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  1. #1
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    Default Exit sign placement, consultation versus design professional

    New FI here, go easy on me as I'm trying to learn and do things correctly.

    I performed an inspection of a large 100k+ M Occupancy this week. Among many other problems, I noticed that exit signs were not visible from most of the occupancy. Exit signs were only placed above the doors themselves, there is no other indicator in any aisles of which direction of travel should be taken to the nearest exit.

    I believe I should note it as a violation and refer the property owner to contact a design professional to assist them in proper placement of the exit signage.

    However, does anyone else think it should be up to me to tell them where to place the signage? Yes, ultimately the FI has the final say if something is acceptable or not, I understand.

    I don't believe it's our responsibility to design it for them, just approve it, mostly for liability sake.

    Opinions?

    Thanks in advance!



    BTW- Using 2006 IFC


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Before you paper them, can you cite chapter and verse the specific requirement out of the 2006 IFC they have violated?

    Is this new construction or an existing occupancy that has been previously inspected and approved by one of your predecessors?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  3. #3
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    I would not require a person to be able to see an exit sign from everywhere in a building.

    If they hit the main aisles and cannot see one, then yes they should add.

    What building and fire code do you use and edition????

    from the 2006 IBC


    SECTION 1011 EXIT SIGNS

    1011.1 Where required.

    Exits and exit access doors shall be marked by an approved exit sign readily visible from any direction of egress travel. Access to exits shall be marked by readily visible exit signs in cases where the exit or the path of egress travel is not immediately visible to the occupants. Exit sign placement shall be such that no point in a corridor is more than 100 feet (30 480 mm) or the listed viewing distance for the sign, whichever is less, from the nearest visible exit sign.

    Exceptions:


    1. Exit signs are not required in rooms or areas that require only one exit or exit access.
    2. Main exterior exit doors or gates that are obviously and clearly identifiable as exits need not have exit signs where approved by the building official.
    3. Exit signs are not required in occupancies in Group U and individual sleeping units or dwelling units in Group R-1, R-2 or R-3.
    4. Exit signs are not required in sleeping areas in occupancies in Group I-3.
    5. In occupancies in Groups A-4 and A-5, exit signs are not required on the seating side of vomitories or openings into seating areas where exit signs are provided in the concourse that are readily apparent from the vomitories. Egress lighting is provided to identify each vomitory or opening within the seating area in an emergency.


    My suggestion is meet with the building offical and walk the place, and let him give you some advice on exit sign placement

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    I would not require a person to be able to see an exit sign from everywhere in a building.

    If they hit the main aisles and cannot see one, then yes they should add.

    What building and fire code do you use and edition????

    from the 2006 IBC


    SECTION 1011 EXIT SIGNS

    1011.1 Where required.

    Exits and exit access doors shall be marked by an approved exit sign readily visible from any direction of egress travel. Access to exits shall be marked by readily visible exit signs in cases where the exit or the path of egress travel is not immediately visible to the occupants. Exit sign placement shall be such that no point in a corridor is more than 100 feet (30 480 mm) or the listed viewing distance for the sign, whichever is less, from the nearest visible exit sign.

    Exceptions:


    1. Exit signs are not required in rooms or areas that require only one exit or exit access.
    2. Main exterior exit doors or gates that are obviously and clearly identifiable as exits need not have exit signs where approved by the building official.
    3. Exit signs are not required in occupancies in Group U and individual sleeping units or dwelling units in Group R-1, R-2 or R-3.
    4. Exit signs are not required in sleeping areas in occupancies in Group I-3.
    5. In occupancies in Groups A-4 and A-5, exit signs are not required on the seating side of vomitories or openings into seating areas where exit signs are provided in the concourse that are readily apparent from the vomitories. Egress lighting is provided to identify each vomitory or opening within the seating area in an emergency.


    My suggestion is meet with the building offical and walk the place, and let him give you some advice on exit sign placement

    To answer a couple of points quickly...

    This is an existing structure, it was built circa 1993. The occupant has changed several times, but the occupancy classification has stayed the same and there have been no structural updates. Therefore, technically speaking, I believe the code that was in effect at the time the structure was originally built (circa 1993) would be the code to cite, however determining exactly what code was in effect at that time is tricky as I'm pretty sure no one has any idea.

    Yes, the structure was inspected by my predecessor 3 years prior at the C of O of the new occupant. To clarify, we do not issue any permits or issues any fines/citations unless an occupant blatantly refuses to cooperate. 99% of the occupants I've worked with thus far have all wanted to make any correction. However, even if it was inspected by someone from my Department, that's not to say that they may have not caught a problem, or may not have known what they were looking at and therefore we are having to come back and catch some of these occupancies up where they should be.

    Yes, before I put anything any paper, I am sure I can quote the specific code. I am currently working on our firehouse software to be able to reference those codes for time saving purposes.

    As for the code quoted above, that is the specific code I was referencing regarding signage. However, what if your definition of "any direction of egress travel". I wish I had a map of the property to serve as more of a visual. The aisles are approximately 200+ feet in length before you hit another perpendicular "main" aisle. If you are in any of the 200+ aisles, you can't see any signage.

    I suppose it's a matter of interpretation?

    I appreciate the quick replies, and helpful insight. Again, I'm learning and willing to listen to what anyone has to say.

    The bad thing about my situation, and I know this sounds arrogant and I don't mean it to be, is that I don't have much confidence to the building department, I've seen some blatant errors in exit signage such as allowing non illuminate (internal or external) 1" exit signs to serve as primary exit signage on a couple of occupancies.

  5. #5
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    Sounds good, I know what you mean by the building dept

    But normally there is at least one person that has some code sense, that is who I get with

    As far as the aisles, think about it

    Even if the aisle is 200 feet. There are only two ways to go, and either way should lead you to a main aisle which should lead you to an exit

    You can always highly suggest to an owner to install more signs

    Or if there is another c of o write the requirement and if they call you on it, turn it back into a suggestion

    Do you mind saying what state you are in????

  6. #6
    Forum Member bcjack's Avatar
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    What state are you in??

    Here in CA, the Building Official is responsible for exiting (layout and signs) and we just enforce the maintenance of what is there.

    I refrain from telling a building owner where to put anything (exit signs, extinguishers...) as that is the job of their architect. If you tell them to put something in a particular place, and the **** hits the fan, you and your agency can be held liable because you, as an "expert" told them where/how to place the item. We APPROVE/DISAPPROVE an item as proposed by the owner (through his/her architect), we don't do design work.

    Being the "Nice Guy" will get you screwed in the long run more often than not, and "working outside of the scope of your employment" will put the liability directly on you.

    NOTE: I am not an attorney and this post is my opinion based on 38 years of experience, 28 of which was serving as Fire Marshal and Fire Chief. It is not to be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion in any manner.
    Last edited by bcjack; 11-18-2012 at 10:17 PM. Reason: Legal disclaimer added.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    What state are you in??

    Here in CA, the Building Official is responsible for exiting (layout and signs) and we just enforce the maintenance of what is there.

    I refrain from telling a building owner where to put anything (exit signs, extinguishers...) as that is the job of their architect. If you tell them to put something in a particular place, and the **** hits the fan, you and your agency can be held liable because you, as an "expert" told them where/how to place the item. We APPROVE/DISAPPROVE an item as proposed by the owner (through his/her architect), we don't do design work.

    Being the "Nice Guy" will get you screwed in the long run more often than not, and "working outside of the scope of your employment" will put the liability directly on you.

    NOTE: I am not an attorney and this post is my opinion based on 38 years of experience, 28 of which was serving as Fire Marshal and Fire Chief. It is not to be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion in any manner.
    I agree with giving approval versus disapproval in this case and any case. I refrain from giving specific recommendations for compliance other than typically contacting a qualified contractor, for whatever the work may be.

    I suppose I needed a reminder to refrain from giving a customer specific steps for corrective action, as much as I hate to admit that.

    Fire49; you make a good point about the aisles, I suppose being new and on the path to learning I didn't think of the aisles from that perspective. I read that section of the code to be rather subjective and, unfortunately, widely open to interpretation.

    Just FYI, this specific section of the IBC/IFC has not been amended by the state adoption.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    What state are you in??

    Here in CA, the Building Official is responsible for exiting (layout and signs) and we just enforce the maintenance of what is there.

    I refrain from telling a building owner where to put anything (exit signs, extinguishers...) as that is the job of their architect. If you tell them to put something in a particular place, and the **** hits the fan, you and your agency can be held liable because you, as an "expert" told them where/how to place the item. We APPROVE/DISAPPROVE an item as proposed by the owner (through his/her architect), we don't do design work.

    Being the "Nice Guy" will get you screwed in the long run more often than not, and "working outside of the scope of your employment" will put the liability directly on you.

    NOTE: I am not an attorney and this post is my opinion based on 38 years of experience, 28 of which was serving as Fire Marshal and Fire Chief. It is not to be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion in any manner.

    I kind of agree not to be in the design business

    But if you are looking at new construction, most architects will not come to the site to discuss exit sign placement.
    I have no problem pointing and saying place an exit sign there

  9. #9
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Agreed that we are not in the business of designing it for them; however in this case I have to ask- where was the building department when the new occupants moved in? Do they not require a U & O inspection prior to opening the doors for business? In my world (Pa.) we require a U & O that consists of (at the least) floor plans consisting of existing and proposed for ALL commercial spaces being moved into (Act 45, the Pa. UCC) prior to occupancy, and then an inspection after fixtures and stock is moved in, but prior to opening for business. The lack of EXIT signage would have been caught at the review, or worst-case at the move-in inspection.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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