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Section 1027 Exterior Exit Stairways and Ramps

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1027.1 General
Exterior exit stairways and ramps serving as an exit component in a means of egress system shall comply with the requirements of this section.
1027.2 Use in a Means of Egress
Exterior exit 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 stairways and ramps shall be permitted as an element of a required means of egress for buildings not exceeding six stories above grade plane or that are not high-rise buildings.
1027.3 Open Side
Exterior exit stairways and ramps serving as an element of a required means of egress shall be open on not less than one side, except for required structural columns, beams, handrails and guards. An open side shall have not less than 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.
1027.4 Side Yards
The open areas adjoining exterior exit stairways or ramps shall be either yards, courts or public ways; the remaining sides are permitted to be enclosed by the exterior walls of the building.
1027.5 Location
Exterior exit stairways and ramps shall have a minimum fire separation distance of 10 feet (3048 mm) measured at right angles from the exterior edge of the stairway or ramps, including landings, to:
  1. Adjacent lot lines.
  2. Other portions of the building.
  3. Other buildings on the same lot unless the adjacent building exterior walls and openings are protected in accordance with Section 705 based on fire separation distance.
For the purposes of this section, other portions of the building shall be treated as separate buildings.
Exception: Exterior exit stairways and ramps serving individual dwelling units of Group R-3 shall have a minimum fire separation distance of 5 feet (1525 mm).
1027.6 Exterior Exit Stairway and Ramp Protection
Exterior exit stairways and ramps shall be separated from the interior of the building as required in Section 1023.2. Openings shall be limited to those necessary for egress from normally occupied spaces. Where a vertical plane projecting from the edge of an exterior exit stairway or ramp and landings is exposed by other parts of the building at an angle of less than 180 degrees (3.14 rad), the exterior wall shall be rated in accordance with Section 1023.7.
Exceptions:
  1. 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 not more than two stories above grade plane where a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies is the first story above grade plane.
  2. Separation from the interior of the building is not required where the exterior exit stairway or ramp is served by an exterior exit ramp or balcony that connects two remote exterior exit stairways or other approved exits with a perimeter that is not less than 50 percent open. To be considered open, the opening shall be not less than 50 percent of the height of the enclosing wall, with the top of the openings not less than 7 feet (2134 mm) above the top of the balcony.
  3. Separation from the open-ended corridor of the building is not required for exterior exit stairways or ramps, provided that Items 3.1 through 3.5 are met:
    1. The building, including open-ended corridors, and stairways and ramps, shall be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2.
    2. The open-ended corridors comply with Section 1020.
    3. The open-ended corridors are connected on each end to an exterior exit stairway or ramp complying with Section 1027.
    4. The exterior walls and openings adjacent to the exterior exit stairway or ramp comply with Section 1023.7.
    5. 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 stairway or ramp shall be provided. Where clear openings are provided, they shall be located so as to minimize the accumulation of smoke or toxic gases.
  4. In Group R-3 occupancies not more than four stories in height, exterior exit stairways and ramps serving individual dwelling units are not required to be separated from the interior of the building where the exterior exit stairway or ramp discharges directly to grade.

Related Code Sections

1027.1 Means of Egress, Exterior Exit Stairways and Ramps
Exterior exit stairways and ramps serving as an element of a required means of egress shall comply with this section ...
Section 1027 Means of Egress, Exterior Exit Stairways and Ramps
Exterior exit stairways and ramps serving as an exit component in a means of egress system shall comply with the requirements of this section ...
1027.4 Means of Egress, Side Yards
The open areas adjoining exterior exit stairways or ramps shall be either yards, courts or public ways; the remaining sides are permitted ...
1027.4 Means of Egress, Side Yards
The open areas adjoining exterior exit stairways or ramps shall be either yards, courts or public ways; the remaining sides are permitted ...
1027.2 Means of Egress, Use in a Means of Egress
I-2, exterior exit stairways and ramps shall be permitted as an element of a required means of egress for buildings not exceeding six stories above ...