Guide to public access and emergency stair towers


Guide to public access and emergency stair towers

Stair towers are not just for the building site. They also play a role in our everyday lives and contribute a great deal to our safety. But as experts know, not all stair towers are the same. For a construction stair tower used on the building site and thus only by certain people, different requirements apply than for a stair tower used by the public. Find out more in this guide to public access and emergency stair towers.


New RINGSCAFF stair tower by Scafom-rux


When is a public access stair tower needed?

Whether at large events such as trade fairs, concerts or at public buildings or even residential buildings: We always encounter public access stair towers where many people are present at the same time. They can be used, for example, as part of a temporary bridging solution to guide passenger traffic past obstacles during building phases at streets, train stations or else as well as at major events such as concerts or trade fairs.

When is an emergency stair tower needed?

However, the stair tower can also become a real lifesaver, as it is often used in public areas as an escape, emergency or fire escape stair. These are usually located outside

  • public buildings such as schools or hospitals
  • commercially used buildings such as department stores
  • residential buildings where, for example, structural changes make a new escape route necessary

In the case of fires or other emergencies, people can be evacuated from the danger zone in this way.

Even though the regulations and requirements for an emergency escape stair tower may differ, a stair tower is usually necessary if there are not enough escape routes according to the respective fire protection concept. This can be the case, for example, in building renovations when the original escape routes are no longer accessible.

In places of assembly such as sports stadiums, cinemas or concert halls, an emergency stair tower must then meet the requirements of the respective Ordinance on Places of Assembly.


Emergency stair tower made of RINGSCAFF modular scaffolding material.


What are the features of an escape stair tower?

As escape stair towers are intended for public use, they must comply with the relevant regulations. These in turn vary depending on the purpose and location of use. For this reason, escape stair towers are often customised. Nevertheless, some characteristics of the escape stair tower can be noted:

  • Load capacity of 5.5 kN/m2 or 7.5 kN/m2 (according to the Ordinance on Places of Assembly) with even load distribution
  • No tripping hazards so that the danger zone can be left quickly and without accidents
  • Slip-resistant surfaces, e.g. by grating steps with safety tread edges and a mesh width of 30 mm x 30 mm
  • Child-proof railings and stair edges on publicly accessible escape stair towers
  • At least one stable continuous handrail
  • Safety treads so that the escape stairtower can be used all year round even in rain, snow and ice

The main differences between escape stair towers and construction stair towers are, for example, the child safety elements and the traffic load. The clear passage width is also one of the decisive parameters of an emergency stair tower. This must always be adapted to the number of people as well as the intended use and the structural conditions of the building. Also, the passage width for a stair tower used as an rescue route must often be wider than when it is used as an escape route. While an escape route is used exclusively under one's own power, a rescue route is also used with outside help, e.g. if sick or elderly people have to be evacuated.

How is an escape stair tower constructed?

Public access and emergency stair towers are available in both the traditional 07 dimension and the material-saving metric dimension. Like building stair towers, emergency stair towers usually consist of a frame construction made of modular scaffolding material and prefabricated stair elements. This means that they can be individually adapted to the structural conditions.

Not every stair tower is suitable for public use. This is different with the new RINGSCAFF stair tower. It works both as access to work areas on the construction site and as an escape or public access stair tower. See for yourself in our stair tower animation:

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