Exterior exit ramps and stairways shall not be used as an element of a required means of egress for Group I-2 occupancies. For occupancies in other than Group I-2, exterior exit ramps and stairways shall be permitted as an element of a required means of egress for buildings not exceeding six stories above grade plane or having occupied floors more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.
Exterior exit ramps and stairways serving as an element of a required means of egress shall be open on at least one side. An open side shall have a minimum of 35 square feet (3.3 m2) of aggregate open area adjacent to each floor level and the level of each intermediate landing. The required open area shall be located not less than 42 inches (1067 mm) above the adjacent floor or landing level.
Exterior exit ramps and stairways shall be separated from the interior of the building as required in Section 1020.1. Openings shall be limited to those necessary for egress from normally occupied spaces.
- Separation from the interior of the building is not required for occupancies, other than those in Group R-1 or R-2, in buildings that are no more than two stories above grade plane where the level of exit discharge is the first story above grade plane.
- Separation from the interior of the building is not required where the exterior ramp or stairway is served by an exterior ramp and/or balcony that connects two remote exterior stairways or other approved exits with a perimeter that is not less than 50 percent open. To be considered open, the opening shall be a minimum of 50 percent of the height of the enclosing wall, with the top of the openings no less than 7 feet (2134 mm) above the top of the balcony.
- Separation from the interior of the building is not required for an exterior ramp or stairway located in a building or structure that is permitted to have unenclosed interior stairways in accordance with Section 1020.1.
- Separation from the interior of the building is not required for exterior ramps or stairways connected to open-ended corridors, provided that Items 4.1 through 4.4 are met:
- The building, including corridors and ramps and/or stairs, shall be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2.
- The open-ended corridors comply with Section 1017.
- The open-ended corridors are connected on each end to an exterior exit ramp or stairway complying with Section 1023.
- At any location in an open-ended corridor where a change of direction exceeding 45 degrees (0.79 rad) occurs, a clear opening of not less than 35 square feet (3.3 m2) or an exterior ramp or stairway shall be provided. Where clear openings are provided, they shall be located so as to minimize the accumulation of smoke or toxic gases.