A CASE FOR THE STAIRS
As soware generated 3D design helps architects, interior designers and stair manufacturers to inspire
customers with detailed models that perfectly encapsulate their ideas and plans, Sarah Rigby of Elecoso
looks at some of the benefits of using 3D design soware in the planning process.
SEPTEMBER 8 | BUILDING PRODUCTS
While staircases are a significant
feature in a structure, they
are heavily impacted by their
surroundings. It is a tricky part of
the design to modify if the overall plan alters. This
requires several skills and a thorough technical
understanding of the whole building process.
Stairs may seem commonplace and
straightforward but to create and install them
flawlessly is a work of brilliance. Designing them
is like solving a 3D puzzle.
The benefits of using CAD/CAM (Computer
Aided Design/Manufacturing) software to
design staircases are manifold and proven early
in the conceptual process. It provides the best
possible support for simplified and cost-effective
construction, facilitating the fast creation of
standard stair shapes as well as flexible design
capabilities for more advanced structures.
Stairs can be created on-screen from a set of
dimensions provided by an architect or builder,
or those taken on-site. After digitally drawing
the stairs, how they will fit into the space can be
accurately worked out.
Modifications to construction plans happen all
the time, often requiring a re-design of the staircase.
Tweaking a stair-build, once a time-consuming
process requiring a high level of skill, is now a
stress-free adjustment, all thanks to the availability
of CAD/CAM software. You can tread out the
bottom part of a flight, add to the top landing,
enhance a winder and do all the modifications
which used to require a calculator and a sketchpad.
The 3D visualisation gives a detailed and
immediate understanding of what the finished
staircase will look like. Surrounding walls, windows
and doors can also be realised in relation to the
ascending focal point.
The strength of today’s manufacturing lies in
its precision. A skilled artisan could get close with
traditional methods but using machines aided
by design software can achieve accuracy to even
a tenth of a millimeter, when machining timber
accuracy of 0.5mm is more than enough.
Not just a flight of fancy
With 3D design, a staircase structure is easier to
understand and envisage. The designs are not only
available to view on a computer screen but also
phones or tablets using various apps and website.
The customer could look at them and even directly
participate in creating a bespoke staircase.
To take a step even further, the stairs can be
viewed using an augmentation app, which places
the proposed stair design in a virtual situation
in the building, giving a realistic view. The client
can select different options, for example material,
finish or paint colour, see the results in 3D and
know how the staircase will look when finished.
The comprehensive software can also calculate the
cost involved and let the purchaser know the price
of each element.
Customers can bring their own design ideas to
the table and realise them in collaboration with
professional stair constructors and designers.
Combining CAD/CAM software and CNC
(Computer Numerical Control) machines can lead
to increased productivity and output, achieving the
desired results for both architects and consumers,
resulting in increased profit margins.
Designing stairs may seem an overwhelming
prospect, but with technology, it’s more
manageable. Stair design will keep on evolving and
new production methods and modern technology
will advance innovations further.
To install stairs
flawlessly is a work