The independent London newspaper

Any building over 22.9m in New York needs at least two stairwells encased in concrete

05 October, 2017

• IN New York any building taller than 22.9metres must have at least two stairwells, encased in concrete, to provide a safe escape route if there’s a fire.

Gus Sirakis, assistant commissioner at NYC department of buildings said: “It’s a basic thing of being able to get people out of the building. A back-up route is needed in case one of the stairways is inaccessible or being used by firefighters.”

The argument that only one stairwell is sufficient in tall buildings if compartmentation is thorough would be fine if compartmentation was always thorough. Clearly that is not the case.

If evacuation is considered the better option to “stay put” – for whatever reason – surely two stairwells must be better than one? The argument for one stairwell is like saying if you have a good prosthetic, one leg will do.

Fellows Road, NW3


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