Fire Escapes

Ensuring safety with Fire Escape Repairs and Load Testing

Delta Delta Delta Sorority gathered to take a photo with all 40 ladies on their fire escape in 2010. Bolts pulled out of a rotten wall, and the fire escape lurched downward. Fortunately, no one was hurt. After this, the Corvallis Fire Department enforced load testing and inspection of every fire escape in Corvallis on a five-year cycle. As a result, G. Christianson has become the local go-to for fire escape load testing services, and can provide any repair work that is discovered during the fire escape load test. We can also remove and replace your fire escape with a completely new stair tower to eliminate the need for frequent load testing, ensuring safe and durable emergency exits for years to come.

“Since 2011, we've committed ourselves to become experts in removing, repairing, load testing, and replacing fire escapes around OSU and Corvallis. Please call us for advice on what is right for your fire escape. ”

Carl Christianson, Owner

Project Details

Load Testing Fire Escapes

When a full replacement isn't practical or within your budget, we provide load testing services to prove that your fire escape will hold code-required weight. Each escape is unique. Our Structural Engineer calculates the capacity of your fire escape and then creates specific load testing plans when there are concerns. We often load test with water barrels, winches, and load cells. We always take steps to prevent a catastrophic collapse during testing. After the test, all areas of concern are fixed, such as reinforcing sagging beams and platforms by adding posts. A Fire Escape load test should occur every 5 years.

Corvallis Fire Department Inspection Requirements »

Replacing Fire Escapes with Stair Towers

The narrow platforms, short handrails and steep ladders on nearly 100-year-old fire escapes are no longer allowed in Oregon State Building Code. We highly recommend replacing your fire escape with a new structural steel stair tower to create a safe escape route from your building. The first step is determining if a stair tower is practical and within your budget. Then we hire a Structural Engineer to design a safe stair tower. Then we provide a fixed price contract to build it. Our team includes certified welders, concrete masons, carpenters, and painters to build it. A new stair tower eliminates the ongoing cost of load testing and structural engineer inspections.

Fire Escape Repairs

Most fire escapes were built close to 100 years ago using rules of thumb, but had no structural engineering. These platforms can be unsafe. We often find they are only attached with a simple bolt through a small piece of wood nailed between studs at a few spots - not nearly adequate for the weight of people escaping a fire. We hire an experienced licensed Structural Engineer to calculate exactly how to repair your escape to make it safe, and then weld or bolt-on new structural steel to fix your fire escape. We work closely with the City of Corvallis Fire Department to ensure the escapes will function in an emergency and their repairs are documented.

Fire Escape Industrial Painting

We subcontract to an industrial painting company to fix the painting on fire escapes. They have decades of experience working on large steel structures in industrial mills. They grind all of the loose paint and rust off of your fire escape, then prime and paint with Industrial-grade, direct-to-metal alkyd enamel for the best protection.

What our Clients are Saying

“If you are like the majority of Americans you want to continue living at home in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. Aging-in-place means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.”

National Association of Home Builders, "What is Design for Independent Living?" Article

See the Accessible Design/Aging in Place project

“They worked with our original idea & tweaked/adjusted it until we found the perfect design. Using that design, the skilled craftsmen at the GCCI cabinet shop created a stunning black walnut entertainment center. To top off our experience with GCCI, an amazing installation crew spent four days in our home as they expertly finished our unit. All 3 men who made up the installation crew treated our home as if it were their own. Their clean up at the end of every day assured we would not be tripping over blocks of wood or spreading saw dust all over the house. A big thank you to the design team of Elizabeth & Ron, & to the construction & installation team of Dennis, Bobby & Theo. ”

Cynthia Stevenson, Corvallis, OR

See the Timeless Black Walnut Built-ins project

“We are repeat customers who demand high quality, high touch and tight timeframes of the large scale remodel projects for our Corvallis sorority. GCCI was also our go-to for the unexpected ... we received exceptional service to get the house livable in just over 2 week's time.”

Jen Humcke, Alpha Phi, Corvallis

See the Sorority Basement Remodel project
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