Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Amended Coun. J. 2-19-20, p. 14474.

This chapter provides minimum standards for fire safety and fire protection systems in existing structures and outdoor areas.

Existing buildings must comply with not less than the minimum provisions specified in Table 14X-5-501.2. The provisions of this chapter do not allow the elimination of fire protection systems or a reduction in the level of fire safety provided in existing structures constructed in accordance with requirements in effect at the time of construction.

Exceptions:

  1. Where an alteration has been permitted in accordance with the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code.
  2. Group U occupancies.

Table 14X-5-501.2

OCCUPANCY- AND USE-BASED REQUIREMENTSa

SECTION USE OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATION
High-rise Atrium A B E F H-1 H-2 H-3 H-4 H-5 I-1 I-2 I-3 I-4 M R-1 R-2 R-3 R-4 R-5 S
502.2 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.3 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.4 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.5 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.6 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.7.1 R
502.7.2 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.7.3 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.7.4 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.7.5 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.7.6 R R
502.8 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
502.9 R
504.1 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
504.2.1 R
504.2.2 R
504.2.3 R
504.2.4 R
504.2.5 R R
504.2.6 R
504.2.7 R R
504.2.8 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
504.2.9 R
504.3.1 R
504.3.2 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
504.3.3 R
504.4.1 R
504.4.2 R
504.4.3 R R R R
504.4.4 R
504.5 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
504.6.1 R
504.6.2 R
504.6.3 R R R R
504.6.4 R R R
504.6.5 R R R R
504.6.6 R
504.6.7 R
504.7 R
504.8 R R R R R R
504.9 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
505 R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
506 R

R = The building is required to comply.

  1. Existing buildings must comply with the sections identified as "Required" based on occupancy classification or use, or both, whichever is applicable.
Historic buildings may develop a fire protection plan in accordance with NFPA 914 and provide alternative means of fire safety where approved by the building official or fire code official.
Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.
Amended Coun. J. 2-19-20, p. 14474.
Amended Coun. J. 10-7-20, p. 21791.
This section governs maintenance of the materials, systems, and assemblies used for structural fire resistance and fire-resistance-rated construction, separation of adjacent spaces to safeguard against the spread of fire and smoke within a structure, and the spread of fire to or from separate structures.
Where any components of a structure are not maintained and do not function as intended or do not have the fire resistance required by the code under which the structure was constructed or altered, such components are unsafe. Components determined to be unsafe must be repaired.

The required fire-resistance rating of fire-resistance-rated construction, including walls, firestops, shaft enclosures, partitions, smoke barriers, floors, fire-resistive coatings, sprayed fire-resistant materials applied to structural members, and fire-resistant joint systems, mustbe maintained. Such elements must be visually inspected annually by the owner and repaired where damaged, altered, breached, or penetrated. Records of inspections and repairs must be maintained by the owner. Where concealed, such elements are not required to be visually inspected unless the concealed space can be accessed by the removal or movement of a panel, access door, or ceiling tile or entry to the space.

Required fire blocking and draft stopping in combustible concealed spaces must be maintained to provide continuity and integrity of the construction.
Required smoke barriers must be maintained to prevent the passage of smoke. Openings protected with smoke barrier doors or smoke dampers must be maintained in accordance with NFPA 105.
Required fire walls, fire barriers, and fire partitions must be maintained to prevent the passage of fire. Openings protected with doors or fire dampers must be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80.
Openings in fire-resistance rated construction made for the passage of pipes, electrical conduit, wires, ducts, air transfer, and any other reason must be protected with materials and methods capable of resisting the passage of smoke and fire in accordance with the Chicago Building Code.
Opening protectives must be maintained in working condition in accordance with NFPA 80. The application of field-applied labels associated with the maintenance of opening protectives must follow the requirements of the third-party certification organization accredited for listing the opening protective. Fire doors and smoke barrier doors may not be blocked, obstructed, or otherwise made inoperable. Fusible links must be replaced whenever fused or damaged. Fire door assemblies may not be modified.
Hold open devices and closers must be provided and maintained in accordance with Sections 14X-5-502.4.1.1 through 14X-5-502.4.1.3.
In residential buildings with more than four stories above grade plane, doors connecting dwelling units and sleeping units to public corridors must be equipped with self-closing devices.
In congregate living facilities and residential occupancies with community bathrooms, irrespective of height, doors connecting dwelling units and sleeping units to public areas and public corridors must be equipped with self-closing devices.
Hold-open devices and closers must be maintained. During the period that any hold-open device or closer is out of service for repairs, the door it operates must remain in the closed position.
Swinging fire doors must be able to close from the full-open position and latch automatically. The door closer must exert enough force to close and latch the door from any partially-open position.
The hanging and displaying of goods and decorative materials from acoustical ceiling systems that are part of a fire-resistance-rated horizontal assembly is prohibited.
Horizontal and vertical sliding or rolling fire doors must be inspected and tested annually to confirm operation and full closure. Records of inspections and testing must be maintained by the owner.
Interior vertical openings, including stairways, elevator hoistways, and service and utility shafts, that connect two or more stories, must be enclosed or protected as specified in Sections 14X-5-502.7.1 through 14X-5-502.7.6.

In Group I-2 occupancies, interior vertical openings connecting two or more stories must be protected with 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction.

Exception: Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code for new construction or conditions permitted under the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code.

In other than Group I-2 occupancies, interior vertical openings connecting three to five stories must be protected by either 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction or an automatic sprinkler system must be installed throughout the building in accordance with the Chicago Building Code.

Exceptions:

  1. Vertical opening protection is not required for Group R-3 and R-5 occupancies.
  2. Vertical opening protection is not required within parking garages and parking facilities.
  3. Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code for new construction or conditions permitted under the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code.

In all occupancies, interior vertical openings connecting more than five stories must be protected by 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction.

Exceptions:

  1. Vertical opening protection is not required for Group R-3 and R-5 occupancies.
  2. Vertical opening protection is not required within parking garages and parking facilities.
  3. Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code for new construction or conditions permitted under the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code.
Existing waste and linen chutes must comply with this section.
Chutes must be enclosed with 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction. Opening protectives must be provided in accordance with Section 716 of the Chicago Building Code and have a fire protection rating of not less than 1 hour.
Where intake to chutes is direct from a corridor, the intake opening must be equipped with a chute-intake door in accordance with Section 716 of the Chicago Building Code and having a fire protection rating of not less than 1 hour.
Where the intake to chutes is accessed through a chute-intake room, the room must be enclosed with 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction. Opening protectives for the intake room must be provided in accordance with Section 716 of the Chicago Building Code and have a fire protection rating of not less than 3/4 hour. Opening protectives for the chute enclosure must be in accordance with Section 14X-5-502.7.4.2.1.
Existing flue-fed incinerator rooms and associated flue shafts must be protected with 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction and must not have other vertical openings connected with the space other than the associated flue. Opening protectives must be provided in accordance with Section 716 of the Chicago Building Code and have a fire protection rating of not less than 1 hour.
In congregate living facilities and residential occupancies with community bathrooms, exit stairways must be enclosed in construction of 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction and all openings to exit stairway enclosures must be protected with self-closing 90-minute rated opening protectives.
Where openings are required to be protected, opening protectives must be maintained self-closing or automatic-closing by smoke detection. Existing fusible-link-type automatic door-closing devices must be replaced if the fusible link rating exceeds 135°F (57°C).
Where fire shields are provided to protect openings of balconies or vestibules in existing smokeproof towers, the fire shields must comply with Sections 14X-5-502.9.1 through 14X-5-502.9.4.
Fire shields must comply with all applicable requirements for opening protectives in Chapter 14B-7.
Fire shields must have an opening sash having a clear area not less than one-half the area of the exit doors leading from the buildings to the vestibule or balcony and must be located not less than four feet (1219 mm) above the floor and not more than six inches (152 mm) below the ceiling of the vestibule or balcony, arranged to open automatically in case of fire to the full limit and to be held securely in such open position. Provision must be made for the manual opening or closing of the sash.
The automatic opening of the sash must be actuated by devices located inside the building within five feet (1524 mm) of the door from the building to the vestibule or balcony and located also on the ceiling of the vestibule or balcony. Such devices must operate as a result of rate of temperature rise or when the surrounding air reaches a temperature of 120°F (49 °C).
Each fire shield sash in a high-rise building must be tested annually to verify automatic operation as required in Section 14X-5-502.9.3. Testing must be performed by an individual or organization acceptable to the fire code official. Reports of the testing must be filed with the fire code official by June 30 of each year.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Amended Coun. J. 2-19-20, p. 14474.

Fire protection and life safety systems must be provided in existing structures in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.2 through 14X-5-504.9. Fire protection and life safety systems must be maintained in accordance with Section 14X-5-504.1.1 and the Chicago Fire Prevention Code.
Fire detection, alarm, and extinguishing systems and devices, mechanical smoke exhaust systems and devices, smoke and heat vents, and carbon monoxide detection and alarm systems and devices must be maintained in working condition at all times and must be repaired or replaced where defective.

An automatic sprinkler system, installed in accordance with Section 903 of the Chicago Building Code, must be provided in existing structures in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.2.1 through 14X-5-504.2.9.

Exception: Occupancies with an existing,permitted automatic sprinkler system.

Every existing building or portion of an existing building used as an exhibition area must be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. Every area used for storage of combustible materials in a building containing an exhibition area must be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.

Exception: Buildings that do not contain more than 5,000 square feet (465 m2) of floor area, in aggregate, used as an exhibition area.

Every fire area of Group A-2 occupancy with an occupant load of more than 100 persons on a level located more than four feet (1219 mm) below grade plane must be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.
Every existing building of Type III, IV, or V construction and with two or more stories above grade plane which is used entirely for education above the 12th grade, adult education, or as a commercial or vocational school for more than 100 persons must be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
Every existing building of Type III, IV, or V construction and with two or more stories above grade plane which contains a fire area of Group E occupancy must be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
Every existing building of Type III, IV, or V construction and with two or more stories above grade plane which contains a fire area of Group I-1, condition 2, or Group I-2 occupancy used as a hospital, psychiatric hospital, assisted living facility, or foster care facility must be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
Every existing building containing a Group I-2 nursing home must be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
Every existing building containing dwelling units which are not separated from other parts of the building by walls or partitions providing fire-resistance of not less than one hour must be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
An automatic sprinkler system must be provided throughout existing buildings where cellulose nitrate film or pyroxylin plastics are manufactured, stored, or handled in quantities exceeding 100 pounds (45 kg). Vaults located within buildings for the storage of raw pyroxylin must be protected with an automatic sprinkler system capable of discharging 1.66 gallons per minute per square foot (68 L/min/m2) over the area of the vault.

An automatic sprinkler system must be provided throughout high-rise buildings.

Exceptions:

  1. Parking facilities complying with Section 406 of the Chicago Building Code.
  2. Open-air portions of a Group A-5 occupancy.
  3. A building of Group R-2 occupancy, together with any accessory occupancies complying with Section 508.2 of the Chicago Building Code and any attached parking garage that is used exclusively by the building's non-transient residential occupants and their guests or by persons who, pursuant to a written lease agreement, rent a parking space in time increments of at least one month.
  4. The following portions of a mixed-occupancy building where separated from other occupancies by construction having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 2 hours:

    1. 4.1. Any portion classified as Group R-2 occupancy.
    2. 4.2. Any accessory occupancy connected to the Group R-2 occupancy and complying with Section 508.2 of the Chicago Building Code.
    3. 4.3. A parking garage that is used exclusively by the building's non-transient residential occupants and their guests or by persons who, pursuant to a written lease agreement, rent a parking space in time increments of at least one month.
    4. 4.4. In buildings of Type I construction, nonresidential occupancies located not more than 80 feet (24.4 m) above grade that are separated in accordance with Section 508.4 of the Chicago Building Code and that cumulatively do not exceed 10% of the floor area of the Group R-2 occupancy in the building.
  5. A Chicago Landmark, unless the building is required to be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system by another provision of the Municipal Code.
  6. A building color-coded red or orange in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, published in 1996, unless the building is required to be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system by another provision of the Municipal Code.

An automatic sprinkler system, installed in accordance with Section 903 of the Chicago Building Code, or an alternative automatic fire-extinguishing system, installed in accordance with Section 904 of the Chicago Building Code, must be provided in existing structures in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.3.1 through 14X-5-504.3.3.

Exception: Occupancies with an existing, permitted automatic fire-extinguishing system.

Every existing structure that is owned or operated by any person whose primary business is the generation or transmission of electrical power and that houses one or more electrical generators, electrical transformers, or switching equipment for a service area beyond the structure in which the equipment is located must be equipped throughout with an automatic fire-extinguishing system.
Every fire area within an existing structure containing a telecommunication equipment area that exceeds 150 square feet (13.93 m2) must be equipped with an automatic fire-extinguishing system.
Every existing structure which is used as a telephone exchange must be equipped throughout with an automatic fire-extinguishing system.

Existing structures must be equipped with standpipes installed in accordance with Section 905 of the Chicago Building Code where required in Sections 14X-5-504.4.1 through 14X-5-504.4.4. The fire code official is authorized to approve the installation of manual dry or manual wet standpipe systems to achieve compliance with this section.

Exceptions:

  1. Occupancies with existing, permitted standpipes.
  2. Standpipes are not required in grain elevators or similar storage structures where standpipes would be ineffective due to the type of structure and inaccessibility of hose connections.
Every existing building containing a Group A-1 occupancy must have standpipes provided on each side of the stage block. In fire areas not equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, standpipes must also be provided on each tier of dressing rooms and within 50 feet (15.2 m) of all property rooms, store rooms, or work rooms.

Every existing building must be equipped with standpipes in each fire area containing an exhibition area, spaced to provide complete coverage with 100 foot (30.5 m) hose lengths and 30 foot (9.1 m) hose streams.

Exception: Buildings that do not contain more than 5,000 square feet (465 m2) of floor area, in aggregate, used as an exhibition area.

Every existing building containing a Group I occupancy which exceeds 55 feet (16.8 m) in building height or contains more than 4 stories above grade plane must be equipped with standpipes.

Editor's Note—Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029, Art. XIX includes the number "5" at the beginning of the title for Section 14X-5-504.4.3. At the discretion of the editor, the number 5 has been omitted. Future legislation will correct this provision if needed.

Every high-rise building must be equipped with standpipes.
Portable fire extinguishers must be provided in existing buildings in accordance with Section 906 of the Chicago Building Code. Portable fire extinguishers must be maintained in accordance with the Chicago Fire Prevention Code.

A fire alarm system must be installed in existing buildings in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.6.1 through 14X-5-504.6.7 and provide occupant notification in accordance with the Chicago Building Code unless other requirements are provided by other sections of this code or the Chicago Fire Prevention Code.

Exception: Occupancies with an existing, permitted fire alarm system.

A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings with more than one story above grade plane containing a Group B occupancy used for collegiate or adult education.
A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings with more than one story above grade plane containing a Group E occupancy.
A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings containing a Group I occupancy.

A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings containing a Group R occupancy used primarily as housing for students through the undergraduate level.

Exception: No fire alarm system is required if not more than 25 persons sleep above the second floor.

A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings which are used as congregate living facilities or residential occupancies with community bathrooms.

Exception: No fire alarm system is required in a single-story building.

A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings containing a Group R-1 occupancy.

Exceptions:

  1. In existing structures of Type I construction, no fire alarm system is required in buildings with not more than four stories above grade plane.
  2. In existing structures of Type II, III, IV, or V construction, no fire alarm system is required if not more than 25 persons sleep above the second floor.
A fire alarm system must be provided throughout existing buildings of Group R-4 occupancy.

Voice communication systems must be installed in existing high-rise buildings in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.7.1 through 14X-5-504.7.2. The two-way communication system may be combined with the one-way system where approved by the fire code official.

Exceptions:

  1. Buildings of Group R-2 occupancy equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
  2. Buildings of Group E or I occupancy equipped with a fire alarm system as required by Section 504.6.

A selective one-way voice communication system must allow communication from the fire command center to the following areas:

  1. Elevators.
  2. Elevator lobbies.
  3. Exit stairways, with at least one speaker on every fifth floor.
  4. Office areas exceeding 5,000 square feet (465 m2).
  5. In corridors at intervals not to exceed 75 feet (22.9 m).
  6. At doors to exit stairway enclosures.

    Exception: Buildings of Group R-2 occupancy with an occupant notification system installed prior to January 1, 2005 that was accepted by the fire code official.

A two-way voice communication system must allow two-way voice communication between the fire command center and stations located in every exit stairway at least every fifth floor.

Exception: A building of Group R-2 occupancy, other than a dormitory, that does not exceed 15 stories above grade plane and contains 60 or fewer dwelling units.

Single-and multiple-station smoke alarms must be installed in existing Group I-1 and R occupancies in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.8.1 through 14X-5-504.8.4.

Existing Group I-1 and R occupancies must be provided with single-station smoke alarms in accordance with Section 907 of the Chicago Building Code. Interconnection and power sources must be in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.8.2 and 14X-5-504.8.3, respectively.

Exceptions:

  1. Where the code that was in effect at the time of construction required smoke alarms and smoke alarms complying with those requirements are already provided.
  2. Where smoke alarms have been installed in occupancies that were not required to have them at the time of construction, additional smoke alarms are not required provided that the existing smoke alarms comply with requirements that were in effect at the time of installation.
  3. Where smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system have been installed as a substitute for smoke alarms and the system provides required occupant notification.

Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit or sleeping unit, the smoke alarms must be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. Physical interconnection of smoke alarms is not required where listed wireless alarms are installed and all alarms sound upon activation of one alarm. The alarm must be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

Exceptions:

  1. Interconnection is not required in buildings that are not undergoing alterations, repairs, or construction of any kind.
  2. Smoke alarms in existing areas are not required to be interconnected where alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available that could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes.

Single-station smoke alarms must receive their primary power from the building wiring and must be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms with integral strobes that are not equipped with battery backup must be connected to an emergency electrical system. Smoke alarms must emit a signal when the batteries are low. Wiring must be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than as required for overcurrent protection.

Exceptions:

  1. Smoke alarms are allowed to be solely battery operated in existing buildings where construction is not taking place.
  2. Smoke alarms are allowed to be solely battery operated in existing areas of buildings undergoing alterations or repairs that do not result in the removal of interior walls or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available that could provide access for installing wiring without the removal of interior finishes.

A single-station smoke alarm must be installed on the uppermost ceiling of every exit stairway.

Exceptions:

  1. Buildings of Type I or IIA construction.
  2. Where smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system have been installed as a substitute for smoke alarms and the system provides required occupant notification.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be provided in existing structures in accordance with Sections 14X-5-504.9.1 through 14X-5-504.9.3. Installation must be in accordance with Section 915.4 of the Chicago Building Code.

Exceptions:

  1. Carbon monoxide alarms are allowed to be solely battery operated where the code that was in effect at the time of installation did not require hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors to be provided.
  2. A carbon monoxide detection system in accordance with Section 915.5 of the Chicago Building Code is an acceptable alternative to carbon monoxide alarms.
  3. A carbon monoxide alarm is not required by this section in any occupancy or at any location where a carbon monoxide alarm is not required by Section 915 of the Chicago Building Code.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be provided in dwelling units and sleeping units, at locations specified in Section 915.2 of the Chicago Building Code, where:

  1. The unit contains a fuel-burning appliance.
  2. The unit contains a fuel-burning fireplace.
  3. The unit is served by a fuel-burning forced-air heating or cooling system.
  4. The unit is located in a building that contains a fuelburning appliance or fuel-burning fireplace and there are openings or ductwork connecting the unit to the space containing the fuel-burning device.
  5. The unit has a door leading directly to a private garage.
  6. The unit is immediately above a private garage.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be provided in classrooms, at locations specified in Section 915.2 of the Chicago Building Code, where:

  1. The classroom contains a fuel-burning appliance.
  2. The classroom contains a fuel-burning fireplace.
  3. The classroom is served by a fuel-burning forced-air heating or cooling system.
  4. The classroom is located in a building that contains a fuel-burning appliance or fuel- burning fireplace and there are openings or ductwork connecting the classroom to the space containing the fuel-burning device.
  5. The classroom has a door leading directly to a private garage.
  6. The classroom is immediately above a private garage.
A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in every room that contains a fuel-burning heating unit or fuel-burning water heater, regardless of occupancy.

It is unlawful to disable or make inoperable any fire protection or life-safety system.

Exceptions:

  1. Fire protection and life-safety systems and devices in occupied buildings may be disabled for the purpose of testing or maintenance if written notice is provided to all occupants in advance. Written notice must be provided to the fire code official if a required system or device will be disabled for more than 24 hours.
  2. Fire protection systems in unoccupied and vacant buildings may be disabled where approved by the fire code official.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.
Amended Coun. J. 2-19-20, p. 14474.
Amended Coun. J. 10-7-20, p. 21791.

Means of egress in existing buildings must comply with the minimum egress requirements where specified in Table 14X-5-501.2 as further enumerated in Sections 14X-5-505.2 through 14X-5-505.16.
In an existing building where an unsafe condition exists because of the number, width, construction, condition, or location of means of egress components, the building official or fire code official may order alterations or repairs to provide adequate safety for occupants.
Every component of the means of egress must be kept clear and unobstructed at all times so as to provide a safe, continuous, and unobstructed path from any occupiable space to the public way.
Combustible or flammable materials, fluids, and compounds may not be placed, stored, or kept in any place inside or outside of any building where the ignition or burning of such materials, fluids, or compounds would obstruct or render hazardous the means of egress.

Means of egress doors and gates must be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the need for a key, special knowledge, or effort.

Exception: Doors and gates may be locked with hardware of a type allowed by the Chicago Building Code where such hardware is in working condition.

Means of egress must meet the requirements of this section.

Means of egress must have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2.1 m) from the floor, with no projection below 6 feet 8 inches (2033 mm) from the floor.

Exception: Within dwelling units a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2033 mm) from the floor is allowed.

The required width or capacity of the means of egress may not be reduced along the path of egress travel until arrival at the public way.

Elevators, escalators, and moving walks may not be used as a component of a required means of egress.

Exception: Existing escalators and moving walks in existing buildings.

The capacity of the means of egress and means of egress components must be determined in accordance with Section 1005 of the Chicago Building Code. A building may not be occupied in a manner that will exceed its calculated egress capacity.
Where the occupant capacity of a building is posted or required to be posted, it is unlawful to cause or allow the building to be occupied in a manner that will exceed the posted occupant capacity.
Every occupiable space within an existing building must be provided with not less than the minimum number of exits or exit access doorways required by Section 1006 of the Chicago Building Code. For purposes of this requirement, permitted fire escapes complying with Section 14X-5-505.12 are recognized as exits.
The means of egress must be provided with illumination in accordance with this section.

The means of egress must be illuminated at all times so that there is not less than 1 footcandle (11 lux) of illumination at the walking surface.

Exception: Where a lower level of illumination is approved by the building official or allowed by the Chicago Building Code.

Emergency illumination must be provided in accordance with Article 700 of the Chicago Electrical Code.
A facility that is constructed or altered to be accessible must be maintained accessible during occupancy.
Doors which are part of the means of egress must comply with this section.

The width of each door opening must be sufficient for the occupant load served by the opening and not less than 28 inches (711 mm) in clear width. Where this section requires a minimum clear opening width of 28 inches (711 mm) and a door opening includes two door leaves without a mullion, one leaf must provide a clear opening width of 28 inches (711 mm). The clear opening height of doorways must be at least 80 inches (2032 mm).

Exceptions:

  1. A minimum clear opening width of 26 inches (660 mm) is allowed for door openings serving an occupant load of 20 persons or fewer.
  2. The minimum width does not apply to door openings within dwelling units.
  3. Door openings within a dwelling unit may have a minimum clear opening height of 78 inches (1981 mm).
  4. In dwelling units and sleeping units, exterior door openings, other than the required exit door, may have a minimum clear opening height of 76 inches (1930 mm).
  5. Minimum dimensions do not apply to door openings to storage closets less than 25 square feet (2.32 m2) in area.
  6. Exit access doors serving a room not larger than 70 square feet (6.5 m2) may have a minimum door leaf width of 24 inches (610 mm).
  7. The width of door leaves in revolving doors that comply with the Chicago Building Code is not limited.
  8. The minimum clear opening width does not apply to doors for showers or sauna compartments.
  9. The minimum clear opening width does not apply to the doors for toilet stalls.
  10. Door closers and door stops are allowed to be 78 inches (1980 mm) minimum above the floor.
In Group I-2 occupancies, doors used for the movement of beds must provide a minimum clear opening width of 411/2 inches (1054 mm). Doors serving as means of egress doors and not used for movement of beds must provide a minimum clear opening width of 32 inches (813 mm).
In ambulatory care facilities, doors serving as means of egress from patient treatment rooms must provide a minimum clear opening width of 32 inches (813 mm).
Pivot or side-hinged swinging doors must swing in the direction of egress travel where serving an occupant load of 50 or more persons.
The force required for pushing or pulling open interior side-swinging egress doors without closers must not exceed 5 pounds (22 N). This requirement does not apply to the force required to retract latch bolts or disengage other devices that hold the door in a closed position. For other side-swinging doors and sliding and folding doors, the door latch must release when subjected to a force of not more than 15 pounds (66 N). The door must be set in motion when subjected to a force of not more than 30 pounds (133 N). The door must fully open when subjected to a force of not more than 50 pounds (222 N). Forces are to be applied to the latch side.

Exit doors from occupancies listed in Sections 14X-5-505.8.4.1 through 14X-5-505.8.4.2 must be equipped with panic hardware or fire exit hardware meeting the following criteria:

  1. The actuating portion of the releasing device must extend over at least one-half the door leaf width mounted between 30 inches (760 mm) and 48 inches (1220 mm) above the floor.
  2. The maximum unlatching force must be 15 pounds (67 N) or less.
Fire exit hardware must be provided for rooms in Group A occupancies with an occupant load of more than 200 persons.
Fire exit hardware must be provided in Group I-1, I-2, and I-4 occupancies on exit doors leading to the exterior and doors from exit stairways leading to the interior of the building on the level of exit discharge.
Revolving doors, power-operated doors, and special-purpose sliding, accordion, or folding doors must be maintained to meet the requirements in effect at the time of construction or the requirements of the Chicago Building Code.
Stairways which are part of the means of egress must comply with this section.
Existing stairways which meet the dimensional requirements of Sections 14X-5-505.9.1.1 through 14X-5-505.9.1.3 may remain in use.

The rise must not exceed 81/4 inches (210 mm) and the depth of treads must be at least 9 inches (229 mm).

Exception: Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code.

Winders must have a minimum tread depth of 9 inches (229 mm) at a point 18 inches (457 mm) from the narrowest edge.

Stair treads and risers must be of uniform size and shape. The variance between the largest and smallest riser height or between the largest and smallest tread depth must not exceed 1/2 inch (13 mm) in any flight of stairs.

Exception: Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code.

Means of egress stairways must be at least 36 inches (914 mm) wide.

Exception: Conditions allowed by the Chicago Building Code.

The maximum rise between landings is 12 feet 7 inches (3835 mm).

Editor's Note—Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029, Art. XIX includes a number "3" at the beginning of the title for Selection 14X-5-505.9.3. At the discretion of the editor, the number "3" has been omitted. Future legislation will correct this provision if needed.

Existing stairways may be rebuilt. The replacement of an existing stairway is not required to comply with the new stairway requirements of the Chicago Building Code where the existing space and construction will not allow a reduction in pitch or slope or elimination of winders.
The finished surface of treads and landings must be slip-resistant under foreseeable conditions. Outdoor stairways must be designed so that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces.

Usable space under interior stairways must be separated from the stairway with 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction. Access to enclosed spaces beneath enclosed interior stairways may not be provided from within the stairway enclosure.

Enclosed usable space under exterior stairways must be completely enclosed in 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction. Open space under exterior stairways may not be used for any purpose.

Exit stairways connecting four or more stories must be marked in accordance with Sections 14X-5-505.9.7.1 through 14X-5-505.9.7.2.
Exception: Exit stairways which are accessed directly from dwelling units.
Alphabetical or directional letter identification for the exit stairway and the number of the floor to which the door opens must be posted within every interior exit stairway adjacent to each door.
Information showing which floors have re-entry locations must be posted adjacent to every door to an exit stairway, on the occupancy side.

An interior exit stairway or ramp that continues below its level of exit discharge must be arranged and marked to make the direction of egress to a public way readily identifiable.

Exception: Stairways that continue one-half story beyond their levels of exit discharge do not require barriers where the exit discharge is obvious.

Emergency stairway reentry features must be provided in accordance with Sections 14X-5-505.9.9.1 through 14X-5-505.9.9.2.

In any building that is not a high-rise building, doors in exit stairways that connect more than four stories must comply with one of the following options:

  1. Stairway enclosure doors must not be locked from the stairway side at any time, allowing reentry from the stairway enclosure to the building at all levels.
  2. Stairway enclosure doors must be equipped with a fail-safe electronic lock release system that is activated both manually, by a single switch available to building management and firefighting personnel, and automatically, either by smoke detectors or sprinkler waterflow devices, connected to an annunciator panel. A telephone or other two-way communications system connected to a constantly attended location or 24/7 monitoring service must be provided at not less than every fifth floor in each stairway where the doors from the stairway are locked.
  3. Where all the doors in a stairway enclosure open directly into a dwelling unit, and each dwelling unit door has a self-closing device and a latch and does not have self-locking hardware, the stairway must be provided with a telephone or other two-way communications system connected to a constantly attended location or 24/7 monitoring service at not less than every fifth floor or an operable window on each landing or intermediate landing.

In high-rise buildings, all exit stairway doors which are locked from the stairway side must have electrically-controlled locking devices which can be automatically unlocked upon a signal from the fire command center. A stairway door at the level of exit discharge may not be locked from the stairway side.

Exception: Stairways complying with Section 14X-5-505.9.9.1, option 3.

Ramps must comply with Sections 14X-5-505.10.1 through 14X-5-505.10.2.
Ramp runs utilized as part of a means of egress may not have a running slope steeper than one unit vertical in 10 units horizontal (10- percent slope). The slope of other ramps may not be steeper than one unit vertical in eight units horizontal (12.5-percent slope).
Existing ramps must have a minimum width of 30 inches (762 mm) but not less than the width required for the number of occupants served as determined by Section 14X-5-505.3.
Each area of rescue assistance must be identified by a permanent sign which states "area of rescue assistance" and displays the international symbol of accessibility.
Fire escapes must comply with Sections 14X-5-505.12.1 through 14X-5-505.12.7.
Fire escape stairways are allowed in existing buildings but may not be used to provide more than 50 percent of the required egress capacity.
Where located on the front of the building and where projecting beyond the building line, the lowest landing must be at least 12 feet (3658 mm) and no more than 14 feet (4267 mm) above ground-level and must be equipped with a counterbalanced stairway to the street. In alleyways and thoroughfares less than 30 feet (9144 mm) wide, the clearance under the lowest landing must be at least 14 feet (4267 mm).
The structure must be capable of supporting a live load of 100 pounds per square foot (4788 Pa) and must be constructed of steel or other approved noncombustible materials. Walkways and railings located over or supported by combustible roofs in buildings of Type III and IV construction may be constructed of wood not less than nominal 2 inches (51 mm) thick. Stair treads and landings must be so constructed as to prevent accumulation of snow or ice, but the maximum dimension of any opening, through such treads, landings, or floors may not exceed 11/4 inches (32 mm).
Fire escape stairways must be at least 24 inches (610 mm) wide with risers not more than, and treads not less than, 8 inches (203 mm). Guards not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height must be provided at the open sides of fire escape stairways and landings.

Doors and windows within 10 feet (3048 mm) of fire escape stairways must be protected with 3/4-hour opening protectives.

Exception: Opening protectives are not required in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.

Access to a fire escape from a corridor may not require travel through an intervening room. Access to a fire escape stairway must be from a door or window providing a clear opening at least 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 36 inches (152 mm) high. Access to a fire escape stairway must be directly to a landing. The landing may not be higher than the floor or window sill level and may not be lower than 8 inches (203 mm) below the floor level or 24 inches (610 mm) below the window sill.
Fire escapes must be kept clear and unobstructed at all times and must be maintained in good working order.

Exit signs must comply with Section 1013 of the Chicago Building Code.

Exceptions:

  1. Existing exit signs lettered "STAIRS" or "STAIRWAY" may remain at locations where a "STAIR" sign is required by the Chicago Building Code.
  2. Existing exit signs installed prior to December 31, 1960, and otherwise required to be lettered "STAIR," may be lettered "EXIT."
Handrails must be provided in accordance with Section 14X-3-306.1.

Stairways must have handrails on at least one side. Handrails must be located so that all portions of the stairway width required for egress capacity are within 44 inches (1118 mm) of a handrail.

Exception: Aisle stairs provided with a center handrail are not required to have additional handrails.

Guards must be provided in accordance with Section 14X-3-306.2.

Corridors serving an occupant load greater than 30 and openings in these corridors must provide an effective barrier to resist the movement of smoke. Transoms, louvers, doors, and other openings must be kept closed or be self-closing.

Exceptions:

  1. Corridors in occupancies other than in Group H, that are equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
  2. Corridors that are in accordance with the Chicago Building Code.

Added Coun. J. 4-10-19, p. 100029.

Amended Coun. J. 2-19-20, p. 14474.

Every high-rise building must install and maintain features identified in the life safety evaluation report and life safety compliance plan prepared pursuant to the ordinance of December 15, 2004, as amended, and accepted by the building official and fire code official.

Exceptions:

  1. Parking facilities complying with Section 406.9 of the Chicago Building Code.
  2. Open-air portions of a Group A-5 occupancy.
  3. Buildings that are required by Section 14X-5-504.2.9 to be provided with an automatic sprinkler system.
  4. Buildings that are equipped with a permitted automatic sprinkler system.
  5. Alterations permitted in accordance with the Chicago Building Rehabilitation Code where the registered design professional certifies in writing that the alterations will not reduce or otherwise negatively impact the score of the life safety evaluation on which the life safety compliance plan is based.
A copy of the accepted life safety evaluation and life safety compliance plan must be kept on file permanently by the owner.
The owner shall make copies of the accepted life safety evaluation and life safety compliance plan available to occupants and the building official upon request.
The building official must maintain a public list of each building that submitted a life safety evaluation and life safety compliance plan under the ordinance of December 15, 2004, as amended, and that was found to be in compliance with its compliance plan.
The owner of any building that is not in compliance with Section 14X-5-506.1 must disclose that fact, in writing, to every prospective occupant. The owner must keep records of the date and recipient of each disclosure issued under this section.
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