DriftReady Stairs Safer During Seismic Event

Construction Specialties’ tested, safe, and resilient stairs solution is engineered to survive an earthquake

Construction Specialties (CS), a manufacturer of commercial building products, and experts in building movement, have engineered DriftReady™ Stairs, a safe solution for occupants’ and first responders’ egress and ingress during and after a seismic event. Architects can now confidently specify a tested, safe, and resilient stairs solution that can reduce building repair cost and recovery time after a seismic event.seismic event

A common challenge CS found is that during building movement, stairs tend to transfer force back into the building, and this is how stair connections often fail—rendering stairs vulnerable, unsafe, and often unusable. Tests revealed that strengthening stair connections was not the answer—the stair system needed to move with the building, not play anchor. Hard welding and added reinforcements only caused stairs to break more quickly under severe stress.

In trying to develop a safe and resilient stair system, CS thought of the human backbone—it provides strong support, but it also flexes with the movement of the body. DriftReady Stairs’ patent-pending technology keeps stairs stable at rest, yet flexible when a building moves. They move independently of the structure, minimizing damage to connections and ultimately preserving the structural integrity of the building. Flexible connectors allow relatively free movement between stair tread assembly and landing during rotation and transverse movementsseismic event

Best practices and industry standards say stairs should accommodate an interstory drift of 2.5% during a seismic event. CS conducted two full-scale shake table tests in the Earthquake Engineering Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, and DriftReady Stairs proved to be a seismically resilient solution able to accommodate interstory drift of 4.0% and beyond.

DriftReady Stairs are prefabricated off-site. Railings are ½” picket (standard) or wire mesh infill with a 1½” top and bottom rail and posts. Custom railing is available.


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