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    Interior Doors and Egress

    Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby aaronm on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:11 pm

    Codeman:

    IRC 311.1 appears to require a "continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior . . ." How does this affect the size and configuration of interior doors in rooms without windows and in hallways?

    Thanks,

    Aaron
    "What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety he makes up in clarity." - A.D. Miller

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    Re: Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:13 pm

    aaronm wrote:How does this affect the size and configuration of interior doors in rooms without windows and in hallways?


    Aaron,

    From the 2009 IRC (is that still what Texas is using?):
    - R311.1 Means of egress. All dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress as provided in this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior of the dwelling at the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage.
    - - (Jerry's Note: The means of egress is only required to be "continuous", "unobstructed", "from all portions", and "to the exterior", which means that, unless additional requirements are specified below, those are the only requirements.)

    - R311.2 Egress door. At least one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches (813 mm) when measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). The minimum clear height of the door opening shall not be less than 78 inches (1981 mm) in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.
    - - (Jerry's Note: "Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions.", this can be taken two ways - a) as meaning that only the one ("at least one") required egress door to the exterior must meet those size requirements and other doors which egress to the exterior do not have to meet those requirements as they are not "the" "required egress door", the other doors are just 'doors to the exterior'; or b) as meaning that every ("at least one") side-hinged door which egresses to the exterior is "one of the" "required egress door"s and must meet those sizes. However, any door which is does not egress to the exterior, or egresses to the exterior but is not side-hinged, is not an "egress door" and does not have to meet those size requirements - this includes side-hinged doors which lead to a garage as the means of egress is not permitted to go through a garage.)

    - R311.6 Hallways. The minimum width of a hallway shall be not less than 3 feet (914 mm).
    - - (Jerry's Note: That one is clearly written - "minimum width", "hallway", and "not less than 3 feet".)

    So now we go the definitions, which (unfortunately) does not define "continuous" or "obstructed", however, the code tells us that the definitions in the other codes are to be applied for terms not defined in the IRC but defined in other ICC codes ... not that such is helpful as the other ICC codes do not define those terms either (not that I found). However, the code also states:

    - R201.4 Terms not defined. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.
    - - (Jerry's Note: We now use "ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies", which does not require anything special for "continuous" or "obstructed" ... as long as there is a "means of egress" provided.)

    Which takes us to this definition in the IBC:
    - 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.
    - - (Jerry's Note: Okay, that does not seem to help much ... except for this part "any occupied portion" ... which means we need to determine what an "occupied portion" means.)

    We have two definitions to choose from, one from the IRC and one from the IBC:
    - From the IRC:
    - - OCCUPIED SPACE. The total area of all buildings or structures on any lot or parcel of ground projected on a horizontal plane, excluding permitted projections as allowed by this code.
    - - - (Jerry's Note: From the definition of "occupied space", we can determine that "occupied space" is being related to the building area of the structure on a given lot; i.e., the "occupied space" of a 10 foot by 10 foot building on a slab on grade is 100 square feet, and the "occupied space" of a 10 foot by 10 foot building on piers with a crawlspace under it is also 100 square feet. This definition is not referencing the space inside which may be 'occupied' by the 'occupants' of the building.)

    - From the IBC:
    - - OCCUPIABLE SPACE. A room or enclosed space designed for human occupancy in which individuals congregate for amusement, educational or similar purposes or in which occupants are engaged at labor, and which is equipped with means of egress and light and ventilation facilities meeting the requirements of this code.
    - - - (Jerry's Note: From the definition "occupiable space", we can determine that "occupiable space" is essentially the same as "habitable space" in the IRC, see below.)

    - From the IRC:
    - - HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.


    Summary of the above and R311.1:
    - R311.1 Means of egress. All dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress as provided in this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior of the dwelling at the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage.

    Thus, the requirement for means of egress "from all portions of the dwelling" essentially applies to the "habitable space" of the dwelling ... not to bathrooms, closets or every nook and cranny within the dwelling.
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    Re: Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby aaronm on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:45 am

    Codeman:

    My reading of IRC 311.1 leads me to understand that the continuous and unobstructed path of egress must be from “all portions of the dwelling”. I do not see where the authors specify habitable portions. I cannot agree with your equating “all portions” to “habitable”. Had the authors intended to exclude areas of the building they would not have used the all-inclusive term “all”. All means all per Webster’s: “the whole, entire, total amount, quantity or extent of.”

    The IRC and IBC provide no definition of the term unobstructed. The common definition of the term means not obstructed. Obstructed, per Webster’s, is defined as (1) blocked so that things can not move through easily, and/or (2) where movement, progress, or action of someone or something is slowed or blocked.

    As you mentioned, the IBC defines means of egress to include the exit access.
    The exit access is the equivalent of the path of egress from its beginning in any given portion of the building to the exit and exit discharge. Along this path from anywhere within the building there may be doors, door hardware, floor elevation changes, etc. that could impede one’s progress along this path of egress.

    Examples of these impediments might include:

    (1) Door and passageway opening dimensions that are less than the egress door requirements.

    (2) Door hardware that is not operable from the inside without a key or special knowledge.

    The authors of the IRC have once again contradicted themselves. Why do you suppose that they can remain so conflicted for years over matters where common sense should prevail? I realize that content of each section is overseen by a different committee, but do they not communicate with one another? Is there no editor who pre-reads the entire volume prior to publication?

    Cats, as you may know, have a deep understanding and prejudice toward doors. My cat has lots of time on his hands and would gladly (and certainly more effectively) do the job.
    "What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety he makes up in clarity." - A.D. Miller

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    Re: Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:53 am

    Aaron,

    aaronm wrote:My reading of IRC 311.1 leads me to understand that the continuous and unobstructed path of egress must be from “all portions of the dwelling”. I do not see where the authors specify habitable portions. I cannot agree with your equating “all portions” to “habitable”. Had the authors intended to exclude areas of the building they would not have used the all-inclusive term “all”. All means all per Webster’s: “the whole, entire, total amount, quantity or extent of.”


    Which is why I went through the code referenced definitions and did not include a definition from Webster's - the code itself specifies what definitions are to be used and in what order to go down the chain seeking the definitions.

    The IRC and IBC provide no definition of the term unobstructed. The common definition of the term means not obstructed. Obstructed, per Webster’s, is defined as (1) blocked so that things can not move through easily, and/or (2) where movement, progress, or action of someone or something is slowed or blocked.


    You are attempting to apply code when *you* want to and when *you* think it should be applied, however, when the code is to be applied ... *you* need to apply the code all the way through and not to attempt to apply something else because *you* think that something else would better serve *your* purpose.

    Either apply the code as written or make up your own rules and apply them as you so choose ... but the code is still there and is still the ruling document.
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    Re: Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby aaronm on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:32 pm

    Codeman:

    We will have to agree to disagree. Your AHJ-apologist approach to some issues borders on jingoism. The code has an intent, which is to protect life and limb, that is sacrosanct and not to be overridden by an overabundance of verbiage, especially of the non-linear thinking variety.

    Have a great weekend,

    Aaron
    "What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety he makes up in clarity." - A.D. Miller

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    Re: Interior Doors and Egress

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:34 pm

    aaronm wrote:We will have to agree to disagree. Your AHJ-apologist approach to some issues borders on jingoism. The code has an intent, which is to protect life and limb, that is sacrosanct and not to be overridden by an overabundance of verbiage, especially of the non-linear thinking variety.


    Aaron,

    My approach is not "AHJ-apologist approach to some issues borders on jingoism" ... you asked a question and I answered your question.

    As I worked my way through the answer, I found that the code lead to an unexpected (unexpected by me) answer.

    The codes intent is this: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - R101.3 Intent.
    - - The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

    The code, which is what you asked about, sets forth ... minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare ...
    - "minimum requirements"
    - "public safety, health"
    - "general welfare"

    The code itself states that it is not 'good, better, or best' practices, only that the code is "minimum requirements".

    There is no "agree to disagree" (that's what people say when they realize that they are incorrect but refuse to accept it) - there is you asking a question and not accepting the code answer provided. That is your prerogative.

    I just work through the code to get to the code's answer. Whether I agree with what the code states or not ... does not matter ... the code states what it states.

    You get to use (or not use) the information at your discretion. On that we can agree. Agreed?
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