Yesterday I posted a question about the remote unlocking of stairwell doors (please weigh in!), and today I have a follow-up question.  Neither of these questions is specifically addressed in the model codes, so I am looking for any insight or experience from the field.

Stairwell blueprint drawingAs I mentioned yesterday, the code requirements related to stairwell reentry are intended to allow building occupants to leave a stairwell if the egress route becomes compromised during a fire.  For example, if someone is evacuating from the 12th floor and reaches the 8th floor but finds it blocked by firefighters or filled with smoke, they can enter the 8th floor through a door that has been automatically unlocked.  Once on the 8th floor, they can continue evacuating via another stairwell, or wait for assistance.  The I-Codes require the remote unlocking of locked interior stairwell doors regardless of the number of floors served by the stairwell.  And just to clarify – these doors are typically locked on the stairwell side – not on the egress side of the door leading into the stairwell.

Today’s question is this:  On the ground floor of many stairwells, there is a stair discharge door as well as a door leading from the ground floor into the stair.  The stair discharge door (Door B) allows free egress to the exterior of the building.  In this situation, is the interior door that leads to the ground floor (Door A) required to be unlocked remotely on the stair side to allow reentry to the ground floor?  If this door remained locked during a fire, building occupants would continue out the discharge door, but this question is not specifically addressed in the codes.


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