Adds a requirement for an elevator to serve occupied roofs when the roof level is essentially the fourth story above the level of exit discharge.
2021 Code Text:
1009.2.1 Elevators required.
In buildings where a required accessible floor or occupied roof is four or more stories above or below a level of exit discharge, not less than one required accessible means of egress shall be an elevator complying with Section 1009.4.
- In buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2, the elevator shall not be required on floors provided with a horizontal exit and located at or above the levels of exit discharge.
- In buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2, the elevator shall not be required on floors provided with a ramp conforming to the provisions of Section 1012.
The past several code change cycles have attempted to provide better and more consistent guidance on how to deal with occupied roofs. In the 2018 edition, the <i>International Building Code</i> (IBC) was modified to specifically include occupied roofs as needing to be served by an accessible route similar to how accessible stories in a multistory building were addressed. Though the IBC specifically stated that an accessible route was required to the occupied roof, there was some debate as to how the accessible means of egress provisions should be applied. One of those issues was elevator access.
The occupied roof clearly had to be provided with an accessible route, however the elevator provisions only counted accessible floors when determining if an elevator was required. Section 1009.2.1 required an elevator where an accessible “floor” was four or more “stories” above a level of exit discharge. As an example, if there was an occupied roof on a four-story building, that roof level had only three “stories” between it and the level of exit discharge and the roof itself did not qualify as a story under the definition in the code. Therefore, there were not “four or more stories” above the level of exit discharge and it seemingly would not require elevator service. It was clearly the code’s intent for the occupied roof to comply with accessible means of egress. Since the occupied roof is not a “story,” this issue was often debated.
Under the 2021 code, the occupied roof on a four story or taller building will generally impose the requirements of Section 1009.2.1 that an elevator provide “not less than one” of the required accessible means of egress. Having the elevator available for independent or possibly assisted rescue will help emergency responders who would help people from the occupied roof. This will help limit the number of levels where people must be carried or assisted down the stairways as well as generally ensure that people who use wheelchairs will be able to be brought down from upper levels with their chair. Addressing the occupied roof level even though it is not a “story” will lead to greater consistency when applying the elevator requirement.