Nate Denver of Allegion sent me these Fixed-it Friday photos of some very cool sliders in a hard cider brewery he visited. Beautiful doors and hard cider…two of my favorite things. But being who I am, I wondered whether the doors were code-compliant, since the model codes allow sliding doors to be used in a means of egress when the occupant load is 10 people or less. What do you think? [Spoiler Alert: What I think is down below.]
I found this photo of the brewery’s tasting room on their website (gorgeous!). Let’s assume that all of the occupiable area of the room is shown in the photo and that there isn’t another room attached. Based on the seating, it looks like the expected occupant load is less than 20 people, but the calculated occupant load is probably less. This would be a Use Group B – Business, with an occupant load factor of 150 gross square feet per person. To have an calculated occupant load of 20 people, a business occupancy would have an area of 3,000 square feet – far larger than this room.
In addition, there is a second exit that would not typically be required for this space. The swinging door would easily accommodate the occupant load of this room. You might be wondering about the fact that the second exit is an inswinging door, but the door would not be required to swing in the direction of egress because of the low occupant load.
I’m obviously not the AHJ here, but this would not keep me up at night – especially if the sliders are kept open while the room is occupied. If there was a concern about the sliders they could be treated as a security grille which would be allowed by the IBC in this situation:
1010.1.4.5 Security grilles. In Groups B, F, M and S, horizontal sliding or vertical security grilles are permitted at the main exit and shall be openable from the inside without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort during periods that the space is occupied. The grilles shall remain secured in the full-open position during the period of occupancy by the general public. Where two or more means of egress are required, not more than one-half of the exits or exit access doorways shall be equipped with horizontal sliding or vertical security grilles.