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Stairs that have no doors- not real stairwells

Townsend Wilson
February 23, 2017

On some of our small 2 story government buildings built many years ago, we tend to have stairs that resemble a stairwell but there are no doors to the stairs on the 1st floor nor on the 2nd floor. At times there may be a door built later on one of the floors to control access- no for fire/smoke separation. At times it's a straight run of stairs from 1st to 2nd floor and at other times, the stairs are in a tight U shape. There is no open air space to look down or up. Is this a BS(1st floor) and void(2nd floor) scenario or does one stay with Vertical penetration?

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
February 24, 2017

Hi Townsend,

It's difficult to answer without seeing floor plans but I believe the way you are describing this, these are unenclosed stairwells. As long as there is a hole in the floor slab, Major Vertical Penetration would apply. When a stair occurs in a VOID then the stair is part of the VOID and not a Major Vertical Penetration. Feel free to send plans to mail@xmeasures.com if you would like greater clarity.


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