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Treads, nosings, and luminance contrast strips: some key AS 1428 guidelines

Australia has some of the strictest standards for stair design in the world, and it's worthwhile for every architect and designer to be aware of them.
Treads, nosings, and luminance contrast strips: some of the key AS 1428 rules for stair construction


Australia has some of the strictest standards for stair design in the world, and it's worthwhile for every architect and designer to be aware of them. These rules are particularly important for designing stairs in publics spaces, whether they be commercial, retail, or office stairs.


Here we provide a brief summary of some of the key rules in AS1428 pertaining to stair construction. This information may be useful to architects or designers working on Australian projects that intend to comply with AS 1428.1-2009 Design for access and mobility - General requirements for access - New building work. These notes are not intended to be comprehensive or complete. Interested readers should refer to the original Australian Standards to ensure they have complied with all aspects of the code.

Key points to remember

  • Stairs must have opaque risers. This is in view of modesty considerations in public spaces.
  • Stair nosings are not allowed to project beyond the face of the riser. The riser itself may be vertical or splay backwards to a maximum of 25mm. The nosing profiles may have a sharp intersection, a radius up to 5mm, or up to a 5x5 chamfer.
  • One of the key requirements that designers and architects need to be aware of is the need for a 'luminance contrast strip' that provides a strong visual cue of the tread / riser intersection. This strip must be between 50 and 75mm wide, must run across the full width of travel. It cannot be set back from the nosing more than 15mm. The strip needs a luminance contrast of at least 30% with respect to the background material. 

As implied above, the contrast strip may be situated on the nosing itself, or set-back slightly. If it is actually on the nosing, it cannot extend down the riser more than 10mm.

The diagrams below show both types of application of a luminance constrast strip. Often the same component can be used to provide luminance contrast and also provide slip-resistance. Products such as Latham Strips are used and recommended by Arden Architectural Stairs.



Case when the nosing strip is set back



Case when the nosing strip is not set back

Published on: 25-Mar-2011. Topic/s: Stair safety, compliance, and regulations