Ellen DeGeneres cracks me up – even though she never talks about doors and I never have time to watch her show any more.  Recently, Ellen and I became Facebook friends, so I get random status updates from her show which often include videos.  I happened upon a video of when she sent one of her writers through a haunted house, and about 25 seconds into the video, I noticed a set of emergency exit doors (which have LCN 4110s and Von Duprin 99s if I’m not mistaken).  Yes, I do realize that I’m a weirdo, but you should know that by now.    

I don’t think I’ve ever written a spec for a haunted house, but since it’s Halloween I thought it would be a good time to talk about Special Amusement Buildings.  Here’s how the IBC (2009) defines them in section 411:    

“SPECIAL AMUSEMENT BUILDING. A special amusement building is any temporary or permanent building or portion thereof that is occupied for amusement, entertainment or educational purposes and that contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around or over a course in any direction so arranged that the means of egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or is intentionally confounded or is not readily available because of the nature of the attraction or mode of conveyance through the building or structure.”    

The IBC Commentary actually mentions Halloween haunted houses as an example:    

“In general, a special amusement building is a building or portion thereof in which people gather (thus, an assembly occupancy) and in which egress is either not readily apparent due to distractions, is intentionally confounded (i.e., maze) or is not readily available. The definition includes all such facilities, including portable and temporary structures. The hazard associated with such buildings is not related to the permanence or length of use; therefore, seasonal uses (such as haunted houses at Halloween) and portable uses (carnival rides) are included if they meet the criteria in the definition.”    

For special amusement buildings with an occupant load of 50 or more, the requirements for an Assembly occupancy must be met, and smaller facilities have to comply with the requirements for a Business occupancy.  If the haunted house in the video has an occupant load of more than 50 people, panic hardware is required (and is present as shown in the video).      

Here’s the text from the IBC regarding the occupancy requirements:    

 “411.1 General. Special amusement buildings having an occupant load of 50 or more shall comply with the requirements for the appropriate Group A occupancy and Sections 411.1 through 411.8. Amusement buildings having an occupant load of less than 50 shall comply with the requirements for a Group B occupancy and Sections 411.1 through 411.8. Exception: Amusement buildings or portions thereof that are without walls or a roof and constructed to prevent the accumulation of smoke.”  

If you like Ellen too, or you like watching scared people (here are some more hilarious scares), or if you just want to see the emergency exit doors, you can click the image at right to see the video.  Happy Halloween!!!      

And one more thing…I’ve noticed a few people “tweeting” about my blog posts on Twitter, so I decided it was time for me to see what it was all about.  Almost every day I see something interesting that I could share via Twitter – there’s just one problem.  I only have 2 followers and I think one was accidental.  So if you’re on Twitter, please follow me so I can talk to you!  My user name is LoriGreeneAHC, or you can click here to go to my profile.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, become a fan of this blog on Facebook, and subscribe to the blog to receive email notifications for new posts (click the link in the sidebar).  Let’s connect! 

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