by Frederike Berg
Beginner’s guide to stair towers in construction
The good old ladder has proven its worth in scaffolding over the years. Thousands of workers climb it every day to reach their work area. True to the motto: simple but good. Despite all its pragmatism, the ladderway still leaves room for improvement in terms of freedom of movement. In addition, according to the TRBS, for safety reasons a ladder may only be used in scaffolding from a height of 5 metres in exceptional cases. From a height of 10 m, a stair tower is then compulsory.
There are plenty of alternatives to scaffold ladders: transport platforms, lifts, or even, somewhat more modestly dimensioned, scaffold stairs. These can be in the form of a platform staircase, for example, which is integrated into the scaffolding with a scaffolding bay in front of it. This already makes climbing up and down the scaffold safer and more ergonomic. With the platform stairway, it is thus avoided that the utilisation width of the scaffold is restricted by an internal ladderway.
If the scaffold stairs are to be used not only for going up and down on the scaffold, but also for transporting materials as part of more extensive work, a construction stair tower is a worthwhile option. Unlike the platform stairway, this can be either free-standing or integrated into the scaffolding. The range of movement is thus once again significantly increased.
When should you use a construction stair tower?
Basically, a construction stair tower is interesting for every project where access to the working area is to be made as simple as possible. It is almost indispensable where extensive material transport is necessary, certain paths have to be walked particularly often or the scaffolding levels have to remain free for work.
Overall, going up and down on the scaffold as well as the transport of materials is not only much safer but also faster with a stair tower. This is because the increased effort that can be necessary, for example, when transporting material on scaffolding with internal ladderways, is reduced significantly with the stair tower.
Since stair towers usually have stairs running in opposite directions, the working area on the respective scaffolding level can remain free and the work can be carried out there undisturbed.
Specifications of a construction stair tower
Stair towers are available in a wide variety of designs. Always adapted to the respective application. Usually, a stair tower consists of a frame construction, for example made of modular scaffolding material, and prefabricated stair elements. If necessary, the stair tower can be extended or adapted to its intended use by means of special components.
Stair towers correspond to load class 3, which means that an evenly distributed surface load of 2 kN per m2 is permitted.
Use cases of a construction stair tower
Stair towers provide reliable access to workplaces at height and depth. They are often used for complete façade cladding, renovation work e.g. on roofs or for thermal insulation, or for maintenance and repair work in industrial plants. A stair tower is also ideal if, for example, you need to go into the depths of an excavation pit.
However, stair towers are not only suitable for access to work areas, but also as temporary escape and replacement stairs. But be careful: not every stair tower may also be used as an emergency stair tower. Learn more about the requirements for an emergency stair tower in our next blog article.
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