What are structural steel stairs?

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What many people do not realise is that structural steel stairs often appear as something entirely different. Where the casual observer sees a plaster stair or a timber stair or some other incredible, gravity defying stair design, look closer and you’ll find that 9 times out of 10, they are structural steel stairs below the outer skin! Whatever the space, whether commercial or residential, a hotel or a home, the secret to a truly amazing stair design is steel.

If you’re wanting to create a statement in your new space, and you need a staircase, then structural steel stairs are the answer.

Why structural steel stairs?

When it comes to stair construction, especially challenging designs such as spiral stairs and switchback designs, there really is little alternative to structural steel as the construction material of choice. The other alternatives are concrete and timber.

  • Concrete has been used for many years for staircases, but has some major drawbacks. They are very heavy, must be poured onsite (insitu), are complex to be made in difficult shapes and are very difficult to remove or demolish. If your chosen destination for the stair happens to be on say level 55 of an existing sky scaper, than concrete is simply an impossible option. And while concrete can be demolished and downcycled, it can’t be fully reused as it was before.
    • In contrast, structural steel stairs can be made to any shape, can be made modular off-site, are lightweight in comparison to concrete, and very simple to segment and remove when the time comes. Also by contrast, if the project is on any floor of any building, as long as there is an elevator, the structural steel stairs can be made in modular sections and brought up to the area and reassembled.
  • Timber has also been used over many years and currently in CLT form. While this is touted as an environmentally friendly option, they cannot be made in small modular sections, difficult shapes such as spirals are very difficult to achieve, they are bulky and cannot be recycled.
    • By contrast, structural steel stairs can be made to be compact, in any shape and can be made modular off-site in any size sections. But the massive plus is that when the end of life is reached for structural steel stairs, absolutely 100% of the steel in the stair can be completely recycled. See the following image for more information, and this link.

Structural steel stairs design

There are many different designs that you could consider when creating sensational structural steel stairs. Active Metal can design, fabricate and install some of the most impressive staircases in the world including (but not limited to):

Featured materials

The key to the success of any structural steel stairs are the material selections for the finishes; ie, what everybody sees. Depending on the requirements of the aesthetic intent and budget of the designer and client, the options are almost endless.

  • Timber joinery cladding over structural steel stairs is a popular option that looks amazing. See the following projects as examples:
  • Polished plaster can also be effectively applied to structural steel stairs as in this example:
  • Plasterboard is also applied over many structural steel stairs, as seen on these stairs:
  • Painted solid plate uses the structural steel stairs outer member being the plate steel balustrade as a paint finished item for maximum effect and smallest dimension:

The options are endless and can be explored in our full gallery of over 100 amazing structural steel staircases in Australia via our project pages here.

Location no issue

Any where in Australia, in any building, on any floor, Active Metal can design and install modular structural steel stairs to suit any design.

Sustainable and Recyclable

While renewable is the catchcry of building today, is it sustainable and can it be fully recycled? Timber may be renewable but is it sustainable? Is it recyclable? With over 50% of all construction timber going to landfill, steel is an easy win with over 90% of all construction steel being able to be fully recycled. You have peace of mind in specifying structural steel stairs in your next project.


Structural steel stairs will add immeasurable value to your space, both practically and aesthetically. Depending on the complexity of your design, size of the space and cost of chosen materials, the cost of a steel staircase could range anywhere from $50,000 – $1,000,000, and obviously the more floors involved, the more flights and voids will also. The sky really is the limit when it comes to adding such an architectural element to your space. For an accurate quote or cost plan on your next feature staircase, reach out to the Active Metal team.


Speak to the Active Metal team today

If you have a new project that requires a piece of functional architectural brilliance as the centrepiece of the space, then get in touch with the Active Metal Team. We install structural steel feature staircases in major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

Not sure where to start? That’s okay, we can help you through the entire process including stair design, material selection, manufacturing and installation. Get in touch today.


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