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"Panic Loading" for NJ/NYC BC on Handrails & Guards

"Panic Loading" for NJ/NYC BC on Handrails & Guards

"Panic Loading" for NJ/NYC BC on Handrails & Guards


I'm aware of the standard required loading on handrails and guards of 200 lb concentrated load and 50 lb/ft uniform load applied horizontally and vertically, as well as the 50 psf load on any infill material.

But my boss inquired about what the increased ("Panic") load requirement is for NYC or NJ's building codes.

For instance if there is an abnormal situation where people are rushing from a building due to a fire or any threat for example, the handrails and guardrails may experience a higher than normal load. Is this required load stated anywhere in the building codes?


RE: "Panic Loading" for NJ/NYC BC on Handrails & Guards

Nope. The means of egress system is supposed to be designed with an adequate width with the required openings and vertical clearances and limited travel distances to ensure the safe movement of people from a common path of travel to the exit access to the exit and to the public way. If the building has a fire, the requirements for fire protection are going to be based on the building's fire area, height, location of the level of exit discharge and a host of other requirements.

If it's an active shooter well, I can't protect you from every hazard. If I could the 9-11 incident would have been prevented. It doesn't mean that your concern cannot be considered in a design. The larger question for your issue is how much additional load resistance is required?

RE: "Panic Loading" for NJ/NYC BC on Handrails & Guards

I haven't come across any extra guard or handrail loading requirements in the NYC building code. 50 plf is a fairly high load and would cover a stair being completely occupied. As stookeyfpe mentioned the means of egrees is supposed to be designed for adequate width to accommodate everyone in the building during an emergency. Unless you get a bunch of people pulling and pushing on the rail 50 plf is plenty enough.

"Look for 3 things in a person intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don't have the last one, don't even bother with the first 2. W. Buffet

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