Insights and expertise for doors and frames

Manual Sliding Doors – Where Do the Codes Allow Them?

By Katie Flower AOC, CSI, CDT Training Specialist ASSA ABLOY

I’m pleased to welcome a guest blogger to Dave’s Door Opening: Katie Flower is a training specialist at ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions with a tremendous amount of knowledge related to building codes. Thank you Katie for this contribution related to the growing popularity of sliding doors. – Dave

In August of 2020 we published this article on the advantages of sliding doors. If you missed it, you should take a few minutes to check it out. The Rite slide is a beautiful, practical, and sound solution for so many openings.

ASSA ABLOY RITE Slide Assembly

Now more than ever there are more spaces in commercial construction that building codes allow for the use of a manual sliding door. So where do codes allow for these space saving sliders? You can watch this short video of an episode of Code Corner with Katie for details, but I will answer that question here as well.

The International Building Code (IBC) has been adopted in whole or in part by every state in this country. I will be basing my answer on IBC 2015 since it is the most widely adopted edition, other editions will be similar, but please be sure to look up whatever code is being used on your project.

Chapter 10 Means of Egress instructs us that:

  • 1010.1.2- Egress doors shall be of the pivoted or side-hinged swinging type
  • 1010.1.2.1- Pivot or side-hinged swinging doors shall swing in the direction of egress travel where serving a room or area containing an occupant load of 50 or more persons or a Group H occupancy

The IBC is an exceptional code and therefore we always need to look at the exceptions. It is here you will find numerous places where it is allowable to use a manual sliding door in a means of egress. These exceptions are:

  1. Private garages, office areas, factory, and storage areas with an occupant load of 10 or less.
  2. Group I-3 occupancies used as a place of detention.
  3. Critical or intensive care patient rooms within suites of health care facilities.
  4. Doors within or serving a single dwelling unit in Groups R-2 and R-3.
  5. Doors serving a bathroom within an individual sleeping unit in Group R-1.
  6. In other than Group H occupancies, manually operated horizontal sliding doors are permitted in a means of egress from spaces with an occupant load of 10 or less.

The Rite slide fits exceptions 1, 4, 5 and 6 with 6 being the widest open since any occupancy type except for Group H High Hazard can use a manual sliding door in a means of egress as long as the occupant load does not exceed 10.

How do we know what the occupant load of a room or space is? Lucky for us ASSA ABLOY has a great free tool called the Egress Calculator that can do the math for you! Use the drop down menus to select the appropriate edition of the IBC, the occupancy use type, and check the radio box for whether the building has a sprinkler system or not. Then enter the room dimensions or square footage of the room and hit calculate.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the online, virtual instructor lead and other training opportunities over at ASSA ABLOY Academy. There are courses for codes, products, keying, installation, hands on wiring and so much more!

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