NYC EGRESS - Pre-existing residential and mixed use buildings.
We have been contacted by our insurance broker stating that our buildings do not meet current NFPA 101 life safety code requirements. We have a mixed use building that is three stories. We have a retail deli on the first floor and two apartments above (one on each floor). We are being told that we need a secondary means of egress. We have never been asked to put on a fire escape in the past. Our building is brick and wood and is being referred to as "Joisted Masonry".
Our other building was inspected and as a result the company is asking for the same secondary egress to be installed. This building is only a two story building and consists only of four apartments; two on each floor. This building is wood - not brick.
The exact wording is as follows:
The exit stairway is separated from the remainder of the building by a fire barrier with at least a one-hour fire resistance rating, including one-hour rated fire doors at the top and bottom of the stairway; corridors leading to the exit stairway have at least a ½-hour fire rating; all apartment floors, walls and ceilings have at least a ½-hour fire rating; and, the exit stairway does not serve more than one-half of a story below the level of unit discharge.
I've looked online at the NFPA 101 life safety code and I am having a hard time understanding the last part of this recommendation: the exit stairway does not serve more than one half of a story below the level of unit discharge. Can anyone explain exactly what that means?
Thank you in advance for your help.