I just love when I receive a photo that gives me the opportunity to explain something from a different angle, and today’s Wordless Wednesday photo from Marc Zolner of Allegion is a great example.

First, check out the photo:

Blocked emergency exit

Marc confirmed that this door serves an enclosed courtyard at a concert venue.  There is an exit sign on the courtyard side of the door, and it looks like the doors have panic hardware.  From these clues, along with the signage, I would make the educated guess that the doors are part of the required means of egress from the courtyard.

Someone went to a fair amount of effort to secure these doors using the pipe, brackets, and clamps, preventing egress from the courtyard.  Although we can’t tell if there is another exit serving that exterior space, the fact that this door seems to have an exit sign tells me that the pipe is a problem.  Maybe the AHJ approved the use of this security method during the winter months when the courtyard is “closed”, but these types of devices often end up installed 24/7/365.

So what’s the correct way to secure a courtyard or other exterior area, where the path of egress leads through the building?  This is an obvious security problem for many facilities, and in the past, the model codes did not include a way to secure the doors in the direction of egress.  In many cases, an exit alarm would be the most restrictive code-compliant method.

The good news is that a new section addressing these doors was added to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC), and the requirements have been carried forward into the 2024 edition.  You can read all about the change in this Decoded article.

Any questions?

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