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Open stairwells that circle around an elevator with generous lobby

Townsend Wilson
September 9, 2015

I'm trying to figure out vertical penetration given the stairs itself cut thru the floors in an L shape however for smoke separation purposes at each floor the walled in stair landing area is a generous amount of floor area that can include more or less floor area depending on which floor one is on. The stairs wrap around an elevator shaft and the lobby area for the elevator is part of this expanded stairwell. Does one treat the entire area as a vertical pentration or limit it to the stair risers only? I'm emailing an image of the stairs.

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
September 9, 2015

Hi Townsend,

If the surrounding walls are a code requirement (usually fire rated) than the entire area would be treated as a Major Vertical Penetration. Otherwise, the vertical penetration would be limited to the elevator shaft and risers.


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