• Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by first logging in then clicking here: Upgrades

Requirements for emergency egress from gated complexes?

ArthurPeabody

Registered User
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
4
Location
albuquerque
My condominium complex recently added fences with gates. We now have only 1 automated gate for automobiles that opens (the other 3 are permanently locked) and all 4 pedestrian gates are permanently locked (because people were propping them open.) The automated gate works with a Bluetooth app; the pedestrian gates have keyboards to take unlocking codes to enter. We have 167 units, at least 200 residents. This seems unsafe. I can't find the requirements for this in the code. Do any of you-all know? Thanks.
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
10,403
Location
Ca. concrete jungle
Is a code required to open the gates from the inside? How about the car gate? I don’t think a Bluetooth app is a great way to go unless there is also a keypad option. All of this will provide a false sense of security.
 

ArthurPeabody

Registered User
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
4
Location
albuquerque
Is a code required to open the gates from the inside? How about the car gate? I don’t think a Bluetooth app is a great way to go unless there is also a keypad option. All of this will provide a false sense of security.
The only gate that can open at all is the car gate. It opens automatically when a car wants to leave from the inside, but doesn't sense people for that purpose. You may not care for Bluetooth but the only argument I can make that will sway the board will be one that cites code.
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
10,403
Location
Ca. concrete jungle
The only gate that can open at all is the car gate. It opens automatically when a car wants to leave from the inside, but doesn't sense people for that purpose. You may not care for Bluetooth but the only argument I can make that will sway the board will be one that cites code.
Sorry but I have no answers for you. There's lots of people here at the forum so perhaps answers are not far away.

I can't enable the Bluetooth on my S10 Galaxy phone while in my Tundra. The two will not talk to each other and the phone keeps whining about it. So I turn off the Bluetooth on the phone. Of course I have a button on the mirror to open my garage door so the Bluetooth is not important unless I want to make a phone call through the truck speakers....and I don't. My GMC had it's own phone number so I could always call from the truck....and never did.

The pedestrian gates should be able to open from the inside without use of a keypad code, Bluetooth app or key....but since this is not the egress door from a dwelling, I can't think of a code that would back that up.
 
Last edited:

fatboy

Administrator
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
6,564
Location
Northern CO
Is there enough interior room to be considered a "dispersal area"?

[BE] 1028.5 Access to a public way. The exit discharge shall provide a direct and unobstructed access to a public way .
Exception: Where access to a public way cannot be provided, a safe dispersal area shall be provided where all of the following are met:
1. The area shall be of a size to accommodate not less than 5 square feet (0.46 m2) for each person.
2. The area shall be located on the same lot not less than 50 feet (15 240 mm) away from the building requiring egress.
3. The area shall be permanently maintained and identified as a safe dispersal area.
4. The area shall be provided with a safe and unobstructed path of travel from the building.
 

fatboy

Administrator
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
6,564
Location
Northern CO
That was a quick "No"...........can you provide a sight plan? Inquiring minds want to know.
 

ArthurPeabody

Registered User
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
4
Location
albuquerque
That was a quick "No"...........can you provide a sight plan?

It was quick because I had already read that section of the code in search of something relevant to my situation.

It was easy to make because there is no interior space. All the units open only to the outside, the only inside space other than residences is a small office and laundromat, nowhere near enough for everybody and part of the buildings to boot. The only place to run is outside.

I have no site plan, but it's not complicated: 4 buildings separated by north/south driveways, a parking lot on the south side, an exit on the west side. All 3 north/south driveways used to be open; now they're all permanently closed. Only the west side has an exit, and that onto a street that dead-ends on the south side, so there's only 1 way for an automobile to get out.

Only a reference to code or law will make any difference. I watched a large apartment building burn some 45 years ago. I can imagine what would happen here, when 150 cars and 200 people all try to exit through 1 gate. I wouldn't even look at the code if it were my decision. At least all the pedestrian gates should open.
 

BLangley

Registered User
Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Baltimore
Don't recall if it was a code thing, but a site of four mid-rise apartment buildings I used to manage in Baltimore had fenced/gated patios adjacent to them. They all had a handicap accessible push button to activate the gate (far enough away that someone outside the fence couldn't poke it).

If it was code related, it was probably the dispersal area requirements. Smallest building was about 75-80 units and at max occupancy, there certainly wasn't 5 sq feet per person on the patios.
 

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
11,248
Location
So. CA
1010.2 Gates
Gates serving the means of egress system shall comply with the requirements of this section. Gates used as a component in a means of egress shall conform to the applicable requirements for doors.

MEANS OF EGRESS. A continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way. A means of egress consists of three separate and distinct parts: the exit access, the exit and the exit discharge.

1010.1.9.9 Sensor Release of Electrically Locked Egress Doors
Sensor release of electric locking systems shall be permitted on doors located in the means of egress in any occupancy except Group H where installed and operated in accordance with all of the following criteria:
  1. The sensor shall be installed on the egress side, arranged to detect an occupant approaching the doors, and shall cause the electric locking system to unlock.
  2. The electric locks shall be arranged to unlock by a signal from or loss of power to the sensor.
  3. Loss of power to the lock or locking system shall automatically unlock the electric locks.
  4. The doors shall be arranged to unlock from a manual unlocking device located 40 inches to 48 inches (1016 mm to 1219 mm) vertically above the floor and within 5 feet (1524 mm) of the secured doors. Ready access shall be provided to the manual unlocking device and the device shall be clearly identified by a sign that reads "PUSH TO EXIT." When operated, the manual unlocking device shall result in direct interruption of power to the electric lock—independent of other electronics—and the electric lock shall remain unlocked for not less than 30 seconds.
  5. Activation of the building fire alarm system, where provided, shall automatically unlock the electric lock, and the electric lock shall remain unlocked until the fire alarm system has been reset.
  6. Activation of the building automatic sprinkler system or fire detection system, where provided, shall automatically unlock the electric lock. The electric lock shall remain unlocked until the fire alarm system has been reset.
  7. The door locking system units shall be listed in accordance with UL 294.
1010.1.9.10 Door Hardware Release of Electrically Locked Egress Doors
Door hardware release of electric locking systems shall be permitted on doors in the means of egress in any occupancy except Group H where installed and operated in accordance with all of the following:
  1. The door hardware that is affixed to the door leaf has an obvious method of operation that is readily operated under all lighting conditions.
  2. The door hardware is capable of being operated with one hand and shall comply with Section 1010.1.9.6.
  3. Operation of the door hardware directly interrupts the power to the electric lock and unlocks the door immediately.
  4. Loss of power to the electric locking system automatically unlocks the door.
  5. Where panic or fire exit hardware is required by Section 1010.1.10, operation of the panic or fire exit hardware also releases the electric lock.
  6. The locking system units shall be listed in accordance with UL 294
 
  • Like
Reactions: ICE

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
10,403
Location
Ca. concrete jungle
It was easy to make because there is no interior space. All the units open only to the outside, the only inside space other than residences is a small office and laundromat, nowhere near enough for everybody and part of the buildings to boot. The only place to run is outside.
"Is there enough interior room to be considered a "dispersal area"?"

When fatboy said "interior" he meant on the same lot....not inside a building.
 

tbz

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
980
Location
PA/NJ - Borderlands
It sounds like the complex is large enough that when exiting the buildings you are in areas meeting the exit discharge requirements and the fence and gates you are talking about are well away from the buildings not inhibiting a compliant refuge area in an emergency. And what you are asking about might be secondary gates, that provided a simpler way to get out of the complex, that were closed off in leu of high security measures.

Thus, the reason most posters are asking for a sight plan, is without knowing all the correct and pertinent information that a sight plan will have, no one can really give you a code section for your question, only speculating.

if this complex sits in the middle of NYC, downtown Albuquerque or 500 acers in NM is context one needs to answer the questions

Context is everything, and though you might think you have provided enough, based of your OP and continued posts, there are about 3 different sight plans that come to mind, all with different answers.
 

Rick18071

Sawhorse
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
3,381
Location
Poconos/eastern PA
Find out if they ever got a permit for the fence and gates. If they did it probably passes code. If they did not get a permit they should be fined.
 

tbz

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
980
Location
PA/NJ - Borderlands
Find out if they ever got a permit for the fence and gates. If they did it probably passes code. If they did not get a permit they should be fined.
Rick,

A permit being issued or not, might be a requirement in your state and AHJ.

However, many states, especially in the mid and southwest, I have been shocked to hear that none are required, but to say was a permit issued yes/no is only one course of question, one might not even have been required, nor even close to being a fine.
 
Top