Less Than 90I haven’t posted for a few days because I’ve been working on my new FDAI presentation and various other things, but I’m kind of excited about this post because it answers a question that has been floating around for years.  Ok…maybe “excited” is the wrong word, but I really enjoy crossing things off the “grey list.”

The door at left is one of several exterior doors on a particular building in my town which don’t open to 90 degrees.  Every time I see them I wonder whether there are any code requirements regarding degree of opening.  I have not seen a requirement for the doors to open 90 degrees in any code, but the clear width could be an issue depending on the door size and the degree of opening.

This week, I was contacted by a local college regarding 50(!) doors on magnetic hold-opens, which didn’t open to quite 90 degrees.  The question was how to measure the clear width of the opening.  All of the various codes and standards describe measuring clear width with the door open to 90 degrees, but none of them give any other options for measurement procedures.  I spent a few hours going back and forth with someone from the ICC (International Code Council), and we finally agreed (unofficially) on the graphic below.

According to the ICC representative, if the door won’t open to 90 degrees, you need to open it to its fully-open position, and then measure the clear width at its smallest point.  He described sliding a cylinder through the opening (below the hardware) – the cylinder would need to be at least 32″ in diameter to comply with the IBC and the accessibility requirements.

If your 32″ diameter collapsible cylinder is on the fritz, a 32″ long yardstick, pivoted around the strike jamb would suffice.  If it pivots freely without hitting the door, you’ve got 32″ clear or more (Thanks Zeke!).

Refer to my follow-up post on this topic.

Here’s that graphic I mentioned above (Just to clarify…the graphic below is not meant to reflect the photo above, and the photo above is not the college application that I had the question about.):

Clear Width Measurement

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