Whenever I go back to look for a post, I’m always surprised by how much time has passed since it was written. More than 2 years ago I wrote about a change that was in progress for the International Building Code (IBC), and almost 3 years ago I published a post about changes to ICC A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities; both articles address new requirements for automatic operators at public entrances.
In the 2021 edition of the IBC, public entrances are defined as “An entrance that is not a service entrance or a restricted entrance.” The requirements for these entrances are included in Section 1105 – Accessible Entrances. This section states which entrances must be accessible, and that in addition to the types of entrances specifically referenced in the section, at least 60 percent of all public entrances must be accessible.
A new paragraph and table have been added with regard to public entrances:
1105.1.1 Automatic doors. In facilities with the occupancies and building occupant loads indicated in Table 1105.1.1, public entrances that are required to be accessible shall have one door be either a full power-operated door or a low-energy power-operated door. Where the public entrance includes a vestibule, at least one door into and one door out of the vestibule shall meet the requirements of this section.
(Note that the solid black vertical line indicates a change from the previous edition of the code.)
The intent of this change is for buildings in certain use groups (more on those here) to have automatic operators on at least one door or one set of doors (exterior and vestibule) at each public entrance that is required to be accessible. The operators can be either full power operated or low energy power operated. A power-assist operator would not meet the requirements because it only reduces the opening force, it does not open the door automatically. The requirement applies to all assembly occupancies except A-5, along with business, mercantile, and R-1 residential occupancies.
This change affects jurisdictions where the 2021 edition of the IBC is adopted. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment box and I’ll write a follow-up post.