Essential Property Services observes many clients being confused and frustrated with their understanding of the terms doors, exit and exit doors when they either receive a building notice from the local council or when reading from an essential safety measures inspection report.
This article aims to provide the reader with the background knowledge to allow you to communicate professionally with either the building surveyor/ building certifier or essential safety measures auditor relative to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) terms for ‘doors’ and ‘exit doors’ when used in essential safety measure audits and building approvals.
Building Code of Australia
The BCA is very specific in its approach for the location, use and operation of exit doors for egress requirements. The BCA does ‘not’ use the term ‘exit doors’, this is a generic term to describe a combination of clauses in the BCA. Exit is a defined term, where as doors are nominated in many clauses to obtain the necessary attributes depending on the use and location, such as fire rating, swing, construction, locking devices and smoke-proofing.
The following part extract from (helps in the understanding of the term exit doors) BCA Part A1 Interpretation A1.1 Definitions states:
Exit means –
(a) Any, or any combination of the following if they provide egress to a road or open space –
(i) An internal or external stairway.
(ii) A ramp.
(iii) A fire-isolated passageway.
(iv) A doorway opening to a road or open space.
(b) A horizontal exit or a fire-isolated passageway leading to a horizontal exit.
The following illustration depicts what constitutes an exit from a storey. The doors entering the stairwells are generically called exit doors.