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Jul 02 2015

FF: Blocked Exits? Or Not?

Category: Egress,Fixed-it FridayLori @ 1:16 pm Comments (3)

Duct TapeI know it’s not Friday but since tomorrow’s a holiday I’m publishing a bonus Fixed-it Friday post.

Tracy Wolinski of Safe Check sent me these photos of some doors blocked with carts, and another one where duct tape was used in an attempt to solve an ant problem.

The first response might be – there’s no exit sign, so no problem, right?  Wrong!  While I can’t say for sure that these particular doors are egress doors, using the presence of exit signs to determine whether the door is in a required means of egress is not a reliable plan.  If a door has an exit sign, it needs to meet the egress requirements.  And even if it doesn’t have an exit sign there’s a good possibility that it has to meet those same requirements for free egress.

In general, the International Building Code (IBC) requires exits and exit access doors to be marked with a readily visible exit sign, and the path of egress travel must be marked with signage when the exit or path is not immediately visible to occupants.  Intervening egress doors must also be marked.

BUT – there are exceptions:

  • If a room is only required to have one exit or exit access (this covers A LOT of rooms), exit signs are not required.
  • Clearly identifiable main exterior doors or gates are not required to have exit signs if approved by the AHJ.
  • Occupancies in Group U (Utility and Miscellaneous), and residential dwelling units are not required to have exit signs.
  • In Group I-3 (detention and correctional facilities), exit signs are not required in dayrooms, sleeping rooms, or dormitories.
  • Vomitories (passages in a theater) are not required to have exit signs on the seating side or where openings are readily apparent.

Clearly, there are LOTS of egress doors that do not have exit signs.  And here’s one more thing to consider…even if a door is not a required means of egress, the IBC still requires those doors, if provided for egress purposes, to meet the IBC requirements.  So if you had a bank of doors and only 1 was required to meet the egress capacity, the others would still have to be compliant if they are used for egress.

Here’s that paragraph from the 2015 IBC:

1010.1 Doors. Means of egress doors shall meet the requirements of this section. Doors serving a means of egress system shall meet the requirements of this section and Section 1022.2. Doors provided for egress purposes in numbers greater than required by this code shall meet the requirements of this section.

Cart  Carts

Y’all have anything to add?

3 Responses to “FF: Blocked Exits? Or Not?”

  1. Robert says:

    well the door looks like its just got weather strip done by duck tape Inc.
    funny as its shows in picx that it opens in or was the picx from the outside view. no problem as opens easy from inside with sharp blade like a panic sharp hardware knife and good light so not to damage the nice door finish as that’s code. It has 90 minute fire rate with good weather strip? ok ok just good winterize for energy saving.
    can I have another guess?

  2. Robert says:

    The other doors have reports put on the shelve for now
    get back to you later?
    Yes it happens even in Canada too as its amazing how it just happens to cover the exits as they need the room.

  3. Michael Pedersen says:

    Pro tip for ant problems: 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol from Walgreens. It kills ants, and dissolves the pheromone trails they leave for other ants to follow. Just fill up a spray bottle with the stuff and douse the whole ant parade, backtracking all the way to their ingress point, then drench that area. Spray all around the door/window frame they’re coming through. It’s worked for me when I’ve had ant problems, and saved having to pay an exterminator.

    Using duct tape, in addition to being a FF-worthy egress issue, is also ineffective and dumb.

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