Ben Sippel

The Importance Of A Metal Staircase Test Build

One of the most important parts to our manufacturing process is the Test Build. There’s so much information we can obtain from this simple assembly, more than “it fits”. 

The steel skeleton of the staircase is assembled before sending it off for powder coating. This is a perfect opportunity give it a good check over and to amend anything if required. We don’t want to risk damaging the finished product.

We’ve put together a list of the benefits that a test build does for us. 

  1. The main benefit as mentioned is that we can make sure that all the steel components fasten together. Everything is designed on CAD and laser cut, so there is no reason that it shouldn’t, but it’s always best to check.
    Dry fitting a T-shape central spine metal staircase
    Assembling a T-Shape Flux Staircase – We often use a forklift to raise sections to the correct height.


  2. We can check that there is enough tolerance allowed in hole sizes. We always have the installer in mind, and often they will be working in a tight space. If a hole is too tight, they may struggle getting the components together. On the other hand if a hole is too large, it can allow other elements to slip, causing problems elsewhere. We have to find the balance. 
  3. Check the staircase been manufactured to the correct well sizes. We double check all of our drawings before we go to manufacture, but one last check is always worth it before the staircase is delivered.
    Dry fitting a large cut string metal staircases with two quarter landings
    Test build of large U-Shape Seam staircase – This staircase had walls on 3 sides with only 5mm fitting room. Dimensional accuracy was critical.


  4. During the installation, it is important that the staircase is installed as square and level as possible. This is impossible if the staircase hasn’t been manufactured square. We check all connections at this point, so there are no surprises on site. 
  5. It’s during the test build that we are able to check the quality of the fabrication and material quality, making sure all the welds are to the standard we expect. 
  6. Each project is different and often we need to adopt new ideas to cater for unique builds. With smaller ideas we do this on a live project. By test building we are able to confirm that these design changes can work.
    Metal staircase joining details testing
    Testing a slotted string connection system – This project had restricted access and the plate could only be offered up in one direction.


  7. Winding treads are little more complex than straight treads, due to the obscure angles and when it comes to the installation. We create mock up treads to test that they can be fastened to the staircase correctly, and square.
    Dry fitting winder treads on a metal staircase
    Testing mock winder treads – Using softwood template treads to check the fit.


  8. Finally it clarifies the installation process. We provide a detailed installation guide with every staircase. This is the opportunity we get to check the methodology, so we know the best way to advise you.

Fundamentally, the main reason we are so strict with the Test Build is to guarantee the staircase that is delivered to site, fits together. We know that our staircases are little bit different to the norm, so we send these pictures to you to give you that piece of mind.