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Transit agencies are increasing their demand for longer-lasting infrastructure that does not require maintenance. To meet these objectives on an equipment station renovation project, the contractor turned to Kenway to design and fabricate new sets of staircases using Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites. This project was for an agency in the northeast US.

The Problem

When making renovation decisions, the contractor was looking for a longer-lasting alternative to their previous steel stairs structures. The existing steel staircases at the project site were experiencing so much corrosion that they required repair (sandblasting and repainting) each year, which became a constant cost that could not be tolerated forever.

The contractor had never worked with FRP composites before, so they reached out to Kenway Composites to supply FRP stairs meeting these requirements:
• Pedestrian loads
• No welding for construction
• Lightweight
• Easy to install
• Less long-term maintenance

The Solution

The Kenway team was able to work with the concept drawing and redesign the staircase with FRP composite materials. Stairs and railings can be cost-effectively created for custom designs by using standard shape profiles pultruded using glass fiber reinforcement and a fire-resistant polymer. The fibers provide high strength, and the polymer protects the fibers from environmental degradation from water and chemicals; additionally, the resin meets the E-84 Class 1 fire rating. Standard profiles that were used to build the FRP staircases include tubes, channels, and angles. The stair treads were molded gratings, and the handrails were safety yellow in color. The basic handrail design withstands a load of at least 200 pounds applied in any direction, which exceeds the requirement of OSHA 1910.23.

Our team fabricated and assembled the  FRP staircases in our Maine facility. Given the size of these staircases, they could be shipped to the construction site fully assembled. Upon delivery, all the contractor had to do was set the FRP stairs into place and anchor the structure. The contractor was pleased with the fast installation and plans on using FRP composites in future projects!