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Technical Advisory

The following advice applies to current code and conditions described in the question. Applications for similar situations may have different determinations.
 
PROGRAM: Structural Program
SUBJECT: Panic Hardware in Group E Occupancies 
SOURCE: 1996 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)
REFERENCE: Section 1017.11
DATE OF ISSUE: August 22, 1996
PREPARED BY: C. Darin Wilson, P.E., Code Specialist, (503) 373-1354
   
QUESTION: In Group E Occupancies, is panic hardware required on exit doors from rooms having an occupant load of less than 50 when the room can be accessed from an adjacent room so that the combined rooms have an occupant load of 50 or more?

DETERMINATION: In an individual room of a Group E Occupancy having an occupant load of less than 50, that can be accessed by an adjacent room so that the combined rooms have an occupant load of 50 or more, staff advises that the following provisions are applicable:

  1. If the adjacent room accesses the individual room in order to provide a required exit, then the combined occupant load of both rooms is used in determining panic hardware requirements. In such a case, panic hardware is required because the total cumulative occupant load served by the exit door is 50 or more.
  2. If the adjacent room has separate required exits and accesses the individual room for reasons other than as a required exit, then only the occupant load of the individual room is used to determine panic hardware requirements. In such a case, panic hardware is NOT required because the total required occupant load served by the exit door is less than 50.
ANALYSIS: The determinations above result from staff review and analysis of OSSC Chapter 10, as follows: (ICBO orally agrees with the staff advisory.)
  1. OSSC Section 1002.1.2 requires that the occupant load be determined by dividing the floor area by the occupant load factor in Table 10-A.
  2. OSSC Section 1003.1 requires that every building, or usable portion thereof, be provided with at least one exit, not less than two exits when required by Table 10-A, and additional exits when required by that section.
  3. OSSC Section 1003.5 allows rooms to have one required exit that passes through an adjoining room. When this situation occurs, the occupant load accumulates so that the cumulative occupant load is considered at the exit door.
  4. OSSC Section 1017.11 requires that in Group E Occupancies, exit doors from rooms having an occupant load of 50 or more shall be provided with panic hardware.
Note: This advisory is equally applicable to 1993 OSSC Chapter 33.