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Physics/Building construction without Staircases.


QUESTION: Dear Prof Steve

Is it possible to construct a Building i.e. residential or commercial complex without Staircase ?. Is it feasible to built ?.

The people will always use Lifts / elevators instead of alternative of staircase.

i.e. The space occupied by the staircase will be replaced by additional Lifts / elevators.

What are the pros (advantages) and cons (disadvantages) if such a building model is constructed without staircase (if feasible) ?.

Examples : 10 floor commercial complex, 6 floor residential complex etc.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello Prashant,

That is not a feasible option. The issue of safety overrules any advantages such as additional lifts. There must be stairs available in case of fire or power failure.

I hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof Steve


We have to study the modern built elevators in terms of providing sufficient back up power for 2-3 days in situations of mains power breaks so that people may not get stuck up in elevators.

Also nowadays sophisticated elevators from Schindler, Otis cos have the best fire protection systems. Maybe this model is useful for taller buildings, skyscrapers rather than shorter buildings ?.

Cost factor of Having additional Lifts / Elevators for replacing the staircases have to be evaluated.

European countries viz Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Hungary, United Kingdom etc may build this experimental building model in the 21st century ?

Thanks & regards
Prashant S Akerkar

Hello Prashant,

I see that you are right. Such protection is being offered. Fire is my phobia. I would not be able to deal with knowing there was no way out other than getting into an elevator, so I would avoid such a building.

If that feature is approved, I would expect many of the European countries you listed to build such a building.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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