To anyone who complained about the lack of a Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, it was there!  I just posted the draft script afterward so it showed up on top of the WW post in the email notification.  If you missed it, consider this Tight-Lipped Thursday.  🙂

John Gant of Allegion sent me a very interesting question this morning (well, it was interesting to me anyway!).  This photo was taken at a new athletic center in Vermont.  The kick plates have luminous “EXIT” signage on them, and John was told that this was a code requirement.

Exit Kick Plates

Should we be specifying and supplying kick plates with a luminous “EXIT” on them?  I tried to find out.

The 2012 Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code is based on the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code and the 2012 edition of the International Building Code (IBC), along with state modifications.  I checked the Vermont modifications first and didn’t see anything that would require this signage, so this doesn’t appear to be a Vermont-specific issue.

The 2012 edition of NFPA 101 does include a section ( requiring emergency exit symbols applied within the bottom 18 inches of the door, but this is part of section Exit Stair Path Markings.  Doors are only required to comply with this section when they are part of the means of egress out of an exit enclosure, and only when required by the occupancy chapters.  In the 2012 edition, I don’t see any references in the occupancy chapters that would require these markings, and if they were required, there are additional markings that would be required – like the stripe around the frame and the markings on the operable hardware (there’s an article about luminous egress path markings here).

The 2012 IBC (section 1024) requires luminous egress path markings (including an EXIT symbol in the bottom 18 inches of the door) in high-rise buildings in Group A, B, E, I, M, and R-1, but this only applies to interior exit stairways, interior exit ramps and exit passageways, and again – other markings would be required – not just the EXIT symbol.

Then I thought maybe it had something to do with the requirements for floor proximity exit signage – I’ve seen these EXIT kick plates on some hotels lately.

The 2012 IBC (1011.2) requires low-level exit signs where exit signs are required in areas serving guest rooms in Group R-1 occupancies, which covers hotels, motels, boarding houses (>10 occupants), and congregate living facilities (>10 occupants), so that requirement would not apply to the athletic facility.  Do keep it in mind for your R-1 projects though.

I checked the 2012 edition of NFPA 101, and found this paragraph:* Floor Proximity Exit Signs. Where floor proximity exit signs are required in Chapters 11 through 43, such signs shall comply with 7.10.3, 7.10.4, 7.10.5, and 7.10.6 for externally illuminated signs and 7.10.7 for internally illuminated signs. Such signs shall be located near the floor level in addition to those signs required for doors or corridors. The bottom of the sign shall be not less than 6 in. (150 mm), but not more than 18 in. (455 mm), above the floor. For exit doors, the sign shall be mounted on the door or adjacent to the door, with the nearest edge of the sign within 4 in. (100 mm) of the door frame.

This paragraph does not apply unless an occupancy chapter references it, and the only references I found were in the Assembly occupancy chapters, and only required for special amusement buildings – like haunted houses and laser tag facilities ( – not all Assembly occupancies.  John sent me the photo below of another bank of doors serving this space.  The illuminated exit sign was installed beside these doors, but wouldn’t work well for the aluminum storefront doors.

So our question remains…Is there a code requirement for kick plates marked “EXIT” on an athletic facility?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Bank of Doors


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