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Locked Escape Game Rooms

Discussion in 'Commercial Fire Codes' started by brr, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    brr ... do a search here for a recent thread about the fire at the Station nightclub ... then rethink the door locks. Forward the video clip to your client.
     
  2. brr

    brr Registered User

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    It's interesting that from an internet search of escape rooms businesses, it appears that many must have lockable rooms. I found several that have a question and answer or just a list of safety features that state something like this:
    What happens in the case of an emergency?
    Put your mind at ease, although you are locked in we do have clearly labeled emergency exit buttons that when pushed releases the lock and allows the door to be opened.
    From this website: https://www.lostandlockedinescape.com/

    I get the, just because everyone else is jumping of a cliff... adage. I am still waiting to hear back from the inspector for more clarity - took a week with my last questions.
     
  3. brr

    brr Registered User

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    I was not sure what to call these spaces. For the business, they do not serve any other purpose, though, I suppose a group up to 8 people plus staff might gather there pre or post-game. I was assuming that the assembly spaces were accessory to the business and basically counting those spaces individually. If I make rooms 114, 115, and 116 a suite and count it all as assembly space, then it is 915 s.f. and will require two exits - nothing wrong with that. It would just require two extra exit signs, one to the south and one in the office space (113) to direct you to the west exit. I'm not sure it will matter to the inspectors - they've already seen these plans twice with them labeled as is and we've only had discussions about . Though it was obvious at our meeting that they were not going to tell us how to meet code, which is not uncommon, just evaluate whether what you propose meets code after submittal, so we'll see what they say.

    I realize that "corridor" is a technical term, where room labels are only required to be descriptive, in my experience. I have been asked many times in the past to label all rooms on plans when we left off labeling closets, restrooms (with toilets, sinks, etc showing it seems like it would be obvious), etc., and I recently submitted for an accessory dwelling unit that was a studio (two rooms + closet) and the plans examiner had me label the kitchen, closet, bathroom, bedroom, living room... I understand why they want this - they need to know something about its function to evaluate the plans.

    Any suggestions as to what to call these rooms - I guess I could call them hallways since that's a generic term and not used in the code? As far as I know, the hallway spaces do not exceed any size/width limitations and they are not required to be rated.
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Don’t call them stuff that kicks in code requirements,,,, unless in the end the city questions it

    Receptionist room

    Leave it unlabeled till questioned
     
  5. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I suppose the label of an empty room could be Vacant Room. Not that it matters much but calling rooms corridors just seems out of place. I did call attention to the fact that when an egress path leads through intervening rooms there kicks in a requirement for a discernible path. That is in conflict with the use of the intervening room as a confused space for a confusing game.

    I may be over reacting but I detect a lack of prudent concern on the part of the building department. Allowing the business to continue while working out the requirements......not even a permit in hand. I am not aware of the extent of any construction that took place. Along with that is any electrical work. I would have been inclined to shut it down until proven safe.
     
    #25 ICE, Feb 23, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
    my250r11 likes this.
  6. FM William Burns

    FM William Burns Moderator

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    brr,
    The fact is that they are by definition special amusement due to egress configurations and obstructions to clear egress pathways. They are treated similar to haunted houses not defined by occupant loads for Assembly or Business. See NFPA 101, 2018 (3.3.37.9 and Annex). Then (12.4.8) and all the applicable provisions required and allowances for special locking arrangements and fail safe measures. Regardless of any personal feelings or attitudes on the occupancies, they’re here in your cities. If they want to operate and stay once discovered, the code addresses allowable measures and acceptable protection for the hazards to life they present.
     
    my250r11 and ADAguy like this.
  7. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    "Good Stuff" FM, often sought but rarely found info for scoping.

    Many Thanks
     
    FM William Burns likes this.
  8. brr

    brr Registered User

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    You are completely right. I'll just leave the rooms blank and see if that will do.

    I just went back to the businesses website and found only one reference to being locked in a room:
    "What if I don't escape?
    Not to worry if you are unable to escape in the hour given our staff will kindly let you out of the room.. but you got this!"

    I had never watched their promo video on their website, but I found it interesting that they start by saying you won't be locked in by showing the one game where you aren't - the jail cells - but all of the other rooms have locks. If you watch the video further, you can just make out one of the keypad door locks, and, as far as I could tell, there is no override from the staff control room. Also no panic release anywhere.

    I completely agree with you about the City's lack of concern - it is primarily what prompted me to post here to see is anyone had any experience with these relatively new businesses or links to other discussions about jurisdictions dealing with the lock issue. We'll see what the City says in the end about allowing keypad locks with push releases. That they don't care that people are currently being locked into rooms while the owner is getting his permit documents and correcting the code violations, astonishes me. Everyone seems too unconcerned - the two exits to the north were still blocked from the outside a month after the inspector's first visit, and, apparently, it was only my going into that business and warning them of the dire consequences that prompted them to action! I told them that any potential manslaughter charges beside, they could be fined by the City!

    Here's a picture of the keypad locks: https://www.flickr.com/photos/187067126@N02/49580448837/in/album-72157713182977468/

    To those who suggest I warn the owner about the dangers, I promise you, I have - I've referenced the Poland fire, which they were aware of, and that had no impact. But just about any fire in a public place that resulted from a locked door should be all the proof you need. It's like my experience with earthquake retrofitting here in Portland - when I do design work on older homes, I try my best to convince homeowners to at least attach their houses to the foundations in their basements. But earthquakes are just beyond their personal experience, and it's hard to motivate someone to action if the danger is not an immediate threat, especially if it will cost them money now...
     
    #28 brr, Feb 24, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2020
  9. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Just put regular door hardware on the doors, exit signs, and everyone is good to go, and safe.

    Make life easy.
     
  10. brr

    brr Registered User

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    I meant to say, there is no override from...
     
  11. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    And in case of fire, we will try to let you out as we race by on the way to the exit.
     
  12. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I fixed it for you.
     

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