BCAB #1405dou - Impeded Egress Zone, Sentence

October 18, 1995

BCAB #1405

Re: Impeded Egress Zone, Sentence

Project Description

The project in question is a three storey intermediate care facility for 26 residents who are housed in 13 bedrooms on each of the top two floors. The majority of the residents suffer from dementing illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and it is considered necessary to confine them to supervised areas. It is proposed to achieve this by designating the floor areas as impeded egress zones and locking the exit doors as permitted by Sentence

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires exit doors to be "readily opened without requiring keys, special devices or specialized knowledge" except that this does not apply to "doors designed to be remotely released in conformance with Article serving an impeded egress zone." Sentence details how these doors can be released by security personnel.

Appellant's Position

The appellant considers the floor areas conform to the definition of an impeded egress zone and should, therefore, be permitted to have locked exit doors conforming to Sentence

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that impeded egress zones relate to Group B Division 1 occupancies where the occupants are under legal restraint. The definition refers to security personnel, not medical staff such as nurses found in intermediate care facility. Also, Article refers to exemption of an impeded egress zone from the requirements of a Group B Division 1 occupancy if certain limitations are placed on it. Based on the above the building official does not consider the floor areas of a Group B Division 2 intermediate care facility to qualify as impeded egress zones and the exit doors cannot be locked except in full compliance with Sentence dealing with electromagnetic door locks.

Appeal Board Decision #1405

The building under appeal is classified as a Group B Division 2 major occupancy. Should the occupants of the building be detained, such as by means of an impeded egress zone, the occupancy classification would change to Group B Division 1 in conformance with Sentence and Table 3.1.2.A. unless the exception provided by Sentence can be applied. Sentence lists a number of restrictions, one of which is that the building not exceed one storey in building height. As the building in question is three storeys high the exception provided by Sentence is not applicable. Therefore, it is the determination of the Board that unless the building can conform to the requirements for a Group B Division 1 major occupancy it cannot contain an impeded egress zone.

George R. Humphrey, Chair