Skip to main content

ARCH 2614/5614 Building Technology I: Materials and Methods

Fall 2017

Jonathan Ochshorn

contact | homepage | office hours | fall 2017 index for ARCH 2614/5614

Assignment 9: Steel stair for Milstein Hall egress

Issued Nov. 15, 2017
Due Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 (in class)


Design a new steel stair to provide a third required means of egress from the second floor of Milstein Hall during the renovation of Rand Hall. Assume that a portion of the glass curtain wall will be removed to provide controlled access to the stair. Find a suitable location so that the stair complies with the New York State Building Code Section 1027. 5 (Location) and Section 1007.1.2 (Three or more exits or exit access doorways).

aerial view of Milstein Hall, Cornell
image source


  1. Draw a site plan, a second-floor plan of the stair, and a section of the proposed stair. On the section, show the vertical dimensions with the number of risers; on the second-floor plan, show the horizontal dimensions with the number of treads. Draw the section and second-floor plan to a scale of approximately 1:50 (i.e., 1/4" = 1'-0"). Draw the site plan at any appropriate scale that shows the stair in relation to the whole building. Show the exit door to the new stair in both plan and section (but not on the site plan).

  2. Important: The building code requires an intermediate landing for any stair with a vertical dimension of more than 12 feet. You can either design a "straight-run" stair with an intermediate landing (using bent stringers) or a switch-back stair.

  3. Show the handrail and guard rail in your stair section: it is not necessary to dimension them, but show them in scale (i.e., at the correct heights and with the correct configuration).

  4. Show all "calculations" for the stair and elevator design (i.e., how to find the number of risers and treads).

  5. Follow requirements for exterior exit stairways in the New York State Building Code (Section 1027 Exterior Exit Stairways and Ramps). You may assume that the exterior stair does not need to be covered.

    • Find the occupancy of the space from the posted occupancy sign (near the current Rand Hall exit)
      530 persons occupancy Milstein Hall Room 201
    • How many means of egress are actually required, based on Section 1006.3.1 (and Table 1006.3.1)
    • Find the minimum width of the stair according to criteria in the New York State Building Code (or IBC), based on Section 1005.3 (Required capacity based on occupant load), Section 1005.5 (Distribution of minimum width and required capacity), and, most importantly, Section 1011.2 (Width and capacity)
    • Consider the dimensions of landings per Section 1010.1.6 (Landings at doors)
    • Follow guidelines for handrails (Section 1011.11) and guards (Section 1015)


Format: Submit on one or more sheets of 11 x 17 inch paper with border and title block.

You are encouraged to work in groups consisting of 2 to 6 students. To facilitate NAAB documentation, each group should consist of either undergraduate or graduate students, but not both.

Reference plans

For some examples of stair plans and sections, as well as a partial section showing vertical dimensions of Milstein Hall, see FAQ