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» ICC Bulletin Board » Code Chat » Building and Residential Codes -- Non-Structural Issues » Corridor exceeding 20' is a dead end?

   
Author Topic: Corridor exceeding 20' is a dead end?
Don Etheridge
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A building inspector has read section 1016.3 and interpreted it to say any corridor exceeding 20' in length is a dead end, otherwise you must have two directions to an exit. My corridor has an exit dischare at the end, but since you must travel 110' from the exit at one space and 70' from another, he says the corridor leading to the exit can only be 20' long. This is a fully sprinklered mercantile building, the corridor is also sprinklered, although not rated since it is partially open to the atmosphere. I do not exceed the 250' travel distance to the point of exit discharge at the end of the corridor.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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RLGA
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Are two exits required from the spaces that egress through the corridor?

If only one exit or exit access doorway is required, then the dead end requirement doesn't factor into the situation.

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Ron Geren
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Glennman, CBO
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The reason that the dead end doesn't apply when only one exit is required is due to the fact that the opposite end of the corridor from the exit will always be a dead end (at least in theory). When two or more exits are required, then they must be situated in such a way that the distances between them will meet the minimum requirements of 1015.2.1. When this minimum is applied, there may arise a situation where the exits are far enough apart to meet 1015.2.1, but a dead end effect might occur. The distances between the exits would then need to be increased to meet both requirements (1015.2.1 and 1017.3).

Do you have more that one exit? and are you required to have more than one (per RLGA)?

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Jeremy
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So basically he's saying that your travel distance cannot exceed 20'? If so, the inspector is wrong. A dead end is where the corridor does not lead to a compliant exit, and you would have to turn around to get out of the building. Traveling more than 20' does not constitute a dead end on its own. It takes additional factors to do so.
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Don Etheridge
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The corridor is actually an exterior exit access, although it is 6' wide between two mercantile buildings. The spaces it serves do require two exits. Since my iniital post I have been informed by the state code official "A dead end by definition means there is only one way out. Because there is only one way out, exit access corridors are limited by the NCSBC, Section 1016.3 to 20 feet in length." My options are to make this an exit passageway per Section 1020 (one hour rated, enclosed, etc.) or provide two means of egress. This blows my mind.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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[Confused]
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Jeremy
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It's possible to have two or more exits in a space and still have a dead end corridor. I'm not familiar with the NCSBC, but nowhere in the IBC does it say dead end means there is only one exit. Obviously I don't know your exact situation, but from what you say, it sure appears their interpretation is wrong.
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genebko
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I presume you are doing all the requirements in 1013.5 for an exterior balcony?

If there is only a single door to the balcony and it leads in only one directino - toward the exit stair - then you should be OK. But if there are other doors onto the balcony, could a person from that door accidentally turn the wrong direction and travel to the end for a distance of more than 20 feet? If so, you have a dead end exceeding 20 feet per 1016.3

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Don Etheridge
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These are single story buildings at grade- nothing to do with baclonies.

He's saying the dead end starts at the exit discharge, on the inside of the exit door at the end of the corridor. If you reach that door and must turn around, you can't go back more than 20'. Why would you ever go back? The only reason you would use it as an exit from a fire would be if you were traveling toward the exit to get away from the fire. OK, so there could be another fire event at the exit discharge, but that could also be true if it were an exit passageway. So the exit passageway is 1-hour rated, so now you're trapped in a one hour rated corridor. I might add, this is not an area accessible to the public. The only occupants in the exterior exit access corridor are those with a key, who are familiar with the building. i have a hard time with how this whole approach ignores travel distance but I'm trying hard to understand. I'm really having a hard time calling any corridor with a compliant exit discharge at the end a dead end. It is designed such than no one exiting any doors entering the corridor can go back 20' in the non-exit discharge direction.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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nineiron
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Don, based on your information, the inspector has made an error in his interpretation. You should proceed to the next level in the chain of command to get this resolved.
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genebko
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[Confused]

How is it exterior exit access - not exit or exit discharge?

That's where I got the balconies from. Take the comments I wrote and apply them to the interior corridor. can a person enter the corridor at mid-point and turn the wrong way? If so, there is an issue. If all you can do is travel in one directino from the end of the corridor to the exit door and thence to exit discharge, the inspector is in error as noted above. You'll have to try to go to the Inspection Chief to get over the inspector's head.

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Builder bob
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The issue at hand is the required travel between two buildings that are located within 10 feet of the (assumed) property line...

1018.2.2 Arrangement. Exterior exit doors shall lead directly to the exit discharge or the public way.

PUBLICWAY. A street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a street, that has been deeded, dedicated
or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and which has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).

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RLGA
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Don E.:

Can you provide a drawing or diagram that illustrates the situation? Maybe that will help us to better understand your question and the inspector's comment.

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Ron Geren
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Builder bob
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Other definitions:
EXIT DISCHARGE. That portion of a means of egress system between the termination of an exit and a public way.

EGRESS COURT. A court or yard which provides access to a public way for one or more exits.

PUBLICWAY. A street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a street, that has been deeded, dedicated
or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and which has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).


SO am I to interpret that the exit discharge path is considered an egress court since the exit discharge does not provide enought room for a public way? It would seem so based upon -
1024.6 Access to a public way. The exit discharge shall provide a direct and unobstructed access to a public way.

The rating requirements would then come from-
1024.5.2 Construction and openings. Where an egress
court serving a building or portion thereof is less than 10
feet (3048 mm) in width, the egress court walls shall have
not less than 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction for a
distance of 10 feet (3048 mm) above the floor of the court.
Openings within such walls shall be protected by opening
protectives having a fire protection rating of not less than 3/4
hour.
Exceptions:
1. Egress courts serving an occupant load of less than
10.
2. Egress courts serving Group R-3.
1024.6 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 at least 5 square feet (0.28 m2) for each person.
2. The area shall be located on the same lot at least 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.

But since this is an existing building:
1028.2 Reliability. Required exit accesses, exits or exit discharges shall be continuously maintained free from obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or
other emergency when the areas served by such exits are occupied. Security devices affecting means of egress shall be subject to approval of the fire code official.


In a nutshell, when the second building was built, it should have been made to meet the requirements of IBC T 602.

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Don Etheridge
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We seem to be getting off track. I'm always amazed at how the use of certain common words can become interpreted otherwise in 'code speak'. This is a new project. It's two buildings because, even though all fully sprinklered, it's mixed construction types, so there's a fire wall. The major tenant has a side exit entering the corridor which runs behind retail shops. The retail shops form an L with two facing the same direction as the major tenant (south) and 7 facing East. The corridor begins 'behind' the first shop to the left of the major tenant and runs 110' to a point of exit discharge, which aligns with the rear wall of the major tenant, although two more shops continue beyond the end of the corridor. The side exit from the major tenant is approximately mid way down the corridor. A gate was added in the corridor to subvert the possibility of a dead end if someone exited the major tenant the wrong way. The corridor is 6' wide, not rated, has a roof overhead but open for about 3' between the roof edge and the roof of the shops. The only required exit into the corridor other than the major tenant is the first shop to the left of the major tenant (the shop at the 'beginning' of the corridor) because it's a restaurant. All other shops (mercantile occupancy) have inswinging rear access doors but are signed properly and do not technically contribute occupant load. They're for convenience access only, which you can not do in an exit passageway, which this is not. There are also electrical service meters and trough in the corriodor but minimum clearances are maintained. Can't have that in an exit passageway. Research indicates this 'corridor' is an exterior exit passageway - not an egress court. It is an exit discharge.

Sorry but I'm new to this website and have not figured out how to attach an image.

This corridor as designed, is not allowed because when you exit the major tenant or the shop at the beginning you must travel more than 20' to the exit discharge into a public way. Other than making it an exit passageway, I must open the corridor to the front thereby providing two means of egress at any point in the corridor.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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Don Etheridge
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Sorry, one mistake in that last post. It is an exterior exit access, not a passageway.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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Examiner
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If you could post a plan view it may help all see the issue. You could make a PDF of your plan and post it. I have seen others do that.

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Don Etheridge
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Sorry but I don't understand how to attach a pdf in this UBB Code format. Anyone with better directions than I get when I click on the "UBB Code is enabled" icon to the left? I'd be glad to share the plan view in pdf.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
Quick-Associates, P.A.
Raleigh, NC

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RLGA
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Don E.:

Thanks for emailing the plan and sections to me. Now I fully understand the situation. The "corridor" appears to be almost entirely enclosed, so treating it as a corridor seems appropriate.

However, the occupant load served by the corridor is well below the 49-occupant threshold that requires two exits. You show 6 stock rooms that are off the corridor. Each stock room is less than 300 SF, which means they each have an occupant load of 1. Therefore, the total occupant load egressing through the corridor is 6. Thus, only one exit is required and the dead end condition does not exist.

I didn't catch this at first, but you said a "building inspector" brought this up. Does this mean the project is under construction and and was already reviewed and permitted by the building department? If so, the inspector should have brought his concern to the plans examiner who reviewed the documents to determine if a problem really exists. If he had, this whole situation would likely have been resolved within minutes and you would have never known.
[Smile]

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Ron Geren
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Don Etheridge
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The major tenant spills 199 occupants into the 'corridor' while tenant A at the beginning contributes 33 more so the occupant load is closer to 138 total. The plans reviewer/building inspector are the same person in the location being built- permits have not been issued. He is clearly saying this is an exterior exit access, which is an exit discharge to my understanding. From RLGA's comment above you seem to agree you must have two means of egrees from within the corridor, otherwise it's a dead end condition.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
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Raleigh, NC

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RLGA
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The occupants of tenant A must egress through the main store entrances; they cannot egress through the stock rooms per 1014.2, Item 2, unless you meet all of the requirements for Exception 2. Even if the exceptions apply, you could only egress 23 occupants dues to Exception 2.2 which limits the amoun to 50%. But since the shop area is 1400 SF, the occupant load is 47, which is below the 49 occupants; therefore, only one exit is required from each of the shops and all 47 occupants can egress through the main entrance without having to egress through the stock room.

I didn't notice that your drawing didn't include the entire building for Food Lion store (just the one wall and a label). How many people are exiting from the Food Lion store? Is that exit a public exit or an employy exit from the stock area?

[ 02-26-2009, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: RLGA ]

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Ron Geren
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rlm-architect
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I hate to butt in on an interesting thread of thoughts but wasn't the first question regarding dead ends in a corridor?

A dead end is simply how far you are permitted to travel in a direction down a corridor before you realize you have traveled in the wrong direction and have to retrace your steps to go toward the door out of the corridor toward the exit discharge. That distance for a dead end is typically 20 feet unless an exception is met.

If you have entered the corridor in the direction of egress, and the corridor provides a second or third or fourth means of egress from a tenant space, which this space on question appears to do, and all of the travel leads to an exit door, then a dead end does not exist.

If you have to pass a viable exit to go into a dead end situation instead of taking the exit, then the exit was obviously not marked or your section of the gene pool has the possibility of being drained.

The width of the corridor is determined by the occupant load assigned to it as indicated above.

Seems to me that we tend to complicate the questions at hand for some reason. Why is that? Maybe it is our Code Official gene that does it. [Smile]

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RLGA
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rlmarch: Unfortunately, Don E. was unable to post a drawing, but he emailed a copy to me. The corridor is definitly a dead end corridor IF the number of the occupants from the spaces it serves is greater than 49. He's stating that the occupant load is greater than that.
_______________

Don E: From the small tenant spaces, the load is very small (I don't know how you're arriving at 33 occupants just from Tenant A). The occupant load from the Food Lion store (major tenant) is not verifiable since those drawings weren't provided nor is the floor area provided. But if it's a stock room exiting into this corridor (like the small tenant spaces), then my guess is that the occupant load from the major tenant may also be exaggerated (like the small tenant spaces).

But, if this door is not from a stock room, but the sales space, then at 199 occupants through this one door, a safe assumption could be made that two exits are provided, each with 199 occupants. At a total load of 398 occupants egressing from the sales area, and using the 30 sf/occupant factor from Table 1004.1.1, the sales area should have an area of around 11,940 sf. If this is greater than the actual floor area of the sales space, then something is wrong in calculating the occupant load.

Also, are there any other exits beside this door and the main entrance? Does this door egress from the stock room?

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Ron Geren
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Kilitact
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I would agree with rlmach's statement. occupant load does not determine if a corridor has a dead end.

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RLGA
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I disagree. If only a single exit is require--based on occupant load--then the requirements for dead end corridors do not apply. If two or more exits are required--based on occupant load--then the dead end requirements are applicable. If the occupant load does not exceed 49, then only one exit is required. This is why I'm questioning the occupant load.

In this case, I think the occupant load has been either miscalculated or there's something else going on that isn't apparent to me.

I should point out, that based on the drawings provided to me, the "corridor" in question is formed by one wall of the major tenant on one side and the wall of all the smaller tenants on the other side with one tenant at the end of the corridor and an exit at the other end. But the unique thing about this is that the "corridor" is not really enclosed. It has a canopy structure over its entire length supported by the wall of the major tenant on one side and a series of columns on the other side. These columns extend from the lower wall of the smaller tenant spaces up to a beam that supports the canopy edge, creating about a 16-inch gap on that side of the "corridor" along its length.

My question to others is, would this actually be called a "corridor" by IBC definition since it's not completely "enclosed"?

It's not a court or an egress court since it's covered. If the canopy were removed, I believe this would be a non-issue since it could be considered an egress court.

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Ron Geren
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Kilitact
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we can disagree: so cpt is exceeded, which drives the requirement for two exits (not occupant load) a dead end can occur!

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Don Etheridge
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Thanks to all for your replies. I've lost sleep over this because I feel so many of us don't know this is a dead end or why. You've made some great comments and observations so I'll try to clear up some of the confusion, which admittedly is caused by my lack of ability to post attachments on this website format.

The large tenant is a 35,000 sf grocery store. The exit into the corridor is an exit only from the sales floor. The required occupant load from that exit is 199, so the corridor definitely serves more than 49 occupants. Furthermore, the wall thru which the exit door passes is a 3 hour firewall due to mixed construction (the grocery type IIB sprinklred, the shops type VB unsprinklered). The door is A label.

Shop A at the 'beginning' of the corridor is potentially a restaurant A-2 occupancy, hence the requirement for the exit to the corridor and the occupant load of 33. At this point we're only designing the shell and vanilla box so the storage room is shown in shop A only as a vanilla criteris. We're aware of no exit through the storage room although we see there's provisions for this in the 2009 IBC- thanks to those who're finally addressing this issue since 90% of mercantile shops are designed this way. All other shops are Mercantile and not a required exit to the corridor but access desired for service.

The issue about whether this is a corridor is a key debate we've had internally. It is our position it must be covered due to being an exit discharge and use in inclement weather although we're aware this requirement, I believe, is part of the accessibility code and often ignored. Uncovered access to a public way is 'rampant'. It is not an egress court for this purpose. We continue to define this as an exterior exit access or exit discharge.

rlmarch states: "A dead end is simply how far you are permitted to travel in a direction down a corridor before you realize you have traveled in the wrong direction and have to retrace your steps to go toward the door out of the corridor toward the exit discharge. That distance for a dead end is typically 20 feet unless an exception is met." Apparantley the word "simply" does not apply because my corridor leads directly to an exit, thus not a "wrong direction". Apparantly it's a dead end because of the occupant load and therefore I was not under the impression you still had to have two means of egress even when you entered the corridor. My current understanding is, although you're always approaching the exit, if you travel more than 20', it's a dead end if you turn around. My difficulty is WHY WOULD ANYONE TURN AROUND? Because there's fire beyond the exit- ok well same thing applies if it were an exit discharge, albeit you get an hour to wait it out, which is certainly an advantage. Then again, my condition is fully sprinklred including the 'corridor'.

genebko says "....If all you can do is travel in one direction from the end of the corridor to the exit door and thence to exit discharge, the inspector is in error as noted above." This was precisely my postition but apparantley not the case when the corridor is not an exit passageway and serves more than 40 occupants. Gene if you'll give me your email I'd like to forward you a plan. I had your card somewhere as I've attended many of your seminars but can't locate it. I would be honored to share the plan with anyone interested since it's my goal to arrive at a final and definitive resolution to this.

Having had several days (and sleepless nights) to absorb the concept of needing two exits even when within a space that is in almost all respects a 'corridor' and the direction of travel to an exit seems terribly obvious I continue to ask "how is this a hazard". It's sprinklered, it's open to the atmosphere above so smoke shouldn't be an issue, and it leads directly to an exit discharge while not allowing anyone from a required exit to travel more than 20' in the wrong direction.

Another issue that has come from this debate is how travel distance has no bearing. The state code official said "travel distance only gets you out of the building". So, on that thought, I'm now out of the same building that required two exits yet when I enter the corridor and I'm still required two exits. Ok, there's more than 49 occupants entering the corridor. More than 49 occupants that can't travel more than 20' in a direction not leading to an exit discharge. More than 49 occupants who are still well within the 250' sprinklered travel distance. I need a nap.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
Quick-Associates, P.A.
Raleigh, NC

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Builder bob
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Food for thought, the dead end corridor discussion may be for naught, IF the door located in the firewall will serve as an hortizontal exit. In order to serve both sides, the door would need to swing in the direction of egress from either side of the fire wall.

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RLGA
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Bob:

An excellent point. However, to make it work, the door egressing into from the "corridor" into the adjacent space cannot be locked, so this may be a security issue.

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thelunatick1
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Would be nice to be provided with a sketch of the condition. depicting just the corridor, the exits into the corridor and the exit from the corridor.

There are several differences between a corridor and an exit passageway.

but if you were to think of the exit passageway as more of a stair enclosure which has 0 rise. And apply how the enclosure would operated in this condition......

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Don, thanks for sending the drawings. I agree with those who say this is a dead end. When the 199 occupants exit from the Food Lion into this corridor, they have two choices in direction. One takes them to an exit, one does not. The one that does not is about 46' long.

I know that's not what you want to hear, but I just can't read it any other way.

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Don Etheridge
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Scott- you're doing the same thing I did for three days last week by continuing not to recognize where the dead end really is, according to the code officials I have discussed this with.

The one you say is 46' long is not a dead end- we added a gate in the corridor with a lockset so you can't travel more than 20' in that direction unless you have a key. From the other side, exiting shop A, it has a panic bar. The gate also has a closer. As it turned out, this gate has no bearing on the real dead end.

The real dead end starts inside the gate behind Shop E from the exit discharge end of the corridor. When you turn around 180 degrees, your backs to the gate, and walk AWAY FROM THE EXIT DISCHARGE more than 20', it's a dead end. If the exit discharge were less than 20' from the Food Lion exit it would not be a dead end because you could 'get out'. Read 2009 IBC, Section 1017.3 very slowly- it says "in corridors more than 20' in length" whereas I incorrectly assume it meant "in dead ends no more than 20".

It has become blatantly clear to me that most of us architects have a very set image of a dead end- it's a corridor leading to nowhere, no way out. As it has now been explained to me, a single exit by nature always creates a dead end because it always means you can only exit one way and any time you turn around you have a dead end. When the occupancy load exceeds 49 (M, one story) you must have two means of egress or the corridor leading to an exit discharge must be less than 20'. The occupancy load of the corridor exceeds 49.

It is my opinion the code should label this condition something other than a dead end- perhaps a 'limited travel exit'. Or perhaps "where more than one exit is required, travel in corridors may not exceed 20'in length to an exit discharge.

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Don Etheridge, AIA
Quick-Associates, P.A.
Raleigh, NC

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texasbo
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Don, I think we're saying the same thing, just in different ways. Oh, I saw the dreaded "corridor length reducing gate". My comment is that you have a 46' long corridor that is dead end, whether the gate is there or not.

In reality, that gate is just distraction; it doesn't really change anything. Have I allowed such a gate or door to cut a 25' corridor down to 20'? Sure, from time to time, but it was really just eyewash - it probably would have been actually safer if the gate or door wasn't there at all.

I agree with you that better language could help. An earlier edition of the IBC, or maybe the old UBC said: ..."it shall be possible to travel either direction in a corridor to a separate exit, except for dead ends not exceeding 20'". I thought that was better wording.

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TJacobs
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It sounds to me like you need 2 exits out of this space because you are truly not outside yet. And, the gate can be removed so I would not accept it as eliminating the dead end.

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Jake

Sometimes a great deal of effort is expended to avoid the inevitable.

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Builder bob
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The gate is a bad idea, in light smoky or hazy conditions, people may not realize the gate is there...Not any better than bars across a window.

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Can you build to minimum standards? FWIW - MCP, CBO, CPE, CI, CFPE, ASCET
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