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At the beginning of 2018 the management of the Zoar Protestant Deaconry faced a major challenge. The building authority had ordered the installation of new escape stairways on several of the buildings at Inkelthalerhof for compliance with preventive fire protection regulations. Up to that time the only escape routes had been the building stairwells, and there were no other escape and rescue structures. “If a fire breaks out the hazard zone has to be evacuated quickly. That’s why an adequate number of escape routes are required by law,” explained Ingolf Stuber, Junior Manager at the company engaged to construct the escape stairways at Inkelthalerhof, Gemeinhardt Gerüstbau Service GmbH, Frankfurt. The building authority insisted on compliance with the legal requirement of a second escape route at each of the buildings. Since stationary external stairways were not an option for the Zoar Protestant Deaconry, it decided to use scaffolding-based fire escapes made from Layher Allround Scaffolding.
Specialist for temporary escape stairways
“We specialise in these kinds of temporary emergency stairways. The escape stairtowers we build with Layher Allround Scaffolding satisfy all legal requirements of width and load-bearing capacity, as well as human and material safety,” emphasised Ingolf Stuber, who coordinated the scaffolding build at Inkelthalerhof. Gemeinhardt has long been convinced of the quality of Layher scaffoldings. Ingolf’s father, Walter Stuber, was actually an apprentice at Layher in Eibensbach in the 1970s. The fire escapes were collaboratively planned by Gemeinhardt, Layher’s technical department and a specialist engineering firm. The escape stairtowers were constructed from Layher Allround Scaffolding material by the scaffolding builders, and each of them has special features. The escape stairtowers had to be precisely adapted to the different floor heights of each building to make a floor-level exit possible. This meant converting windows into emergency doors. Up to four escape stairtowers per building were needed.
The Layher Allround Scaffolding can bear a total admissible load of 5 kN/m² and is 1.20 m wide. All escape stairways have guardrails with child protection and some have an additional waiting platform for wheelchair users for efficient evacuation of the building in the event of a fire. Layher adjustment plate for base plates ensure that the scaffolding can be assembled in a perpendicular position on sloped terrain. Any required angle can be set by pivoting the top and bottom parts relative to one another. Seven fire escapes were covered with plastic mesh for both visual protection and to alleviate residents’ fears of heights. A total of 13 different escape stairtowers of between 3 m and 10 m in height, and a bridge, were constructed.
Flexible adaptation to requirements
With the proven Layher Allround Scaffolding, the stair structures can be adapted to specific building architecture, e.g. exit heights. The pitch dimensions and load bearing capacity of the Layher stairway tower 750 make it ideal for escape stairtowers. Unlike custom-made steel and wood fire escapes, the modular Layher Allround Scaffolding offers the benefits of fast and cost-effective assembly.
Gemeinhardt has decades of experience in the legally compliant implementation of these kinds of projects. Ingolf Stuber explained, “We construct scaffolding escape stairways from standard Layher system components to minimise planning and time expenditure.” The Layher system components are already tested to static and building regulations, and approved. This considerably simplifies the process of compliance with DIN standards, regional building codes and other regulations. “Our state-examined group leaders at the site ensure that safety requirements are 100 per cent fulfilled and that residents are treated with the utmost professionalism,” emphasised Ingolf Stuber. When the Layher escape stairtowers were in place, ownership of all the material was transferred to the Zoar Protestant Deaconry. “We recommended that the customer purchased rather than leased the Layher scaffolding. It will remain in place for many years, so by purchasing it the customer profits from substantially lower costs,” explained Ingolf Stuber.
Over 100 years of scaffolding tradition
Gemeinhardt Gerüstbau Service GmbH has a more than 100-year history in scaffolding construction. Managing directors Walter Stuber and Dirk Eckart took over the Saxon branch of a Munich-based scaffolding company in a 2001 management buy-out. Today it’s the headquarters, and the place where the company is writing the next chapters of its scaffolding success story. In addition to the Rosswein headquarters, which caters to customers in eastern and southern Germany, the medium-sized company has scaffolding operations in Braunschweig and Frankfurt am Main. The Braunschweig operation has an established reputation as scaffolding specialist in northern Germany, whereas the Frankfurt operation provides special scaffolding services in western Germany.