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7.8 Means of Egress

General. The egress requirements in NFPA 101 shall be used in lieu of the egress requirements in the International Building Code.

Special Requirements. The requirements below supersede the requirements of the NFPA 101:

  • In buildings that are fully sprinklered, 1-hour fire rated corridors shall not be required.
  • In buildings that are fully sprinklered, enclosure of the elevator lobbies shall not be required.
  • Interlocking (scissor) stairs that occupy a single (communicating) stair shaft shall count as only one exit stair. A minimum of two exit stairs is required for any multi-story building.
  • For common paths of travel and dead end corridors, GSA permits the NFPA 101 exceptions for sprinkler protection to apply to fully sprinklered individual floors, even if the other floors of the building are not sprinklered.

Fire Escapes. Fire escapes, as defined in the NFPA 101, shall not be considered approved exits.

Stairway Pressurization. In fully sprinklered new construction having occupied floors located more than 75 feet above the level of exit discharge or more than 30 feet below the level of exit discharge, exit stairways shall be pressurized in accordance with the requirements of the International Building Code.

Stair Identification Signs. In addition to meeting the requirements of the NFPA 101, the stair identification signs shall meet the following requirements:

The signs shall have a background made of photoluminescent material complying with ASTM E 2072-00 as a minimum standard.

  • The signs shall be a minimum size of 12 inches by 12 inches.
  • The large letter and number type shall be a minimum of 1-1/2 inches tall.
  • The small letter and number type shall be a minimum of 9/16" tall.
  • The directional arrows shall be a minimum of 1-3/8 inches tall.
  • Letters and numbers on the signs shall have a width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1; and a stroke width-to-height ratio between 1:5 and 1:10.

For projects in historic structures, the design team shall consult with the Regional Historic Preservation Officer regarding these requirements.

Stair Treads. In addition to meeting the requirements of the NFPA 101, stair treads shall incorporate photoluminescent paint or adhesive strips that are to be applied to the leading edge of the stair tread. Photoluminescent materials shall comply with ASTM E 2072-00 as a minimum standard. For projects in historic structures, the design team shall consult with the Regional Historic Preservation Officer regarding these requirements.


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