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The Building Code Part 8, Means of Egress

November 18, 2011

Egress through a building is one of the key feature. People have to be able to move through the building and egress quickly in the event of a fire. Occupant loads and egress widths are of primary concern.

Occupant Load: 

Every space in a building has an occupant load, the number of people that a building is designed for.  Table 1004.1 in the 2006 IBC lists every function for a space and the occupant load, square feet per person, that is allowed. For example, the occupant load for a classroom is 20 sqft per person. So in a 900 sqft classroom the occupant load would be; 45 occupants. (900 / 20 = 45)

Egress Width:

The widths of doors and stairs have to be sized to accommodate the occupant load. Table 1005.1 in the 2006 IBC lists the inches per occupants that are required for each occupancy type. Note that when a sprinkler systems is used the inches per occupant is reduced. For example, in a Mercantile occupancy (no sprinkler system) with an occupancy load of 50 the min door egress width would be 10″. (50 x .2 = 10″) Note that you can’t have a door that is only 10″ wide, so in this case the min with would be  32″ (Section 1008)

Like all other sections of the code, I have just skimmed the surface. I would recommend skimming thought section 10, but like always don’t get bogged down in the minutia.

Good luck on your next exam!

Other posts in this series;

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Use and Occupancy

Part 3 – Special requirements

Part 4 – General Building Height and Area Limitations

Part 5 – Types of Construction

Part 6 – Fire Resistant Construction

Part 7 – Interior Finishes

Part 8 – Means of Egress

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