BCAB #1269 - Single Means of Egress from Mezzanine within a Suite, Sentence 3.4.2.3.(2)

December 17, 1991

BCAB #1269

Re: Single Means of Egress from Mezzanine within a Suite, Sentence 3.4.2.3.(2)

Project Description

An approximately 30' x 40' tenant space in a multi-tenant industrial building. The suite contains a 12' x 40' mezzanine with three offices that is served by a single egress stair which discharges into an office on the main floor. The stair and main floor office are separated from the remainder of the suite by a 3/4hr fire separation. The only exit door from the suite is located in the exterior wall of the main floor office.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.2.3.(2) states that where a room or suite is separated from the remainder of the floor area by at least a 3/4hr fire separation the travel distance to the nearest exit can be measured from the egress door of the room or suite. The suite in question uses this method of measuring travel distance to the single exit from both the main floor and the mezzanine.

Appellant's Position

The appellant feels that his design meets the intent of the Code. He contends that the occupants of the mezzanine are provided with at least the same level of safety as the main floor occupants as far as egress is concerned. The travel distance to the exit from the main floor and mezzanine are similar and because the building official has accepted the main floor egress he should also accept the egress from the mezzanine.

Building Official's Position

The building official disagrees and maintains that the mezzanine occupants are not afforded the same level of safety as the main floor occupants because they must pass through another floor area to reach the exit. The building official is also concerned that the appellant's interpretation of the Code could permit any number of separated suites to egress through each other to an eventual exit.

Appeal Board Decision #1269

It is the determination of the Board that the means of egress from the mezzanine does not conform to the requirements of Sentence 3.4.2.1.(6) because the permitted travel distance to a single exit is exceeded. The Board does not consider that Sentence 3.4.2.3.(2) permits travel distance through a suite to be increased by putting fire separations within the suite and measuring travel distance to the egress door of each fire compartment. Further, the Board does not consider that the lower floor office can be likened to an exit lobby because it contains a use and has a Group F Division 2 occupancy opening onto it which Sentence 3.4.4.1.(6), exits through lobbies, does not permit.

George R. Humphrey, Chair