Load testing of individual stone

new finished staircase

Cantilevered stone stairs

The stair is often the most visible element of structure in a building and in recent years there have been a renewed interest in building new stone stairs in existing or new houses. The engineer now plays a key role in designing stairs that would traditionally have been conceived and built by a stone mason. However unlike structures built from, say, steel or reinforced concrete, the approach to the design is based on the control of forces using geometry and proportion rather than numerical analysis. There are some key principles that need to be followed but these need to be combined with an understanding of the materials and building process.

As well as the design of new stairs we have been involved with the assessment of existing stone stairs at Hampton Court Palace and in 18th and 19th century houses. This often follows accidental damage to a part of the stair and involves an appraisal of structural integrity, what if any repairs are required and whether there should be restrictions on its future use.

Load testing of stairs in-situ

Dial gauge records movements in load test