EVACSTAC - Safer Hi-Rise Living. 

A Prefabricated, retrofitted escape and firefighting tower built to ensure the safe evacuation of all.

EVACSTAC is an innovative collaboration between the construction industry and fire-safety experts, to improve the safety of high-rise and high-risk buildings.  Winner of an Innovate UK Government Grant for Innovation, and soon to be showcased at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh.
The inspiration for the EVACSTAC escape and firefighting tower came from Kevin Stewart. Kevin has worked in structural steel and retrofit steel structures for over 50 years. When he heard about the devastation that occurred at Grenfell in 2017, he began to research fires in high-rise buildings, and it quickly became clear to him that the main problem, apart from the issue of combustible cladding, was that many of these buildings across the UK have a single staircase. In a fire situation, these single staircases act like a chimney and become hot and full of smoke very quickly, making escape and access extremely challenging. What’s more, firefighters have to use the same staircase as residents trying to evacuate the building. He set about designing an escape and firefighting tower, and following advice from both fire safety experts and industry experts, he created the EVACSTAC tower. 
The towers are bespoke and are built to the exact fire safety requirements and specifications of each building. The towers can be built solely for escape, or for both escape and firefighting. The idea being that once evacuation is complete, firefighters have a second access into the building for rescue and firefighting. The towers are built with the sole purpose of saving lives, and are built to ensure the safe evacuation of all, regardless of their level of mobility. With an inbuilt water supply at regulation pressures for hose access at every level, the tower can also provide a sprinkler feed into the existing building at every level, without the need for core drilling.                      

What is EVACSTAC? 

EVACSTAC is an affordable, prefabricated, retrofitted escape tower, providing that vital 2nd staircase in single staircase buildings. It provides an alternative evacuation route for residents, ensuring the safe evacuation of all.

Manufactured off-site  as made to measure, stackable structural steel modules (pods), with a customisable exterior in 9mm or 11mm Premium A2 fireproof cladding, or fireproof glass options. The cladding is available in many different finishes to blend in with, and / or complement the existing building. The steel pods, including their smoke extracting access tunnels are transported to site and retrofitted to existing suitable buildings with minimal inconvenience to residents, and without the need for rehousing. 

How does it work?

 The EVACSTAC can be accessed from every floor of the existing building. The tower is accessed via a smoke extracting tunnel protected by 2 manual or automatic fire doors integrated into the buildings fire automation systems. The stairwell can also be fitted with a positive pressure ventilation system or passive louvres. Once inside the tower, residents are completely safe, and can descend the tower in safety, or if less able, can wait in safe refuge areas for rescue by emergency responders.  A lift can be incorporated into the design of the tower if required. 

 What is it designed for?

It's designed to ensure the safe evacuation of all residents from high-rise or high-risk buildings.

 In summary - it is designed to provide:-

 -       an alternative means of escape for those buildings with a single staircase,

-       access to firefighters to shorten response times by providing immediate access to 50,000 ltrs of water at every level with standard fire         service couplings
-       a lower cost method of retrofitting a sprinkler installation by avoiding the need to core drill a supply pipe vertically through the building

-       a safe refuge area for those less mobile to await rescue by emergency responders

-       a communication system to improve safety during an evacuation;

-       the ability to add a lift if required. 

-       a versatile and immediate fire-safety solution for residents, lease holders and building owners.


Is it solely designed for evacuation purposes?

 EVACSTAC is a versatile product. Following assessment of the building and consultation with fire safety experts , the tower can be built as an evacuation tower only, or as an evacuation and firefighting tower.

 A further benefit of an EVACSTAC tower, is that it is a far cheaper alternative for introducing a retrofitted sprinkler system into existing buildings, without the need for core drilling.

 What problems does EVACSTAC solve?

 Industry and fire experts have come together top make 5 key recommendations to improve the safety of high-risk buildings, these are:

-       The removal of combustible cladding and combustible insulation.

-       The greater use of sprinklers in these buildings.

-       Development of evacuation plans, including procedures for persons who are unable to use the stairs, in an emergency, and who may         require assistance.
-       The requirement that all buildings need at least 2 staircases offering an alternate meane of escape.

-       Protection of fire exit routes.

 EVACSTAC solves 4 of the 5 key issues above. It is a cheaper alternative for introducing a sprinkler system into buildings; it provides that vital second staircase, thereby allowing evacuation plans to be drawn up; It has safe refuge areas, and can incorporate a lift, for persons who require assistance, or can’t descend the stairs; and it protects fire exit routes.

It's an affordable solution for building owners, as the towers can be leased or purchased outright.

Is the product in use anywhere in the UK at present?     

We are in the process of installing our first evacuation and firefighting tower at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh.
"Installing EvacStac™ will allow the Fire Service College to train firefighters at the FSC in High Rise Firefighting tactics and help to guide policy in fighting fires where the system has been installed."

What kind of feedback has EVACSTAC received from industry professionals?

EVACSTAC has been designed after close consultation with fire safety experts, industry experts, as well as engineers and architects. We are also in consultation with insurance bodies to see how the installation of an EVACSTAC tower can help with the soaring insurance costs of high-risk buildings, thereby helping both home owners and building owners.

Feedback to date has been extremely positive:

EVACSTAC is ‘a highly innovative and flexible solution to these challenges in single staircase high rise buildings’

Bernie Higgins (Director of the FIA)


EVACSTAC is ‘a simple solution to a rather complex situation’



EVACSTAC, ‘it’s primary and strategic aim is to resolve the ‘no alternative means of escape’ issue on thousands of UK residential buildings’

Paul Bussey (Member of the RIBA Expert advisory group on Fire and FI Fire E, FASFP)


C/O Sobell Rhodes Llp
The Kinetic Centre
Theobald Street
Elstree, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


EVACSTAC where at stand FI.2025 on the 16-18 May 2023 at the ExCeL London where the co-located IFSEC, FIREX, Facilities Show and Safety & Health Expo events took place!

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