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  1. #1
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    Default Another myth question

    Is there a code that REQUIRES:
    1) a house to have more than one door to the exterior?
    2) a business to have more than one door to the exterior?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    1) No
    2 Yes, but it depends on occupancy load. For example, a single door would not be acceptable in a movie theater.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
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  3. #3
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Is there a code that REQUIRES:
    1) a house to have more than one door to the exterior?
    As Gunnar said: No. One required egress door and additional required egress openings (EERO), which 'could be' "doors". If maximum of 4 dwelling units (i.e., meets IRC use) *and* 50 feet or less travel distance *and* not more than 2 stories.

    2) a business to have more than one door to the exterior?
    Minimum number for a non-dwelling unit is 2, and could be 3 or 4 'per story', depending on the Occupant Load (number of occupants calculated based on use, size, and design - highest of those).

    There are exceptions (of course) to the 2 minimum: (without getting into all the nitty gritty details for hazardous, storage, etc.)
    - 1 exit required for 49 occupants or fewer *and* the travel distance is less than 75 feet - if 1 story.
    - 1 exit required for 30 occupants of fewer *and* the travel distance is less than 75 feet - if 2 story

    Notice that the occupant load for 1 exit went down when the building height went up.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    As both Gunner and Jerry P said there are a load of variables, therefore, I recommend studying chapter 4 and 10 of the 2006 IBC to familiarize yourself with exiting requirements under the code. Those in California will have to use the new 2007 CBC effective Jan. 1, 2008.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Hey, Jerry Mc,

    Rumor has it that CA will be moving on to the IRC in the foreseeable future. I have also heard that CA will be adopting pieces of it, instead of the whole thing. Is this accurate and when does it take effect?

    Thanks.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Hi Gunner
    I wish it where true, but alas, the California Building Standards Commission CBSC, The Department of Housing and Community Development DHCD, and State Fire Marshal SFM, among other interested parties have adopted the 2006 IBC with CA amendments. As of January 1, 2008 we will basically have to wade through 2 volumes of the brand new 2007 California Building Code to locate applicable sections of Residential Dwelling Codes (R-3). I’m holding my breath that they come to their senses and adopt the IRC next year, but at my age my lung capacity is not so great. These 2 code books cost a small king’s ransom and then add to that the price of the 2005 NEC, aka CEC 2007 and the CA 2007 Plumbing & CA Mechanical codes, aka 2006 UPC & UMC, for one’s building code library.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Jerry Mc,

    Well, it's nice that they are making it simpler for those of us in the trades.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
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  8. #8
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Is there a code that REQUIRES:
    1) a house to have more than one door to the exterior?
    2) a business to have more than one door to the exterior?
    Check what code your state uses. Here in MA yo need 2 doors to exterior.


  9. #9
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Banks View Post
    Check what code your state uses. Here in MA yo need 2 doors to exterior.

    David,

    Do you have that code section?

    Does it state two "doors" or two "exits" one of which must be a "door" which meets the requirements for the required exit "door"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    I believe most codes addressing exiting go by OLs and here in CA under section 1008.1.1, ex 5 door openings within dwelling units or sleeping unit shall not be less than 76 inches in height. Under the same code section ex 6 exterior door openings in dwelling units and sleeping units, other than the required exit door, shall not be less than 76 inches in height.
    Ouch !

    Jerry McCarthy
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  11. #11
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Shall not be less than 76 inches in height. Under the same code section ex 6 exterior door openings ...
    Ahh, but that refers to "door" openings, not 'other openings' which are allowed to serve as the second egress exit in a dwelling unit. Unless, of course, the CA code does not recognize 'other openings', in which case EERO would go out the window.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    David,

    Do you have that code section?

    Does it state two "doors" or two "exits" one of which must be a "door" which meets the requirements for the required exit "door"?
    Jerry. Do not have code as I am in Florida. I will try to remember to post it when I return. It is 2 doors as I found a condo with one door. They turned garage into living space and eliminated door to garage. It became a big deal as building inspector could not figure out how it got by. Anyway my client was pleased I saw it.


  13. #13
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Banks View Post
    They turned garage into living space and eliminated door to garage. It became a big deal as building inspector could not figure out how it got by.
    That makes no sense. You are not allowed to count a door to the garage as an exit door. When you exit the house (in this case condo with a garage, with is basically constructed like a townhouse) exiting into the garage *is not* considered the same as exiting to the outdoors (or a fire rated corridor, stair, etc.).

    My guess is that the inspector was not talking about only having one door, but the fact that the garage was turned into living space without a permit, i.e., "It became a big deal as building inspector could not figure out how it got by." because the inspector knows it would be required to have a building permit.

    Here is how it usually 'gets by' the inspector (but you already know this ): The conversion was not done by a licensed contractor or it was done by a less-than-qualified licensed contractor.

    Typically, what likely also set the building inspector off is that, garage conversions into living space do not have the required % (8%) natural light nor the require % (4%) natural ventilation, neither will it likely have the proper R-value insulation in the walls and ceiling, and there is no EERO or smoke detector (if the living space is a bedroom). There are other things which could come into play too, but those are the most common ones I can think of right now.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    CA recognizes "other" openings per IBC and the section I quoted from in the new CA bldg. code is word for word from the 2006 IBC section 1008.1.1, Exceptions 5 & 6. What I find ludicrous is the minimum height reduced from 6'-8" to 6'-6" considering the increasing average height of our young ones. In a rush to escape some of our bigger kids will smack their heads on the door head jamb, knock themselves silly, and block the egress opening?

    Garage conversions to sleeping rooms is very popular in CA and besides the problems Jerry P named you often find gas burning appliance located within those garages adding another element of danger. It appears there is no shortage of candidates for the annual Darwin competition?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  15. #15
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    Exclamation Re: Another myth question

    Code or not, any body in their right mind would want more than one way out in the case of a fire. This is from the NFPA web site. Clearly, two means of escaping fire in a room is a minimum:

    NFPA 5000™, Building Construction and Safety Code™, defines a residential occupancy as one that provides sleeping accommodations for purposes other than health care or detention and correction. Thus, residential occupancies include one- and two-family dwellings, lodging or rooming houses, hotels and dormitories, apartment buildings, and residential board-and-care facilities. NFPA 5000 also details the minimum construction requirements for each of these occupancies in Chapters 22 through 26.

    In one- and two-family dwellings, the code provides a variety of regulations governing, among other things, the number and types of means of escape or egress. For example, Sections 22.2.2.1 and 22.2.2.2 state that each bedroom and living area must have at least one primary and one secondary means of escape, unless a door from the bedroom opens directly to the outside or the dwelling has an automatic sprinkler system throughout.

    The primary means of escape may be a door, stairway, or ramp that provides an unobstructed path of travel out of the dwelling at or to grade level. The secondary means of escape, which is independent of, and remote from, the primary means of escape, may lead through an adjacent, unlockable space. It may also be a door or window that opens directly to the outside as long as it provides at least 5.7 square feet (0.5 square meters) of clear, openable area. The opening must be at least 20 inches (51 centimeters) wide and 24 inches (61 centimeters) high. However, this provision may only be used when the window is located within 20 feet (6 meters) of grade.

    Section 22.2.4 stipulates the minimum widths and heights for doors in residential occupancies. Locking devices on doors within a means of escape cannot impede or prohibit egress, and they must be easily opened without a key.

    Stairs that serve as the primary means of escape from dwellings must conform to the same standards as stairs in commercial occupancies. The maximum riser height is 7 inches (18 centimeters), and the minimum tread depth is 11 inches (28 centimeters). Stairs that serve as a secondary means of escape may comply with the fire escape requirements of Table 7.2.8.4.1 of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, which allows risers to be as many as 9 inches (21 centimeters) high and the tread at least 9 inches (21 centimeters) deep.

    Quite frankly, it is irrelevant what code stipulates when it comes to a home inspection. If there is a safety issue or concern, it should be brought up. If the seller or real estate agent wants to argue, then put them in the room, start a fire in a fireproof container, and close the door. Point made. Proof provided. End of argument.

    Randy Aldering, RHI CHI
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  16. #16
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    Code or not, any body in their right mind would want more than one way out in the case of a fire. This is from the NFPA web site. Clearly, two means of escaping fire in a room is a minimum:
    Randy,

    We are not talking about 'one means of egress', we are talking about 'one door and one other means' or 'two doors'.

    We all acknowledge that at least two ways out is required.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
    Ken Amelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Jerry et al,

    The MA residential 1&2 family code (seventh edition) is specific on required exit doors:

    780 CMR 5311.4 Doors

    5311.4.1 Exit Doors Required. Egress from all dwelling units shall be by means of two exit doors, remote as possible from each other and leading directly to grade. Such Doors shall be provided at the normal level of exit/entry. In addition all other floors within a dwelling unit shall have at least one means by which a continuous and unobstructed path leads to exit doors. Such continuous and unobstructed paths shall be by means of stairways, corridors, hallways or combination thereof.

    5311.4.2 Exit doors type and sizes. (this is my shortened version of this section).
    One door must be at least 36” wide x 6’-8” high, and side hinged. The other door must be at least 32” x 6’-8” high can be sliding or side hinged. The 36” exit door can’t lead to a garage. The 32” exit door may lead through an attached garage provided that the there is a 32” door within the garage meeting the requirements of 5311.4.2.


  18. #18
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    Cool Re: Another myth question

    Help! Can we outlaw fonts smaller than 10 point?
    My old eyes won't allow an attempt smaller than that. After all, we are not being charged for the space, hey Brian?
    How about 12 point, comfortable clear and reader friendly, at least to our aged ones.
    Wonder which, if any, building code they based theirs on???
    Also, the NFPA code has not been adopted by anybody except some town in Arizona, which has since repudiated it. (I think?)

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  19. #19
    Ken Amelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    The MA code is based on IRC 2003


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Another myth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Jerry et al,

    The MA residential 1&2 family code (seventh edition) is specific on required exit doors:

    780 CMR 5311.4 Doors

    5311.4.1 Exit Doors Required. Egress from all dwelling units shall be by means of two exit doors, remote as possible from each other and leading directly to grade. Such Doors shall be provided at the normal level of exit/entry. In addition all other floors within a dwelling unit shall have at least one means by which a continuous and unobstructed path leads to exit doors. Such continuous and unobstructed paths shall be by means of stairways, corridors, hallways or combination thereof.

    5311.4.2 Exit doors type and sizes. (this is my shortened version of this section).
    One door must be at least 36” wide x 6’-8” high, and side hinged. The other door must be at least 32” x 6’-8” high can be sliding or side hinged. The 36” exit door can’t lead to a garage. The 32” exit door may lead through an attached garage provided that the there is a 32” door within the garage meeting the requirements of 5311.4.2.
    Thanks Ken. Thats what Jerry was looking for. The 7th edition is based on 2003 IRC but with some of the old MA code being included such as this.


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