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# Accessible Means of Egress

BulgarBlogger

Scenario: TWO means of egress are determined to be required from a TWO-story building that is fully-sprinklered. The existing stairs cannot be widened to serve as accessible means of egress and there is no room for an Area of Refuge within the two required stairwells. The Owner requested that an elevator be installed, and this elevator will be used as an accessible means of egress. The code states that where more than one means of egress is required, accessible means of egress shall be provided in the same quantity as the number of required exits.

My question:

1a) Per the above scenario, if I want to use an elevator as an accessible means of egress, and two accessible means of egress are required because TWO exits are required, then do I need to provide TWO elevators?

1b) If I provide two elevators, what is the travel distance requirement to those elevators with the understanding that I would meet the travel distance requirement for the two required stairs.

Janosh

It's an existing building? Look hard at the exceptions.

BulgarBlogger

I was thinking about an existing building, BUT this accessible means of egress (M.O.E). requirement also applies to new buildings that I am designing.

t a z

I don't know the answer but have questions!

How many existing stairwells?

BulgarBlogger

two

Interesting question!

I charge \$155 an hour for code assistance.  ;)

Seriously though, what section(s) of what code(s) state:  " The code states that where more than one means of egress is required, accessible means of egress shall be provided in the same quantity as the number of required exits."

BulgarBlogger

See below

BulgarBlogger

That's what I thought.

You could have an existing stair be one of the accessible means of egress if it has a 48" clear width between handrails (sec 1009.3.2). Since your building is sprinkled, you don't need an area of refuge.

You can also look into the IEBC and depending on your level of work your existing stairs don't have to meet sec 1009.3.2. You could also use the Performance Method in the IEBC and not make any of the existing or new stairs accessible IF you have the points.

That will be \$25 please.  ;)

BulgarBlogger

What about new buildings? In any case, if widening the stairs isn't an option, then do I need two elevators? If so, is there a requirement for how far away they must be spaced?

Didn't you once say you were a code 'expert' ;)

Speaking from a pure literal interpretation of the IBC:

Regardless, you should increase the width of the stairs or create an area of refuge in your new building. If not, you'd need two ADA compliant elevators. The locations of the exits must meet the exit distance requirements.

In this situation I would work with the AHJ to create a design that would meet the intent of the code without having to meet the literal requirements.

BulgarBlogger

Chad, I am. BUT, I couldn't find an answer on this ANYWHERE. Before I make the owner put-in two elevators, I wanted to see if I wasn't missing anything obvious.

If you say so.

On a related note: You started with an existing building and have now moved onto a new building. I assume the new building was just a hypothetical?

BulgarBlogger

i'm currently working on an existing building, BUT as I mentioned in one of my comments above, I am also curious about new builds. Designing a few multifamily buildings at the moment.

BulgarBlogger

Chad- I figured it out. If an elevator is used as a means of egress, one elevator and one stair will count toward the accessible means of egress egress requirement. The other required stair would just satisfy the exit requirements.

Correct BB.

Not to be snarky but this is rather common knowledge. How can you be a 'code expert' and know know this?

In addition - if an elevator isn't required then each stair can be considered an accessible means of egress. Yes, you can have a two story building without an elevator and still meet accessibility. The area of the second floor is limited to 3,000 sf or less though. I personally would never do this but it is allowed.

Finally - if you're doing multi story, multi family then you're going to be dealing with type A and B units.  FYI:  the IBC only references the ICC A117.1 for accessibility.  The IBC does not follow ADA.  The two are very similar but the ICC A117.1 is more stringent in their requirements for type A and B units.

BulgarBlogger

Chad: not to be snarky, but codes are interpretative. There are reasons for why people have ICC subscriptions that they can use to obtain a code interpretations on. The more angles you look at things from, the better even if you feel confident in a certain interpretation- yeah? Fearing appearing foolish for asking questions means putting ego in-front of getting to “truth”.

True. However, your question is very basic stuff with extremely limited interpretations. No shame in asking for help on it.

graphemic

Chad, FYI I think the 48" clear is not required with sprinklers. At least in CA.

natematt

^Came here to say this. Having a fully-sprinklered building should exempt the stairs from requiring the 48” between rails (

1009.3.2 exception 1)  AND the area of refuge (

1009.3.3 exception 2), so it’s hard for me to imagine that the existing stairs will fail to meet the accessible egress requirements but somehow meet the base egress requirements.

Good catch graphemic and natematt!  I forgot to add the width exception.  ::doh::  I must of been surprised that BB doesn't know any of this yet he claims to be a 'code expert'.  I myself am no code expert so I'll make mistakes like this.  ;)

BulgarBlogger

Screenshot from the California Building Code as well:

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