In the Good Old Days when I was a more frequent nightclub visitor, I remember trying to exit through a club’s main entrance at closing time and encountering a locked door. The manager had locked the door to prevent more people from coming in. The vestibule was dark, and the dark bronze storefront door had an Adams Rite deadlatch with a dark bronze lever. The lever was completely invisible and people started to gather behind me. If it had been a panic situation there could have been tragic consequences.
Due to the tragedies at the Station Night Club and other nightclubs around the world, there is renewed focus on nightclub safety. The 7th edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code contains some new requirements for the entrance doors on nightclubs with an occupant load of 50 people or more:
- The main entrance door must be at least 72″ wide (nominal) or larger as required.
- The doors shall be a pair of side-hinged swinging doors without a mullion.
- The doors shall be equipped with panic hardware.
Here’s the language from the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR):
1024.1.1 Night Clubs (A-2nc) Required Means of Egress Requirements. For buildings or portions thereof that are classified as A-2nc use and which have an occupant load of 50 or greater, the main entrance egress system shall be sized such that the width of all required means of egress elements is 72 inches (nominal) or otherwise such main entrance egress system shall be sized in accordance with the applicable portions of 780 CMR 10.00, whichever criteria results in the larger required means of egress system but in no case shall the main entrance egress system be less than 72 inches in nominal width, including the main entrance /exit door system and the main entrance/ exit door system shall consist of a pair of side-hinged swinging type doors without a center mullion and shall be equipped with panic hardware.