Stairways and Doors as a Means of Escape from a Construction Site

In the case of a fire outbreak on a construction site, the means of escape from the work areas situated above or below the ground level must be considered carefully.


Stairways and ladders must be located in accessible areas or adequately protected so that people can use them if there is a fire. Evacuation routes must be planned and staircases should be provided instead of ladders in as many places as possible. This should be done at the planning stage of the project.

There should be at least one protected stairway in case there is a fire outbreak in the main working area, except in the case of small two-storey buildings with short travel distances. Usually, in finished buildings, the fire escape stairway is situated in its own fire resistant shaft. In these situations, usually, the travel distance is measured from the work area to the door of the stairway.

Protected stairways are an important feature in all buildings and hence it is a sensible idea to install them and make them available for use in case of a fire at the earliest when constructing a new structure before the risk of fire increases.

Wall, floor or ceiling coverings encourage the spread of fire rapidly. Hence, such materials must not be used in escape stairways. Ideally, the escape stairways should have plaster or concrete surfaces that can be plastered or painted as required. In case you plan to cover the escape stairways, the material used for covering should be fire retardant.

It is better to have alternative protected stairways in any building, especially in the case of buildings that have more than four floors above the ground. One stairway at least should lead to the open air at the ground level, except in subterranean structures and small basements.


Doors that lead to protected stairways must be installed as soon as possible. The doors must be fire resistant and equipped with a self-closing mechanism. The gaps between the doors and frames must have smoke seals or intumescent strips, wherever applicable. Protected stairway doors should offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance in the eventuality of a fire.

Fire protected stairways and fire resistant doors are very critical devices and are vital means of escape for the people on any construction site. These must be carefully planned during the design phase itself and provided as soon as the construction process starts. Along with stairways and doors, there must be adequate fire protection and firefighting equipment also provided in key areas on the worksite.

This is where Cygnus comes into the scene. Equipping your construction site with the top-of-the-range Cygnus fire protection equipment can help to keep your worksite and workers safe in case of a fire outbreak.