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Designing stairs using a BIM software

How to design interior stairs elements using an architectural BIM design software

We previously had a look at how BIM objects are considered as smart objects; each containing their own specific information and characteristics, reason being why it is important to understand how these objects “behave” and “develop” within an architectural project.

This time we’ll learn a little more about how to use the stairs object by studying how we can establish this important connection between the multiple floors of a building distributed at different heights between each other and how the “ramp” and ‘stairs’ objects are used.

Selecting objects: landings and stairs using BIM

Let’s start off by selecting the type of ramp that we want to insert in our project: ramp, curved ramp, winding ramp or the spiral ramp. In the same way we can also choose among different landings in various shapes and forms. So how is the ‘stairs’ object inserted and how are its properties defined when using a BIM software, the likes of Edificius architectural BIM design by ACCA software.

Inserting BIM objects in the architectural project

From the Edificius architectural “objects” menu, let’s select the type of objects that we need.
Every time we insert these objects, we get a three-dimensional representation of the building model. The software will then provide us with a detailed information system of the building, both for its general aspects and for each of its single components.

Selecting a flight of stairs

To draw this architectural element, we’ll simply select the ‘stairs’ object and insert it by clicking it into position in a given level. At this point, the program automatically opens a stairs object editor. The stairs editor toolbar now supplies a series of different object related elements that we can choose from to proceed with modelling (straight ramp, curved ramp, landing, etc.).

stairs type selection

Stairs type selection

Positioning the stairs object

A simple click now places this first element into position. During this phase we can rotate it around an axis at 90° steps, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, using the F7 and F8 function keys.

Positioning the stairs object

Positioning the stairs object

Inserting the landing object to connect the various stair ramps in a BIM model

Now that the two stair ramps are correctly in position, these can now be connected up by using the landing element which is also a BIM entity.

stair ramp characteristics

Defining the stair ramp characteristics

As seen with the stairs element, we can also activate the landing element by selecting it from the objects menu and placing it between the two stair ramps. Simple to use editing features allow the designer to adjust the landing’s geometry to merge with the stair ramps. Once connected the two stair ramps will automatically extend between the starting floor and the arrival floor.

To fine tune the modelling of the landing element, special “magnetic snap points” allow us to curve its shape so as to follow the surrounding curved wall in Edificius’ 3D modelling environment.

Defining the landing characteristics

Defining the landing characteristics

Click here to download Edificius, the architectural design software