In past posts I’ve written about minimum clear width of egress doors, and minimum height. I’ve also mentioned that construction labels may be allowed by the code official, for fire doors that are larger than what has been tested. But what about the maximum width of an egress door?
I remember learning about an NFPA 101 requirement limiting the door leaf width to 48 inches, but the requirement is no longer included in NFPA 101 (get ready, I’m about to date myself). According to the 2009 NFPA 101 Handbook, “Note that, since the 1997 edition, the Code no longer restricts door leaf width to a maximum of 48 inches. Provided that the door leaf and its hardware are maintained in good working order, there is insufficient reason to limit the maximum width of a door leaf.” 1997? I guess it took me a while to go looking for it again after attending hardware school in the late 80′s and early 90′s.
But the International Building Code (IBC) still includes this limitation. From the 2012 edition:
1008.1.1 Size of doors. The minimum width of each door opening shall be sufficient for the occupant load thereof and shall provide a clear width of 32 inches (813 mm). Clear openings of doorways with swinging doors shall be measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). Where this section requires a minimum clear width of 32 inches (813 mm) and a door opening includes two door leaves without a mullion, one leaf shall provide a clear opening width of 32 inches (813 mm). The maximum width of a swinging door leaf shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) nominal. Means of egress doors in a Group I-2 occupancy used for the movement of beds shall provide a clear width not less than 411/2 inches (1054 mm). The height of door openings shall not be less than 80 inches (2032 mm). [Consult the IBC for 8 exceptions related to door size.]
Over the years I’ve had quite a few requests for oversized swinging doors in the means of egress. If the door is not a required egress door, and is not intended for entrance and egress, the IBC limitation may not apply. Many code officials require “extra” doors provided in excess of the required number of egress doors to comply with the IBC requirements, so when in doubt, contact your local code official.
Photo: Giant Door at Big Monster Toys, Chicago - via Seth Anderson on Flickr