As promised, I found quite a few interesting applications during our stay at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, which I will post here in the next few weeks. I also received some reader photos in response to my plea for help in keeping this site supplied with posts that weren’t too time-consuming for me while my daughter recovered from her surgery. Thank you for the photos, as well as the emails to check on her progress. We were able to go home on Friday as planned, and she’s running around like nothing happened.
Before we left the hospital we had some time to kill while waiting for lab results, and one of the nurses told us about their healing garden, which is on the 7th floor of the hospital. In addition to being an absolutely gorgeous space, it’s an application that I’ve been meaning to post about for a while. People often ask me about egress requirements for terraces and courtyards, and the healing garden is a great illustration. I took the photo on the right from the 12th floor, to show the garden in plan. The two egress doors are not visible in plan, but the main exit is just about under where I’m standing at the bottom of the photo, and the second exit is on the left just above the straight path.
When you have an occupiable roof like this one, you have to think of it as a room, and provide egress as required for a room of the appropriate occupancy type and occupant load. In this case, the two doors swing out of the garden into the building, with hardware that allows free egress at all times. The main exit is an unequal-leaf pair, with a passage set on one leaf and one automatic flush bolt (top only) on the other leaf. There is no coordinator, but the inactive leaf has a closer that makes it so difficult to open the door that I think it’s highly unlikely that the small leaf will ever close after the large leaf. If the small leaf is needed for the occasional movement of beds into the garden, I would have probably used manual flush bolts without a closer on the small leaf. I would have probably used panic hardware on the active leaf for durability.
I wrote a post a while back regarding the requirements for roof doors, which focused on unoccupied roofs with mechanical equipment on them. The rooftop garden would be considered an occupied roof, which is covered in the 2009 IBC in paragraph 1021.1: “… For the purposes of this chapter, occupied roofs shall be provided with exits as required for stories.” There’s another terrace application that falls somewhere between these two applications – a small terrace that is not typically occupied by the general public, where access to the terrace is controlled. For example, I recently worked on a project that had small terraces connected to office space, and I have also seen them on a classroom building, and a museum.
These small terraces, particularly when they are located on a lower floor, can create a security problem if free egress is provided from the terrace into the building. On a classroom building, a second-floor terrace with an unlocked door to the corridor could be pretty tempting. Although the codes would technically require free egress from the terrace to the building, I have seen code officials allow them to be locked. When the code official gives permission to lock the doors, I typically use a double-cylinder deadlock. This allows facility staff to control when the terrace can be used, and requires someone with a key to lock the door after checking to make sure the terrace is not occupied.
Here are some more photos from the healing garden at Yale: