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Answers to your door, hardware, and code questions from Allegion's Lori Greene.
Feb 10 2016
I’m Wordless about today’s photo, sent in by Paul Goldense of Goldense Building Products. But on another topic…please help with yesterday’s WWYD? post if you can.
I’m still burning wood for house heat. I’ll take them.
I don’t know what you’re complaining about – the fire alarm pull is inches away!
I’d call you, Lori, and let you tell me what to put there.
Pull the fire alarm which was thoughtfully placed next to the door. Stay around and explain why when the fire department arrives.
Given the limited view of the store we have this may be a violation.
Then again it could be an unneeded door that could be made less appealing if disabled property.
Here in Massachusetts, a business or mercantile occupancy, among others with a total occupant load of less than 50 does not require outswing doors, nor 2 exits for the space.
If this was a strip mall with now joint units with less than 5000 sf the second exit would not be required, likewise if it was a convenience store with less than 3000 sf the second exit would not be required.
Now if the door looks like a door, quacks like a door, then it is probably a door. My suggestion to the owner would be to remove the hardware the exit sign if there is one above the door and permanently secure the opening closed. In essence we now have a fixed panel of glass.
I agree with you. Just curious…as a building official, would you require signage that said “not an exit” if this door was deactivated? And would you require the panic hardware to be removed? This looks way too much like an egress door to me. Does the fire alarm pull station give us any clue as to whether it is a required exit or not?
Big Green Eggs are great! Blocked emergency exits, not so much.
More than likely it is a “marked” exit.
If marked it is a violation.
Question would be is it required.
If not required, I would not require any additional signage. Yes a pull station is required at all exits, there are exceptions.
Even though there is no snow on the ground, appears a seasonal problem.
Has to be an exit store logo on the mat!
Even if it is not a required exit, even with a sign saying NOT AN EXIT. If someone yells fire or GOD forbid some other Emergency, a door screams out exit here, and an exit device it is screaming louder.
I would regard something which looks like an operable egress door but can’t be opened to be a hazard, but assume the door isn’t required for egress I wouldn’t see a problem here. Someone with enough agility to get over the obstacles could use the door in case of emergency, while the most natural reaction of someone whose agility would not allow them to easily use the door would be to look for another exit (like the one that’s probably about 15 feet to the left).
A double-sided sign saying “Please use other door” with an arrow pointing to the main entrance would seem like a good idea, but I don’t see how pressuring the business into concealing the door would make anyone any safer. Can you identify there any instances where people have come to harm as a result of situations like the one pictured, in cases where patrons to the business would have entered via another door that’s less than 20 feet away?
Lori and all,
As a building official I try and work with the customers to get a code compliant solution.
While egress issues are a huge life safety concern a problem must be taken in context.
While the door in the context of this photo is a violation and should be treated as a blocked exit, the store may be below the threshold for needing 2 exits, or there may be a second code compliant door, possible to the rear of the building helping with the remoteness requirement.
If this door was truly unneeded, my suggestion to the owner would be to remove the exit sign over the door if there is one, remove the hardware both internally and externally, then secure what I would consider a swinging window panel in way that did not suggest this is a door.
The fire alarm could stay as I my estimation they are not indicator of exits, last no marking would be necessary on the now fixed panel stating it is not an exit.
While I would certainly agree that an exit sign over the door should be covered by a sign pointing to the proper exit, removing the hardware from the door would be more expensive than simply adding signage, and would also necessitate the additional expense of reinstalling the hardware if and when it becomes necessary to use the door again.
If I read stories in the news of people who injured themselves trying to use an obstructed exit despite a conspicuous sign pointing to another unobstructed exit which was clearly visible 20 feet away, then I could see some advantage to taking the step of removing the hardware rather than merely adding signage, but are you aware of *any* evidence that would suggest that merely fashioning a couple signs out of cardboard and fastening them with tape would not be a sufficient solution?
Yes I see it every day, people don’t read. I have answers for many question listed in handouts and inspection check list,, the still ask rather than red the material..
My town hall has been closed on Friday afternoon for over 15 years, and all day Friday for 1/2, I see people pull up to the building, no cars around, go up to the door pull on it look at the hours of operations signs then go to the next 2 doors to see if another is open.
last if it looks like a door, that means having hardware on it, people will try to use it as a door.
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