I don’t work much with revolving doors, but a question came up recently from one of my coworkers:

Do revolving doors require the breakaway feature and/or adjacent swinging doors in order to facilitate egress?

The short answer is YES – BOTH the breakaway feature and adjacent swinging doors are required by to the International Building Code (IBC).  If any of you watched the documentary 6 Locked Doors that we sponsored last month, you’ll understand why the code mandates these safety measures.  During the fire at the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub which was documented in the film, the revolving door at the main entrance was a barrier to egress, and many victims were found just inside of that door.

Chapter 10 of the IBC includes a section on revolving doors, requiring them to be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and to comply with BHMA A156.27 – Standard for Power and Manual Operated Revolving Pedestrian Doors.  This standard addresses the breakout force requirements and typical breakout positions.  Both the code and the standard require an aggregate opening width in breakout mode of at least 36 inches.  The IBC also requires each revolving door to have a code-compliant side-hinged swinging door in the same wall and within 10 feet of the revolving door.  Although it’s quite common to see these swinging doors blocked to encourage use of the revolving door, that would not be code-compliant.

The IBC limits the location of a revolving door relative to stairways and escalators, sets the maximum revolutions per minute (this varies for manual vs. automatic doors), and describes the required emergency stop switch size, color, and location.  Revolving doors are not allowed by the IBC to be part of a required accessible route.

Is there anything else about revolving doors that we need to know?

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