2015 NFPA 101:18.104.22.168
What is the required minimum clear egress width for the back-bar employee area in a restaurant bar (new construction)?
The way it looks to me (22.214.171.124.1(2)) is the minimum for new construction would be 36". I'm not sure you'd want anything less as you almost lose any space below the waist if the employees cannot easily bend over to get product/supplies, or have two employees pass each other without playing Twister.
@rfdacm02 - Thanks for your response. I agree with you that 36" is supported by the LSC, but there is room for interpretation. The pushback is from our client, who says that 36" is too far for the bartenders to reach between back bar and serving bar. He claims it is inefficient for them to have to take a step and bad ergonomics leading to back pain. He wants it to be 28". His question to me (the architect) is, what is the minimum allowable? This is not an ADA issue because it is an "employee area".
I will approach the AHJ about it but am looking for consensus.
Well it's likely that the client knows best about his servers based on how the bar is set-up. And the citation for 126.96.36.199 stands at 36" minimum.
That said, it does make one ponder that some aisle widths in New Assembly are allowed to be as little as 23" wide and aisle accessways can be even less than that. While it may be apples and oranges, it's still fruit and one might try and establish a case that a limited number of employees that are familiar with the building should be able to utilize a similar space limitation as a group of single event attendees...
I technically agree with rdacm2. However, there may be some latitude for small work spaces.
I am going to say that Chapter 7 of NFPA 101 regulates the exit access from staff work area and believe Section 188.8.131.52.1 may be more applicable to your situation. You can consider additional points access so the 50 ft and six person limits are not exceeded. If were the AHJ willing to consider an 18 inch to 36 inch width a based on Section 184.108.40.206.1:
Excerpt from 2018 NFPA 101:
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