Area-of-Refuge Code Requirements

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Click to Download: IBC 2-Way Communication Code Requirements



2009 Code
2009 International Building Code (IBC) requires a two-way communication system for all Area(s) of Refuge in New Construction, Significant Remodels or Change of Building Use, regardless if they have a sprinkler system or not

  • 1007.6.3 Two-Way Communication. Areas of Refuge shall be provided with a two-way communication system complying with Sections 1007.8.1 and 1007.8.2.


  • 1007.8 Two-Way Communication. A two-way communication system shall be provided at the elevator landing on each accessible floor that is one or more stories above or below the story of exit discharge complying with Sections 1007.8.1 and 1007.8.2.
    • Exceptions:
      1.) Two-way communication systems are not required at the elevator landing where the two-way communication system is provided within areas of refuge in accordance with section 1007.6.3 (Stairwell Areas of Refuges)


  • 1007.8.1 System Requirements. Two-way communications shall provide communication between each required location (Rath Call Boxes) and the fire command center or central control point location
    (Rath Base Stations)
    approved by the fire department. Where the central control point is not constantly attended, a two-way communication system shall have a timed automatic telephone dial-out capability to a monitoring location or 911. The two-way communication system shall include both audible and visible signals.
    • Note: Most local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) require two way off-site person to person voice communications.
  • 

  • 1007.8.2 Directions. Directions (Part #7049) for the use of the two-way communication system, instructions for summoning assistance via the two-way communication system and written identification of the location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system.


  • 1007.9 Signage. Signage indicating special accessibility provisions shall be provided as shown:
    • 1.) Each door providing access to an area of refuge from the adjacent floor shall be identified by a sign stating: AREA OF REFUGE (Part #7044)

    • Signage shall comply with the ICC A117.1 requirements for visual characters and include the International Symbol of Accessibility. Where exit sign illumination is required by Section 1011.2, the signs shall be illuminated. (Part #7050) Additionally, tactile signage complying with ICC A117.1 shall be located at each door to an Area of Refuge. (Part #7044)


  • 1007.10 Directional Signage.
      Direction signage indicating the location of the other means of egress and which are accessible means of egress shall be provided at the following: (Part # 7047L-Left or #7047R-Right)
      1. 1.) At exits serving a required accessible space but not providing an approved accessible means of egress
      2. 2.) At Elevator Landings
      3. 3.) Within Areas of Refuge


  • 1007.11 Instructions. In areas of refuge and exterior areas for assisted rescue, instructions on the use of the area under emergency conditions shall be posted. The instructions shall include all of the following: (Part #7049)
    1. 1.) Persons able to use the exit stairway do so as soon as possible, unless they are assisting others.
    2. 2.) Information on planned availability of assistance in the use of stairs or supervised operation of elevators and how to summon such assistance.
    3. 3.) Directions for use of the two-way communications system where provided.



2012 Code
  • There were no significant changes to the 2-way communication requirements from the IBC 2009 to
    the IBC 2012
  • Section 1007.7 was added to the IBC 2012 to better define Exterior Areas for Assisted Rescue which was very vague in the IBC 2009



2015 Code
  • 1009.6 Areas of Refuge. Every required Area of Refuge shall be accessible from the space it serves by an accessible means of egress.


  • 1009.6.1 Travel distance. The maximum travel distance from any accessible space to an Area of Refuge shall not exceed the exit access travel distance permitted for the occupancy in accordance with Section 1017.1.


  • 1009.6.2 Stairway or Elevator Access. Every required Area of Refuge shall have direct access to a stairway com­plying with Sections 1009.3 and 1023 or an elevator com­plying with Section 1009.4.


  • 1009.6.3 Size. Each Area of Refuge shall be sized to accommodate one wheelchair space of 30 inches by 48 inches (762 mm by 1219 mm) for each 200 occupants or portion thereof, based on the occupant load of the Area of Refuge and areas served by the Area of Refuge. Such wheel­chair spaces shall not reduce the means of egress mini­mum width or required capacity. Access to any of the required wheelchair spaces in an Area of Refuge shall not be obstructed by more than one adjoining wheelchair space.


  • 1009.6.4 Separation. Each Area of Refuge shall be sepa­rated from the remainder of the story by a smoke barrier complying with Section 709 or a horizontal exit comply­ing with Section 1026. Each Area of Refuge shall be designed to minimize the intrusion of smoke.
    • Exceptions:
      1.) Areas of Refuge located within an enclosure for interior exit stairways complying with Section 1023.
      2.) Area(s) of Refuge in outdoor facilities where exit access is essentially open to the outside.


  • 1009.6.5 Two-way Communication. Area of Refuge shall be provided with a two-way communication system com­plying with Sections 1009.8.l and 1009.8.2.


  • 1009.7 Exterior Areas for Assisted Rescue. Exterior areas for assisted rescue shall be accessed by an accessible route from the area served.

    Where the exit discharge does not include an accessible route from an exit located on the level of exit discharge to a public way, an exterior area of assisted rescue shall be pro­vided on the exterior landing in accordance with Sections 1009.7.1 through 1009.7.4.


  • 1009.7.1 Size. Each exterior area for assisted rescue shall be sized to accommodate wheelchair spaces in accordance with Section 1009.6.3.


  • 1009.7.2 Separation. Exterior walls separating the exte­rior area of assisted rescue from the interior of the building shall have a minimum fire-resistance rating of 1 hour, rated for exposure to fire from the inside. The fire-resis­tance-rated exterior wall construction shall extend horizontally 10 feet (3048 mm) beyond the landing on either side of the landing or equivalent fire-resistance-rated con­struction is permitted to extend out perpendicular to the exterior wall 4 feet ( 1220 mm ) minimum on the side of the landing. The fire-resistance-rated construction shall extend vertically from the ground to a point 10 feet (3048 mm) above the floor level of the Area for Assisted Rescue or to the roof line, whichever is lower. Openings within such fire-resistance-rated exterior walls shall be protected in accordance with Section 716.


  • 1009.7.3 Openness. The exterior Area for Assisted Rescue shall be open to the outside air. The sides other than the separation walls shall be not less than 50 percent open, and the open area shall be distributed so as to minimize the accumulation of smoke or toxic gases.


  • 1009.7.4 Stairways. Stairways that are part of the means of egress for the exterior area for assisted rescue shall pro­vide a clear width of 48 inches (1220 mm) between hand­ rails.
    • Exception: The clear width of 48 inches (1220 mm) between handrails is not required at stairways serving buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2.


  • 1009.8 Two-way Communication. A two-way communica­tion system complying with Sections 1009.8.1 and 1009.8.2 shall be provided at the landing serving each elevator or bank of elevators on each accessible floor that is one or more sto­ries above or below the level of exit discharge.
    • Exceptions:
      • 1. Two-way communication systems are not required at the landing serving each elevator or bank of ele­vators where the two-way communication system is provided within Areas of Refuge in accordance with Section 1009.6.5.
      • 2. Two-way communication systems are not required on floors provided with ramps conforming to the provisions of Section 1012.
      • 3. Two-way communication systems are not required at the landings serving only service elevators that are not designated as part of the accessible means of egress or serve as part of the required accessible route into a facility.
      • 4. Two-way communication systems are not required at the landings serving only freight elevators.
      • 5. Two-way communication systems are not required at the landing serving a private residence elevator.


  • 1009.8.1 System requirements. Two-way communication systems shall provide communication between each required location and the fire command center or a central control point location approved by the fire department. Where the central control point is not a constantly attended location, a two-way communication system shall have a timed automatic telephone dial-out capability to a monitoring location or 9-1-1 . The two-way communica­tion system shall include both audible and visible signals.


  • 1009.8.2 Directions. Directions for the use of the two-way communication system, instructions for summoning assis­tance via the two-way communication system and written identification of the location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system. Signage shall comply with the ICC A 117.1 requirements for visual characters.


  • 1009.9 Signage. Signage indicating special accessibility pro­ visions shall be provided as shown:
    • Each door providing access to an Area of Refuge an adjacent floor area shall be identified by a sign stat­ing: AREA OF REFUGE.
    • Each door providing access to an exterior area for assisted rescue shall be identified by a sign stating: EXTERIOR AREA FOR ASSISTED RESCUE.
    • Signage shall comply with the ICC A 117.1 requirements for visual characters and include the International Symbol of Accessibility. Where exit sign illumination is required by Section 1013.3, the signs shall be illuminated. Additionally, visual characters, raised character and braille signage com­plying with ICC A 117.1 shall be located at each door to an Area of Refuge and exterior Area for Assisted Rescue in accor­dance with Section 1013.4.


  • 1009.10 Directional Signage. Directional Signage indicating the location of all other means of egress and which of those are accessible means of egress shall be provided at the following:
    1. At exits serving a required accessible space but not pro­viding an approved accessible means of egress.
    2. At elevator landings.
    3. Within Area(s) of Refuge.


  • 1009.11 Instructions. In Areas of Refuge and exterior Areas for Assisted Rescue, instructions on the use of the area under emergency conditions shall be posted. Signage shall comply with the ICC A 117.1 requirements for visual characters. The instructions shall include all of the following:
    1. Persons able to use the exit stairway do so as soon as possible, unless they are assisting others.
    2. Information on planned availability of assistance in the use of stairs or supervised operation of elevators and how to summon such assistance.
    3. Directions for use of the two-way communication sys­tem where provided.