Steel stair design automation

3D modeling of steel egress stairways has become the standard for design and detailing of stairways in commercial and industrial building projects. Modeling comes with many benefits, such as isometric views, clash detection, improved engineering analysis, and better connection details and erection drawings. But many manual, tedious modeling processes can be burdensome for designers and detailers. Seemingly small details and design changes can create huge bottlenecks for stair designers resulting in submittal and fabrication delays. To address these bottlenecks and shorten submittal turnaround, Lapeyre Stair created Escher™, a software program to automate modeling of steel stairways. 

Overview of steel stair modeling

Lapeyre Stair's design team uses Advance Steel by AutoDesk for designing steel stair systems. Designing stairs in Advance Steel is very comprehensive, but can require tedious, manual processes for many different design components. Escher™ automates these processes. Here is a shortlist of the various design components of a stairway.

  • Stair stringers
  • Stair treads
  • Stair risers
  • Guardrail posts
  • Guardrail infill pickets
  • Handrails
  • Handrail brackets
  • Landing frame
  • Landing support
  • Landing decking

Steel modeling programs like Advance Steel are built to handle customization of design. Customization is great for structural steel and custom stairways because every component is different. The downside is that because everything is customized, automating design processes are very limited. Custom design processes can take many hours for what should be very repeatable tasks. Escher™ eliminates manual tasks by automating these processes in Advance Steel. 

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Here are some examples of how Escher works. 

Stair flight design

To design a single stair flight, a designer usually needs to create the stair stringer profiles, create all the stair treads and risers, add riser bends, design the copes at the ends of stringers, and add other small details. Escher performs all of this work with a few clicks. 

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Stair guardrail design

Lapeyre Stair designs with standard guardrail and handrail designs. Typically modeling a guardrail in Advance Steel requires manual addition of posts, post weld joints, pickets, handrails, handrail bends, and handrail terminations. In Escher™, 1 click of a button adds all of these components to the stair stringer.

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What if a client decides they want a different guardrail, for instance a guardrail that bolts into the stringer instead of welds? Escher™ can edit railing profiles, infills, and posts, and other design attributes instantly. 


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Stair landing design

To design a stair landing, typically a stair designer would need to create custom landing frames, weld joints, intermediate supports, landing supports, and anchor locations. Escher™ automates all of these processes. Stair landings can be designed with a single input from the stair designer. And landing sizes in Escher™ can be instantly adjusted with simple inputs.

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Multi-floor stair system design

What about complex stair towers? Escher™ can help build out multi-story stair towers rapidly. Designers  place the stair stair flight in the correct space, then input the parameters, and Escher™ adds a new flight to the tower. 

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Escher™ can also add custom guardrail configurations and intermediate landing transitions. 

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Rapid design changes

Escher™ provides the ability to make design changes instantly. For instance, guardrail infill can be instantly changed with the click of a button from a vertical picket design, to a multi-line design, to a mesh panel design.

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Lapeyre Stair is focused on providing best-in-the-industry lead times and quality for steel stair systems. Escher™ is a great tool to help speed the  design and modeling of steel stair systems to help us achieve that goal for our customers. Escher™ works for all of Lapeyre Stair's standard steel egress stair systems. It's another reason why standardizing steel egress stairs can help save time and cost for a project. 

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