NEHRP Clearinghouse

Performance of Stairways in Earthquakes.
Roha, C.; Axley, J. W.; Bertero, V. V.
National Science Foundation, Washington, DC., September 1982, 146 p.
Identifying Number(s)
Stairways, the primary vertical emergency exit routes in multi-story buildings, are critically important for egress and access during earthquakes and fires. Seismically damaged stairways have delayed evacuation, impeded efforts of rescuers and fire fighters, complicated salvage and restoration operations, and resulted in deaths and injuries. The seismic behavior of typical stairway systems is not well understood, and few code provisions are directed toward the problem of stairway design. This project initiates the study of the performance of stairways in earthquakes. The past seismic performance of stairways is reviewed and classified by damage type. Relevant provisions of U.S. and foreign building codes are presented and a model code for stairways is outlined. Current practices in architectural design, structural engineering design and analysis, and building construction are reviewed, design philosophies and strategies are delineated, and recommendations are made. General conclusions are drawn and areas for further study and research are identified.
Dynamic response; Stairways; Buildings; Damage assessment; Earthquake engineering; Earthquake resistant structures; Building codes; Seismic design; Earthquakes; Structural design; Dynamic structural analysis