When are Single Means of Egress Accepted?

By Bruno Caligara

Depending on the occupancy and the building height, the DOB will allow for a single means of egress. The age of the building also has something to do with it.

Most buildings that have these requests were constructed prior to 1968, and thus compliant with the 1968 Building Code. The 1968 Building Code section 27-366 talks about this requirement and also give an explanation of what special circumstances that would allow for one egress exit.  Occupancies such as J-1/R-1, J-2/R-2, or E/B, depending on Building Height, # of stories, footplate size, travel distance, construction classification and life safety systems that will allow for a single egress stair.

As a general guideline, if most of the building’s occupancy is at the first floor, then 1 egress door has a chance for approval.  When it comes all other floors,  including the cellar, or floors 2 and up, typically 2 means of egress separate from each other are required. In some cases, approval could be granted provided that the proposed plans do not decrease the existing life safety of the buildings occupants.

Metropolis Group can provide specific advice on when this can be applied with a full review of the plans on how to achieve this exception.