Creating systems that offer fall protection for spiral staircases can be a bit more challenging than for the average staircase. Any serious fall protection system needs to not only adapt to the twists and turns of the staircase, but also offer robustness, fire resistance and non-climbability.
Depending on what the client wants, it may also require good transparency to allow for sight lines, airflow and plenty of natural and / or artificial light.
Achieving robust fall protection for spiral staircases
Of course, you can always install regular balusters and handrails on a spiral staircase. However, where geometric freedom and a higher level of safety is needed, this may not be enough.
This was the case at the Royal Far West (RFW) children’s charity building in Manly. The charity identified a serious issue with child fall risks for the spiral staircase in the four-level atrium. They also wanted the barrier to be inconspicuous and to look as though it was a part of the original design. This meant a bespoke solution was required.
This is where the unique benefits of Jakob’s Webnet mesh become clear! Webnet has a unique ability to conform to just about any geometric shape. It can be formed into a variety of 3D sculptural shapes and can be twisted, turned and draped over objects – much like a piece of fabric.
In the case of RFW, we needed to achieve a kind of corkscrew configuration that had never been done before in Australia. This meant the project was not without its challenges.
However, the result speaks for itself. The barrier screen wraps over and around the curves of the staircase, providing a very high level of fall protection and an anti-throw screen. It also looks as though it was always in place, rather than having been installed after the staircase was built.
Other uses for Webnet mesh
Webnet is a unique material in that it combines robustness and safety with design freedom on a project. Its transparent qualities mean it can blend in with your design rather than intrude on it.
This combination of features is not so readily available with more solid materials, or even with something like Chainlink which has relatively low longevity and a heavier profile.
Here are some other Sydney projects where Webnet is utilised:
- Curved bridges and walkways – such as the Lachlan’s Line walking and cycling bridge at Macquarie Park, with its cylindrical tubular shape and curved lines, and the curving Albert Cotter bridge at Moore Park.
- Children’s play equipment safety nets – including at the Ian Potter WildPlay garden, and Wulaba Park in Waterloo.
Webnet can also be used to create multi-storey non-climbable barriers for atriums, and green facades support structures for climbing and scrambling plants. Other ideas for this versatile material include animal enclosures, screens and nets for sports enclosures, and transparent protection nets that can drape over valued monuments.
If you would like more information on fall protection for spiral staircases or to discuss other uses of Jakob Webnet mesh, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.