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2 exits required.....what about the exit discharge?

Robert

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Hello. I have designed 2 exits from the first story of a commercial space (separated per code). The floor is one story above grade (basement below). Once out of either of the exits, you are now on a wood deck and part of the exit discharge. You are directed toward one exterior exit stair that leads down to a public way. Am I allowed to converge the 2 exits path of travel into that one exit stair? In other words, if I need 2 exits from a floor, do I also need 2 separated exit discharge paths? Something similar to monumental steps in front of a courthouse....you've gotten them out of the floor safely but they still have to get to a public way. If my exit stair was to catch fire, the occupants have no way down to the public way, which is why I think I need to have a second path to a public way. Thanks.
 

cda

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So what type of occpancy??

Sq Ft of the deck?

What is the deck used for??

How do people get in in the first place??? Same way as they get out?
 

mtlogcabin

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Using the definition of "Exit" I do not believe you can converge the two since your doors are not located on the "level of exit discharge"

[BE] EXIT. That portion of a means of egress system between the exit access and the exit discharge or public way. Exit components include exterior exit doors at the level of exit discharge, interior exit stairways and ramps, exit passageways, exterior exit stairways and ramps and horizontal exits.

[BE] EXIT DISCHARGE. That portion of a means of egress system between the termination of an exit and a public way.

[BE] EXIT DISCHARGE, LEVEL OF. The story at the point at which an exit terminates and an exit discharge begins.
 

RLGA

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The level of exit discharge is the story at which an exit terminates and the exit discharge begins. Thus, the story in which the occupants leave the building is the level of exit discharge, even though it is above the grade plane.

There is no requirement that stipulates the exit discharge paths cannot converge--the only requirement is that the width or capacity of the exit discharge "shall not be less than the minimum width or required capacity of the exits being served" (Section 1028.2). Notice that the emphasized "exits" is plural.
 

Tim Mailloux

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What is the construction type of the building?
I'm assuming you want to know if the building is type 1 if type 2 construction, if so can you even have a wood deck.

This is getting into semantics, but if the wood deck is structurally connected to and support by the building structure, have you actually exited the building if your on the deck? If there is a structural failure of the building due to fire wont the deck collapse with it?
 

RLGA

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I'm assuming you want to know if the building is type 1 if type 2 construction, if so can you even have a wood deck.

This is getting into semantics, but if the wood deck is structurally connected to and support by the building structure, have you actually exited the building if your on the deck? If there is a structural failure of the building due to fire wont the deck collapse with it?
The exit terminates at the exterior door on the level of exit discharge. The exit discharge is not required to be at grade but is required to "provide a direct path of egress travel to grade" (IBC Section 1028.1).

Stairs are required to be "built of materials consistent with the types permitted for the type of construction" (IBC Section 1011.7). The deck, in essence, is an enlarged landing and would, therefore, be required to be constructed of materials as required by the stairs, whether or not it is structurally supported by or connected to the building.
 

Robert

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The level of exit discharge is the story at which an exit terminates and the exit discharge begins. Thus, the story in which the occupants leave the building is the level of exit discharge, even though it is above the grade plane.

There is no requirement that stipulates the exit discharge paths cannot converge--the only requirement is that the width or capacity of the exit discharge "shall not be less than the minimum width or required capacity of the exits being served" (Section 1028.2). Notice that the emphasized "exits" is plural.
Thanks Ron. This is interesting and is why I posted. It sounds like if I have complied with the number of exits from a floor, that they can ultimately converge into a single path or exit stair to a public way....even if if that path is starting several floors above grade and the width accommodates all occupants. It seems like a weak link in the code....if I exaggerate this (say 3 exits from a floor), they could all end up bottlenecked in a single exit discharge....and if that discharge becomes unpassable in a fire, everyone is out of luck exiting. Maybe not best practice, but it sounds like it is allowed.

This is a type VA building. I actually have a main entrance/exit that is accessible, and has its own exit discharge, but the owner wants to add a sliding interior partition (for assembly purposes several times a year) which will eliminate that as an exit.
 

cda

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Thanks Ron. This is interesting and is why I posted. It sounds like if I have complied with the number of exits from a floor, that they can ultimately converge into a single path or exit stair to a public way....even if if that path is starting several floors above grade and the width accommodates all occupants. It seems like a weak link in the code....if I exaggerate this (say 3 exits from a floor), they could all end up bottlenecked in a single exit discharge....and if that discharge becomes unpassable in a fire, everyone is out of luck exiting. Maybe not best practice, but it sounds like it is allowed.

This is a type VA building. I actually have a main entrance/exit that is accessible, and has its own exit discharge, but the owner wants to add a sliding interior partition (for assembly purposes several times a year) which will eliminate that as an exit.

The required width of exits is also figured In, so a large number can be accommodated


“”””but the owner wants to add a sliding interior partition (for assembly purposes several times a year) which will eliminate that as an exit.””

I am thinking not allowed. In a big way.

Would need to see floor plan
 

RLGA

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It sounds like if I have complied with the number of exits from a floor, that they can ultimately converge into a single path or exit stair to a public way....even if if that path is starting several floors above grade and the width accommodates all occupants.
Just to be clear, the exit discharge portion of a means of egress system cannot start above the level of exit discharge. Interior and exterior exit stairs and ramps must discharge at the level of exit discharge.

Also, stairs within the exit discharge are not exit stairs.
This is a type VA building. I actually have a main entrance/exit that is accessible, and has its own exit discharge, but the owner wants to add a sliding interior partition (for assembly purposes several times a year) which will eliminate that as an exit.
This may create some potential problems. If the main entrance is the accessible entrance, how do persons with disabilities access the portion of the building that is partitioned off? Also, if a floor is required to have two or more exits, then at least two accessible means of egress must be provided. If the main entrance is one of the accessible means of egress and a portion of the building is prevented from using that as an accessible means of egress, then the other two exits must also be accessible means of egress. Further, does the portion of the building with access to the main entrance have a second means of egress and a second accessible means of egress?
 

Glenn

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Take a peek at 1021 for egress balconies. If not separated from the inside with corridor protection, you'll need two stairways. I think this section is speaking to this issue. It asks for fire protection of the exterior balcony (deck) or it asks for two stairways to get people out faster. Of course, 1021 is not intended for outdoor spaces with habitable type use (occupancy). It's really speaking more to a exterior corridor for human movement only.

Not seeing the plan, maybe this "deck" is more than just an egress feature. The building official may then look to 1004.7 where it requires "similar outdoor areas" to be provided a "means of egress". That means all three components. So, as mentioned by folks previously, do you need to consider the occupant load of the deck as a space and then evaluate the exits requirements from that space.

This is why plan review includes plans, ha, ha! Good discussion topic, though.
 
Last edited:

Robert

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Pinole, CA
Just to be clear, the exit discharge portion of a means of egress system cannot start above the level of exit discharge. Interior and exterior exit stairs and ramps must discharge at the level of exit discharge.

Also, stairs within the exit discharge are not exit stairs.

This may create some potential problems. If the main entrance is the accessible entrance, how do persons with disabilities access the portion of the building that is partitioned off? Also, if a floor is required to have two or more exits, then at least two accessible means of egress must be provided. If the main entrance is one of the accessible means of egress and a portion of the building is prevented from using that as an accessible means of egress, then the other two exits must also be accessible means of egress. Further, does the portion of the building with access to the main entrance have a second means of egress and a second accessible means of egress?
ah ok....I misunderstood your post #8. If I am on the second floor and exit that floor, that is not called the exit discharge until I am on the floor that discharges directly to grade. Do I have that right? They would be using exterior open air wood stairs to get to grade. Going back to my original question, can multiple exits (once outside the building) be funneled into one exterior open air stair tower to get to the level of discharge below, as long as the width accommodates? Or does 2 required exits at this floor mean 2 separate paths down to the floor below where the discharge begins?

I didn't realize I need 2 accessible means of egress. The existing building only had 1 accessible means of egress on this floor. The other egress was onto a wood deck that used exterior stairs to grade, similar to what I am proposing. This is an existing building....90% fire damaged...gutted, and we are rebuilding on approximately the same footprint, so it may be considered new by the time we get to permit drawings. We are also adding some square footage.

I'm still noodling the design with exiting through an accessory space for the accessible egress during the times we use the sliding partition. If I can make this work, the space that is partitioned off with the sliding doors will have 3 exits even though only 2 are required (but only one exit is accessible).

Glenn, yes the deck will have OL to it and has a covered roof over part of it. The stairs are off of the deck. The OL of the level I've been referring to requires 2 exits (including the deck OL). The OL of the deck by itself only requires one exit. I have 3 exits from this level but one will be eliminated if we use the interior sliding partition. The deck itself only has one exit, which is the exterior stairs down to the level of discharge.

Thanks for your input...as usual one question prompts many.
 

cda

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ah ok....I misunderstood your post #8. If I am on the second floor and exit that floor, that is not called the exit discharge until I am on the floor that discharges directly to grade. Do I have that right? They would be using exterior open air wood stairs to get to grade. Going back to my original question, can multiple exits (once outside the building) be funneled into one exterior open air stair tower to get to the level of discharge below, as long as the width accommodates? Or does 2 required exits at this floor mean 2 separate paths down to the floor below where the discharge begins?

I didn't realize I need 2 accessible means of egress. The existing building only had 1 accessible means of egress on this floor. The other egress was onto a wood deck that used exterior stairs to grade, similar to what I am proposing. This is an existing building....90% fire damaged...gutted, and we are rebuilding on approximately the same footprint, so it may be considered new by the time we get to permit drawings. We are also adding some square footage.

I'm still noodling the design with exiting through an accessory space for the accessible egress during the times we use the sliding partition. If I can make this work, the space that is partitioned off with the sliding doors will have 3 exits even though only 2 are required (but only one exit is accessible).

Glenn, yes the deck will have OL to it and has a covered roof over part of it. The stairs are off of the deck. The OL of the level I've been referring to requires 2 exits (including the deck OL). The OL of the deck by itself only requires one exit. I have 3 exits from this level but one will be eliminated if we use the interior sliding partition. The deck itself only has one exit, which is the exterior stairs down to the level of discharge.

Thanks for your input...as usual one question prompts many.

I am still thinking partition will not work.

Would have to see floor plan to say No
 

RLGA

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If I am on the second floor and exit that floor, that is not called the exit discharge until I am on the floor that discharges directly to grade. Do I have that right?
Yes.
Going back to my original question, can multiple exits (once outside the building) be funneled into one exterior open air stair tower to get to the level of discharge below, as long as the width accommodates? Or does 2 required exits at this floor mean 2 separate paths down to the floor below where the discharge begins?
Two separate paths down to the level of exit discharge.
I didn't realize I need 2 accessible means of egress. The existing building only had 1 accessible means of egress on this floor. The other egress was onto a wood deck that used exterior stairs to grade, similar to what I am proposing.
For the second accessible means of egress, if it does not provide an accessible route to a public way, it will need to provide an exterior area for assisted rescue per IBC Section 1009.7.
...the deck will have OL to it and has a covered roof over part of it. The stairs are off of the deck. The OL of the level I've been referring to requires 2 exits (including the deck OL). The OL of the deck by itself only requires one exit. I have 3 exits from this level but one will be eliminated if we use the interior sliding partition. The deck itself only has one exit, which is the exterior stairs down to the level of discharge.
If it is covered, then it is likely not part of the exit discharge, yet, since the exit discharge must be "sufficiently open to the exterior so as to minimize the accumulation of smoke and toxic gases" (IBC Section 1028.3). Depending on how the covered roof is designed, it will not "minimize" the accumulation of smoke and toxic gases.

Further, it appears that this deck is more than just a pathway and will be used for outdoor gatherings, thus it must comply with IBC Section 1004.7 for outdoor areas, which means the occupant load from the inside will be cumulative to the occupant load on the outside (IBC Section 1004.2). Thus, the exterior deck area will need two means of egress, and another set of steps will be required.
 

ADAguy

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Just to be clear, the exit discharge portion of a means of egress system cannot start above the level of exit discharge. Interior and exterior exit stairs and ramps must discharge at the level of exit discharge.

Also, stairs within the exit discharge are not exit stairs.

This may create some potential problems. If the main entrance is the accessible entrance, how do persons with disabilities access the portion of the building that is partitioned off? Also, if a floor is required to have two or more exits, then at least two accessible means of egress must be provided. If the main entrance is one of the accessible means of egress and a portion of the building is prevented from using that as an accessible means of egress, then the other two exits must also be accessible means of egress. Further, does the portion of the building with access to the main entrance have a second means of egress and a second accessible means of egress?

Thank you for pointing this out "R", also note that the discharge to the public way must be accessible or to a an rear of refuge.
 

Robert

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Yes.

Two separate paths down to the level of exit discharge.

For the second accessible means of egress, if it does not provide an accessible route to a public way, it will need to provide an exterior area for assisted rescue per IBC Section 1009.7.

If it is covered, then it is likely not part of the exit discharge, yet, since the exit discharge must be "sufficiently open to the exterior so as to minimize the accumulation of smoke and toxic gases" (IBC Section 1028.3). Depending on how the covered roof is designed, it will not "minimize" the accumulation of smoke and toxic gases.

Further, it appears that this deck is more than just a pathway and will be used for outdoor gatherings, thus it must comply with IBC Section 1004.7 for outdoor areas, which means the occupant load from the inside will be cumulative to the occupant load on the outside (IBC Section 1004.2). Thus, the exterior deck area will need two means of egress, and another set of steps will be required.
Yes, the deck will have a cumulative OL, and now that I know I need 2 SEPARATE paths to level of discharge, that will force me to provide a second egress from the deck. This has been very informative, thanks everyone for your input.
 
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