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Means of Egress Through Drapes

Means of Egress Through Drapes

(OP)
I have a client that desires to hang drapes across a path of egress about 25 feet from an egress door. This path of egress serves as one of two paths of egress serving a facility with an occupancy of about 500 persons.

Reference: the 2013 California Building Code, Chapter 10, Section 1008.1: Doors.

This section states: "Means of egress doors shall not be concealed by curtains, drapes, decorations or similar materials."

As far as I know, this is the only place in the building code that mentions drapes or curtains. In this particular case, we would not be concealing the egress door, but we would be hanging drapes across an egress path leading to that door. The client is willing to install the lighted EXIT sign at this location where we would be hanging drapes.

So, does the code allow egress through drapes?

Richard L. Flower, P. E., LEED Green Associate
Senior Structural Engineer
Complere Engineering Group, Inc.

RE: Means of Egress Through Drapes

I've permitted such an arrangement in my jurisdiction (2012 IBC & 2012 IFC) provided the drapery complied with NFPA 701 per Chapter 8. With that said, you should reach out to the local fire official and seek their approval once you obtain the NFPA 701 fire test results.

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