AnsweredAssumed Answered

How to interpret stair on path of exit access?

Question asked by kmr on Oct 30, 2017
Latest reply on Oct 30, 2017 by kmr

Please help! I have a two level restaurant project, fully sprinklered, with an unprotected stair connecting the second level down to the first where we have doors serving as the "exit" out to public right of way at grade. All travel distances in the project are well under the allowable 250'. So we view the interior stair as a component of exit access, leading to the exit doors at grade. However, the fire plan reviewer is trying to force us to construct the interior stair that ias fully enclosed, protected, "exit stair" rather than part of exit access. Any advice on how to counter this argument? Or am I completely in the wrong? More code references that have led me to my interpretations are provided below. And for reference we have a second stair serving the upstairs that is on exterior of the building and exits directly to the public right of way.


  • Inside stairs, other than those serving as an exit, shall be protected in accordance with section 8.6.  
  • PER 8.6.1(2); Floor smoke barriers shall be permitted to have openings as described by 8.6.6, 8.6.7, 8.6.8, 8.6.9, or Chapters 11-43.
  • PER 12.3.1(3) Assembly occupancy protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with section 9.7 shall be permitted to have unprotected vertical openings between any two adjacent floors, provided that such openings are separated from unprotected vertical openings serving other floors by a barrier complying with 8.6.5.
  • PER Appendix A, A3.3.285: Vertical openings might include such items as stairways; hoistways for elevators, dumbwaiters, and inclined and vertical conveyors; shaftways used for light, ventilation or building services; or expansion joints and seismic joints used to allow structural movements.