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Existing stair in 7 story high-rise not up to code

APrince125

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Jan 22, 2021
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I'm working on a project in New Jersey that is an existing office building built in 1968 that we are completely gutting and redoing the interior of each floor with a new fit-out. Currently the stairs are not up to code for a high-rise.

  • Door hardware is a handle rather than a panic push bar (this looks like it should be acceptable though per IBC 2018 but still think it should be replaced)
  • No photoluminescent markings on the stair or railing
  • In one of the stairs there is a high pressure steam valve pit at the first floor separated by a hatch in the floor

My main concern is the pit under the stair as if we have to move it then that could be costly. The issue is I can't find anything in IBC or New Jersey's existing building code about if that is allowed to stay or not. Does anyone know if this would be allowed to remain or if it would have to be moved? Or is there anything in the code that requires all elements of the stair to be brought up to modern standards?
 

APrince125

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Is there a change of occupancy or is it remaining an office building?
It will remain an office building. We are adding a small 3,200 SF auditorium addition on the other side of the building. Building is about 200,000 SF total with 2 other exit stairs. Occupancy is 96 per floor for the upper floors
 

cda

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My main concern is the pit under the stair as if we have to move it then that could be costly.

PIT ????
 

RLGA

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My main concern is the pit under the stair as if we have to move it then that could be costly.

PIT ????
I was thinking that, too, but assumed it might have been intended for a future stairway down to a subway or something like that.
 

APrince125

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It was always intended to be a pit even in the existing drawings we have. Definitely not intended for future stair. Is there a way to attach a picture on here? Its a 3x3 metal floor hatch labeled "high pressure steam trap" and has a ladder once opened to go down
 

classicT

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there is a high pressure steam valve pit at the first floor separated by a hatch in the floor
To me, it sounds as if you are dealing with an interior exit stairway, which is a component of the exit. As an exit component, it should not have anything not related to the stairway within the shaft.

My answer is to see IBC Sec. 1023.5 and say that it should not be there. Whether or not the IEBC would require relocation is a whole different issue.

1023.5 Penetrations
Penetrations into or through interior exit stairways and ramps are prohibited except for equipment and ductwork necessary for independent ventilation or pressurization, sprinkler piping, standpipes, electrical raceway for fire department communication systems and electrical raceway serving the interior exit stairway and ramp and terminating at a steel box not exceeding 16 square inches (0.010 m2). Such penetrations shall be protected in accordance with Section 714. There shall not be penetrations or communication openings, whether protected or not, between adjacent interior exit stairways and ramps.

Exception: Membrane penetrations shall be permitted on the outside of the interior exit stairway and ramp. Such penetrations shall be protected in accordance with Section 714.3.2.
 

APrince125

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classicT

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And just think what would happen if that pipe failed and was ejecting steam into the stairway shaft. Your means of egress would become a sauna in seconds.
 

APrince125

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Jan 22, 2021
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Philadelphia
To me, it sounds as if you are dealing with an interior exit stairway, which is a component of the exit. As an exit component, it should not have anything not related to the stairway within the shaft.

My answer is to see IBC Sec. 1023.5 and say that it should not be there. Whether or not the IEBC would require relocation is a whole different issue.

1023.5 Penetrations
Penetrations into or through interior exit stairways and ramps are prohibited except for equipment and ductwork necessary for independent ventilation or pressurization, sprinkler piping, standpipes, electrical raceway for fire department communication systems and electrical raceway serving the interior exit stairway and ramp and terminating at a steel box not exceeding 16 square inches (0.010 m2). Such penetrations shall be protected in accordance with Section 714. There shall not be penetrations or communication openings, whether protected or not, between adjacent interior exit stairways and ramps.

Exception: Membrane penetrations shall be permitted on the outside of the interior exit stairway and ramp. Such penetrations shall be protected in accordance with Section 714.3.2.
Yes, it is an interior exit stairway that egresses to the exterior. There is a mechanical room on the other side of the wall next to the pit. I was thinking of building a rated wall around the pit and opening the wall to the mechanical room so it is accessed from outside the stair. I just can't find anything that requires it to be moved or allowed to remain as its existing even though it should not be there.
 

cda

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Not and IEBC person

There is the fall back, if it met code when installed, sometimes allowed to exist.
 

RLGA

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Not and IEBC person

There is the fall back, if it met code when installed, sometimes allowed to exist.
This is typically the case, which is why I was asking if it was a change of occupancy, which has more restrictive provisions about complying with the current code. If it is continuing to function as an office building, then complete compliance with the IBC is not required, provided the alterations do not make the building less compliant with the current code than it already is. However, there is nothing to stop you from correcting the situation.
 
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