Accessible Means of Egress

Thursday, November 4, 2021
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


Building and life safety codes require that facilities provide accessible means of egress so that all people, including those with disabilities, can relocate and evacuate in a timely and safe manner. The 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards reference the International Building Code (IBC) for accessible means of egress. In this session, an International Code Council representative and Access Board staff will provide an overview of the minimum technical requirements for accessible means of egress in the IBC, including criteria for emergency evacuation for people with disabilities, evacuation planning, alarms, evacuation route inside and outside of the building, and signage. Presenters will also address frequently asked questions and common sources of confusion about accessible means of egress. This webinar will include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5
LA CES 1.5


Bill Botten, Training Coordinator, Senior Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Kim Paarlberg, Senior Staff Architect in Technical Services, International Code Council (ICC)

Questions for presenters:

1 Please detail the main differences between IBC 2003 and IBC 2018 Accessible Means of Egress requirements?
2 Are compliant door maneuvering clearances required at all doors into or out of egress stairwells.
3 What about AME for alterations, as this can become a very thorny issue? Particularly buildings that were built at a period of time that was required to comply with AME provisions, however the alteration provisions in the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) do not require AME for alterations. For a "place of public accommodation", where an alteration is NOT required to provide AME and AME is NOT provided as part of the alteration, where it previously existed and was demolished, would this not be classified as being non-compliant with the ADA Title III, notably subpart 'B', section 36.211 (maintenance of accessible features) found in 28 CFR Part 36?
4 As for section 210 Stairways in the 2010 ADA Standards, what is meant by the phrase "interior and exterior stairs that are part of a means of egress"? The IBC and many Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), in general, have identified that any stair at any location, whether it is a monumental stair, a convenience stair (both, now, effectively classified as "exit access stairways"), or an enclosed exit stair tower, are means of egress components, particularly given that when an occupant is standing on it and the fire alarm goes off, the stair is now part of the means of egress. Does the Access Board concur with this approach, or does the Access Board utilize some other means of determining what represents stairs used as means of egress?
5 The definition of circulation path found in the 2010 ADA Standards (ADAS) includes stairways, does this mean that any and all stairways, including exit stairways that ARE and ARE NOT classified as accessible means of egress components are required to comply with section 307 of ADAS, and not have protruding objects, including sprinkler/standpipe apparatuses? In a past Access Board webinar, the Access Board identified sprinkler/standpipe apparatuses as being non-compliant with section 307. For Kim Paarlberg, would this not be the same issue for compliance with the IBC and ICC A117.1, although the IBC definition for circulation path in Chapter 2 does not identify stairways, however is very, very broad?
6 For enclosed exit stairs that utilize low gates to prevent egressing individuals within the stairs from going beyond the level of exit discharge (while also allowing individuals from stories below the level of exit discharge to reach the level of exit discharge): Where exit stairs with these gates are classified AS AME components or NOT, are the gates within the stairwell required to comply with the accessibility provisions for manual gates found in section 404 (notably clear width, opening force, maneuvering clearances, closing speed, etc.), particularly because of the stairway scoping provisions found in ADAS section 210?
7 The 2010 ADA Standards (ADAS) for Accessible Design scoping requirements for Accessible Means of Egress (AME) found in section 207, defer to the AME provisions found in two specifically identified editions of the International Building Code (IBC) (refer to the advisory for 105.2.4 on page 43 of ADAS). However, section 210 in ADAS identifies that interior and exterior stairs used for egress (with several exceptions) are required to comply with ADAS provisions for stairways. Could you clarify the relationship/intent between sections 207 and 210 as there appear to be some potential conflicting issues, particularly with IBC requirements for AME. Refer to a continuation of this question that contains an example:
8 Continued from my previous question: Example; in buildings subject to the ADA & +4 stories in height (and meeting some other criteria), where the elevator is required by IBC to be an AME component, section 210 of ADAS mandates that ALL enclosed exit stairs in the building (including 1 of the 2 exit stairs at an individual floor that may NOT necessarily be designated as an AME component) be designed to comply with stairs section 210 of ADAS. Additionally, for enclosed exit stairs that are classified as AME components per IBC, there are some accessibility consultants who do not believe that that these AME stairs are subject to the accessibility provisions for stairs found in section 504 of ICC A117.1-2009. Could you please address this issue, if possible, and clarify the intent regarding applicable technical accessibility requirements for stairs that are both AME components and just, regular egress components?
9 2010 ADAS only identifies the 2000 and 2003 editions of the IBC as the acceptable edition for the purposes of AME compliance. Are other editions of the IBC, such as 2015 and 2018 deemed by the Access Board, and more importantly the U.S. Department of Justice as being compliant with 2010 ADAS?
10 What is my right as a wheelchair user in evacuation from a multilevel office building? Am I required to remain in elevator lobby while all my co-workers exit via the stairwell? Can I demand evacuation via an evacuation chair instead of being required to sit and wait for assistance? My company tells me the stairwell is too narrow to allow for the safe operation of an evacuation chair while at the same time others are ambulating to exit using the stairwell. What are my rights as a person with a disability?
11 There are a number of construction issues particularly in fire egress stairs in terms of getting a consistent height for risers, tread depth, handrail height, and then if the tread is sloping for drainage. What is the variable allowed in fire egress stairs vs entry and other circulation stairs?
12 Please clarify whether door maneuvering clearance is required on the interior side of Employee Work Areas less than 1000 square feet. Employee work areas are required to provide approach, entry, and exit. However - in employee work areas less than 1000 square feet, the common use circulation paths are not required to be accessible routes. Doesn't this exception mean that, in employee work areas less than 1000 square feet, the egress route from the employee work area is not required to include door maneuvering clearance?
13 How accessible egress requirement is full fill to Multi dwellings with scissor stairs which are under the BC exception in NYC for the riser and treads.
14 This is not so much a means of egress but a ADA/ABA implementation question. What is the requirement in ADA/ABA/IBC for accessible sinks in Healthcare occupancies, ambulatory and Non ambulatory. All areas that are available to the public like toilet rooms will have to comply of course, but what about sinks to be used by clinical staff with in controlled clinical environments where staff work as well as breakrooms.
15 Other that switch back conditions, is there a time where a handrail extension can return 90 degrees?
16 Is the 12" of horizontal handrail extension requirement inclusive of the rail return to the wall - provided that the entire 12" are horizontal to the ground surface?
17 Under Section 505.10.3, the bottom of stair handrail extension must be at least equal to one tread depth. The use of "at least" implies that this is a minimum dimension. However, there's the word equal. Can you clarify is this dimension is an exact dimension or a minimum?
18 What is the construction tolerance between riser heights, tread depths and slope of rails and ramps. How uniform are they to be knowing that unless this is a prefab product, there will be variations within the same stair, ramp, handrail.
19 If stair/steps are part of the accessible route, are they required to provide compliant handrails, regardless of height? Are 1 or 2 steps within the accessible route subject to the handrail criteria?

Session Questions

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