≡ Menu

Does this Meet Code 16

Change in Egress

There are times construction projects lead to changes in the egress system.  Proper marking of an approved “exit” is critical to ensuring occupant safety in the occupied building.  Take a look at the following picture   As these changes occur, there must be changes to the exit signage.  In this picture how would you site this change?




















What if there wasn’t an approved permit for the project, what would your changes be?

{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Ken Prichard November 3, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Since I don`t see a door , I would say this sign needs to be replaced with a directional sign

  • Fred E. Byrnes November 3, 2011, 4:00 pm

    It would appear that this sign was over a door. The sign either needs to be removed or needs a directional arrow, pointing toward the nearest code complying exit.

  • C.A.Spice November 3, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Since this in no longer an egress/exit, the signage at this location needs to removed. In addition – all signage leading up to this area needs to be inspected to verify orientation. In the event that other signage is now incorrect then changes/alterations need to be implemented to the directional indicators (Chevrons) on the other signage. The last scenario anyone wants is to have occupants misdirected into a ‘dead-end’ during an active event .
    The corrective measures necessary in this situation can quickly ‘snow-ball’; lighting, fire alarm, travel distances, maintaining separation and fire ratings…

  • Builder Bob November 3, 2011, 5:13 pm

    It would seem as simple as remove the exit sign or place an directional arrow…… but what about code provisions that state that the required means of egress from an existing building cannot be reduced o less than what is required by code.

    Several questions pop out for me…..
    1.) Permitted work/ unpermitted
    2.) Is the reduction of exits allowable by code, where is the documentation that makes this OK…
    3.) Where are the other exits? Can I see exit signs directing me that way? Are other exits signs still directing me in this direction.
    4.) Is a dead end corridor created?
    5.) If this is high piled storage, did they just eliminate a require opening in the exterior wall for fire department access?

    etc, etc, etc.

    The picture would tend to indicate new or recent work due to the appearance of water seepage on the block at the mortar joints and the mortar joints are still “fresh and white” in appearance. they have not had a chance to appear dirty from exposure to dust.

  • raymond kusto November 3, 2011, 5:14 pm

    The previous observations are accurate. However in conjunction with the directional arrow other things must be considered….e.g.
    If there was a change of egress (door removal) then does the signs present placement even with directional arrows meet the necessary requirements pursuant to any new travel distances.
    Next..assuming the door was closed off, the sign may need to be aticulated to be seen from both ends of the corridor (it would appear end on in this picture)
    Finally, if the building did not have an emergency back up generator, any new sign would need battery back up capability whereas this “built in” style rarely had that asset.
    Finally…if there was an emg. generator on site then someone should replace the bulbs.

  • Patrick G. Collier - "Irish" November 3, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I concur with my brother inspectors Ken and Fred, plus the sign shall be illuminated for better directional purposes. It must be on an AC generator system as I don’t see a local test button to check the batteries. How about LED technology at this point.

  • Chris M November 3, 2011, 6:01 pm

    I’d order an guess analysis if this was not done by a set of plans. In addition, they would need to obtain a permit for alterations.

    Maybe issuing a ticket for obstructing the means of egress? lol

  • Rich Johnson November 3, 2011, 6:28 pm

    The second part of the question was what if there wasn’t an approved permit for this. This is something that we should ask when we see this in the field. Who are they to tell you the door that was eliminated wasn’t a required exit? That exit sign may actually have been placed there above a door for a reason. Was it to designate a required exit? Did they consider exit travel distance when they decided to have the maintenance guy remove that troublesome door they don’t want employees sneaking out of? For example, I recently inspected a business in a warehouse. Because it was too cold to walk the trash out in the winter they had removed the exit stairs outside of a signed exit door and moved the dumpster up against the building outside the door. Needless to say you wouldn’t want to go out that exit in an emergency. I made them apply for a retroactive building permit which required them to hire an architect to verify in writing that the exit wasn’t required to meet exit travel distance and put it on file with the other plans for the building my city keeps on file. Could I have done this leg work for them? Probably, but I do not have the time to do a code analysis for every yahoo that doesn’t ask ahead of time if they should apply for a building permit before they make building alterations. This happens all the time. Some times out of lack of knowledge about the code and other times deliberately to avoid added costs for actually doing the work to code. Plus by doing this they can’t come back if somebody gets injured or trapped and say Fire Marshal Johnson approved me eliminating a required exit when he wrote the order to just add a directional arrow. I also avoid the possibilty of an attorney asking me on the stand what qualified me to approve an architectural change to the building when I made this decision to allow the elimination of a required exit. Long story short on my warehouse. An architect verified that the elimination of the door was allowed because other doors were still in place that met the exit travel distance. However, now the exit sign is gone and the door is labeled “Not An Exit”.

  • walfredo Velasco Lacsam November 4, 2011, 1:35 am

    I think the picture show there was an alteration “TERMINATION OF EXIT” and that is a violation – – – exceeding the travel distance will cause life threatening to occupants.

  • Jim Yuill November 4, 2011, 7:23 am

    The answer (meeting code) is no. The sign needs to be replaced with a directional arrow identifying the closest compliant exit.

  • arsnman4 November 4, 2011, 8:22 am

    Let us also not forget to examine travel distance……….since it appears that the egress rout has been extended or routed differently one should also evaluate the new travel distances as I’m sure BB was eluding to…..smiles.

  • Mike Lewis November 4, 2011, 9:46 am

    Obvious violation regarding means of egress. Sign needs to be removed if CMU is to remain. Need to know what the building is being used for. Did occupancy change allow the deletion of the meand of egress?

  • chopsnrox November 5, 2011, 2:40 am

    Definitely…verify travel distance first…if appropriate you may add an arrow as appropriate…verify if elimination of exit was allowed…

  • Mark S December 7, 2011, 9:25 am

    Folks we are missing the big picture here. The picture does not contain enough information to make any code judgement what so ever. You have no idea of where it is, what kind of building, the use of the building, exiting and travel distances. It looks like an exit sign mounted in a wall that is not working. Before we go and hang this building owner from the highest yard arm lets get the entire story first. Lets lead with our brains and NOT our violation notices.

  • Tom Jacobs January 4, 2012, 10:17 am

    Mark S, we have enough information to determine that there is no means of egress under that exit sign unless you have a sledgehammer. I believe it is great training to debate all the issues associated with idiots…I mean the uninformed…who keep inspectors employed.

    I do agree that there is more going on here than meets the eye…might be much worse than you can imagine.

Leave a Comment