Case Study - Floating Stairs

Structural Site Inspections

When Advanced Building Engineers owner Jason Nguyen was designing his new three storey 4x2 home in Churchlands, he knew he wanted the staircase to be an artistic feature. The stairs would be seen from both entries of the home and are adjacent to the busy kitchen and living areas. Being right in the heart of the architecturally designed home, Jason wanted the stairs to be the main feature of the new home being built on a 10-metre narrow block in the new estate.   



Jason wanted the ultimate in floating stairs with no visible steel stringer, bolts in the glass balustrading or a handrail. He wanted a seamless look where the timber meets the glass. However, family members had safety concerns about a very open stair tread and no handrail for support so Jason set out to find workarounds so everyone would be happy.


Jason was undeterred and searched thousands of photos until he found one close to what he’d imagined. His search came close except the glass balustrading used bolts. Jason and his architect friend from JAV Developments then engineered the staircase to match the photo and fulfil the family’s wish list.

The treads were made from a chunky European oak to reduce the gap between each step. The ends of the treads had a steel rod connecting the glass balustrade to the stringer so the glass could be left unobstructed without bolts added. The glass was laminated to eliminate the need for a handrail. Finally, the cladding went on the adjoining wall to cover the stringer.


Jason had managed to achieve his objective of a truly floating staircase with no visible steel stringer or glass bolts. But the staircase isn’t the only floating architectural piece in the home. It shares the limelight with a floating concrete daybed on the front facade of the home.

‘We’ve been in the house 18 months now.  Not all of our visitors have loved the staircase. It’s artistic, so of course, it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I love how it has turned out.’ Jason

Commercial Application for Open Stairs

Floating stairs aren’t just for residential homes; they are perfect for commercial settings too. They fit with the colloquial American term ‘the water cooler effect’ which refers to the connections colleagues make as they move around the office. The open tread allows users to survey the floors above and below as they walk up and down the stairs. Open plan break-out and meeting areas at the end of the stairs allow for impromptu discussions and more collaboration to take place.

If you would like to talk to Jason about your residential or commercial floating staircase project, give him a call on (08) 9382 8888 or contact him online.