Standard: NAAMM - AMP 510


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Since prehistoric times, the stairway has provided the only means of moving, under one's own power, from one level to another in a building, within optimal limits of space, effort and safety. Even in buildings having elevators or ramps, stairs, too, are provided as a safeguard to the occupants in times of emergency. They are an essential building element, taken for granted in any multi-storied building. But stairs don't just happen; to best serve their purpose they must be correctly designed and properly built.

For centuries stairs have been made of stone masonry and wood. Metal stairs, by comparison, are a relatively new development. We're not sure when they first appeared, but quite likely the metal first used was wrought iron. By the time cast iron came into use for building facades, in the 1830's its use for stair construction had probably also been explored, and perhaps was already well developed. Cast iron stairs became increasingly commonplace with various improvements and added embellishments from time to time, during the next hundred years, in many public and commercial buildings. With their paneled newels and their moulded and ornamented stringers, these heavy cast iron stairs are still in use in many of our older structures. As late as the early 1930's they were still being specified by the Treasury Department in its new post office buildings, and during those depression years, as many will recall, government building constituted a large share of our construction activity. Many of today's metal stair manufacturers began their operations during this cast iron era. But gradually this heavy cast iron, with its inflexibilities and its high production labor costs, gave way to much lighter, more efficient and less expensive steel as a more-logical material for stair construction, and by the 1920's many stairs were being built of steel.

During the past 70 years the techniques of steel stair construction have, in turn, undergone many changes, steadily improving and taking full advantage of technical developments as they have occurred. Rolled sections are now made of stronger steel; improved sheet material and modern forming methods have increased the use of cold formed section; and welding has replaced bolted connections in many cases. With the availability of suitable copper alloys and the growing use of aluminum and stainless steel in building construction, the use of non-ferrous metals has greatly increased the scope and the design potentials of metal stair construction.

As everyone knows, there are many kinds of stairs, serving a wide range of purposes. They may be purely functional or utilitarian, built at minimal cost, or they may be highly decorative architectural features, using the most expensive materials. Most stairs, of course, are of a quality that lies somewhere between these two extremes. But the design potentials of metal stair construction are limited only by the architect's ingenuity.

It is the purpose of this Manual to provide architects with comprehensive up-to-date information on the design and construction of metal stairs of all types. Section 2 illustrates with photographs and principal details, installations representative of metal stairs which meet NAAMM minimum standards. Section 3 illustrates with photographs and principal details installations representative of metal stairs custom designed to achieve esthetic effects as well as to serve the functional needs of the building. Section 4 provides information on construction details and contains details of all parts of typical construction. Section 5 provides examples illustrating the structural design of stairs and railings as well as engineering data on stair components. Section 6 presents recommended voluntary minimum standards for fixed metal stairs and guide specifications for the architect. Section 7 is a glossary in which will be found the definitions of terms commonly used in stair work.

The stair designs shown, as well as their accompanying details, are intended only as suggestions - examples of what may be done with metal stair construction. Generally speaking, the architect should be concerned, in his drawings, with conceptual and structural designs and the provision of sufficient details to clearly explain the materials to be used and the esthetic effect desired. If he provides complete details of all structural parts and their connections, such details must meet not only the load requirements but also their dimensional requirements and tolerances as specified in the governing codes and as may be specified for special conditions which may exist for certain installations. Special conditions may include government requirements for occupational safety or for physically handicapped persons. Detailing is often left to the fabricator, and will be shown on the shop drawings which he submits for the architect's approval. Although metal stairs of all types are essentially custom designed, each stair manufacturer has his own preferred and proven methods of fabricating typical repetitive parts, especially on the more common types of stair. What may be the best detail or connection method in the opinion of one manufacturer is not necessarily consistent with the practices of another. And when the architect is contemplating the use of special design features, he should contact one or more fabricators early in the design stage to avail himself of any suggestions which may result in better or more economical design. However, the architect or engineer responsible for the design must verify that details, connections, materials, etc., proposed by the manufacturer are structurally adequate and meet all of the requirements of the specifications.

Organization: National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers
Document Number: amp 510
Publish Date: 1992-01-01
Page Count: -2147483648
Available Languages: EN
DOD Adopted: NO
ANSI Approved: NO
Most Recent Revision: YES
Current Version: YES
Status: Active