Several systems from SAYFA Group were installed at the world heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne to provide roof access and fall protection to workers during an extensive upgrade project.


One of three world heritage-listed cultural sites in Australia, the Royal Exhibition Building is over 140 years old, and serves as a proud example of outstanding design and architecture. Many renovations and refurbishments have been done during its long history to bring the grand old building back to life.

The latest $20-million upgrade aimed to re-open the Dome Promenade, a 360-degree observation deck and popular 1880s visitor attraction to the public. In keeping with the designer's vision to maintain authenticity, a new lift would be installed in the same location as the original 1888 Waygood elevator to access the dome.

This upgrade included the provision for access and fall protection to the multiple flagpoles erected on the roofs. Egress onto a newly constructed observation deck was also required, which was quite challenging since all the components would need to be craned in and constructed on-site.

Additionally, the heritage listing came with its own restrictions, limitations and regulations. It was imperative that any systems installed were as sympathetic as possible to the existing structure.

But how do you make modern day equipment blend into historic architecture?

Solution – KOMBI stairs & KATT ladders

A large vertical ladder fitted with fall arrest protection and midway rest platforms was constructed.

To minimise the visual impact on the structure, KATT modular ladders were powdercoated by SAYFA prior to installation and colour matched to perfectly blend in with the existing facade.

As the project required all the components to be craned to their location, modular lightweight components were the obvious choice. Systems had to be constructed up and over rooflines, and welding and heavy industrial machinery often required for this type of install was not practical or possible.

KOMBI's modular stairway systems were selected for their versatility. By using the unique KOMBI T-Bolt, the stairway units could be adjusted down to the minutest details in order to fit the existing building. Considering the age, this would have been extremely difficult without KOMBI's ability to be fitted ‘on the fly’.

A very successful project now sees modern and effective access and fall protection systems installed on the Royal Exhibition Building, ensuring that even historic buildings can offer fall protection and height safety to their workers without compromise.

Products installed by Height Safety Engineers at the Royal Exhibition Building included KATT modular ladder systems, KOMBI stair and platform systems, PACE600 walkway systems, and SENTRY guardrail systems.