff and the old stuff gets on the S/H market.
  • Building regs certainly do cover stairs and handrails.
  • You are in an odd situation though. Do the stairs as steep as you need keeping a standard riser height, say between 165 and 190.
  • Put at least one hand rail at 865 vertical from the nosing line.
  • At the top the handrails on balconies etc should be 1000.

PS. Re: Bob the Builder. I did a job at a large pre school once and was the star attraction at playtimes. It took a while before they stopped calling me Bob and changed to Bill the builder.

I tried to register "Bill the builder" as my website name, but that Bob had all the similar sounding names reserved. I just can't compete, he's so good.
I even had a lady from the US comment on him a while back. He's over there as well!

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