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Inward opening fire exit door for a shop


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Hi there

Would be grateful for some advice.

We have a small shop selling gifts and home accessories which occupies the front (street facing) quarter of a 250 sq m ground floor property. The premises used to be a garage and has old, heavy folding garage doors across the front giving on to the street. The building is Grade 2 listed and we are further restricted by being in a conservation area and in a National Park.

At the moment our customers enter and exit the our shop via one "leaf" of the folding doors - approx 700mm wide but this is inward opening. The shop is not deep (6m) so we regard this single exit as sufficient Fire Exit for our small space at present.

However there is a proposal by our landlord to develop the rear of our premises into another shop and/or cafe. It will have its own street entrance and exit to the rear but due to the size of the premises it will also require a separate Fire Exit through the rear of our shop and out through our final exit door to the street. The design of the current garage doors means it is impractical to make our exit door outward opening without major work..

Is it inevitable that we (and/or our landlord) will be obliged to find some way to remodel the current garage doors to make our final exit door outward opening and of sufficient size?

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An inward opening door can normally be used for up to 60 persons. Building Regulations do not allow escape routes through other occupancies (nor would you want this from a security aspect) so they shouldn't be doing this in the first place.





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Thanks for your advice.

I have now looked up the "escape routes through other occupancies" paragraph the Building Regs. I am not sure anyone involved here is aware of this. We have not been in contact with Building Control ourselves but I think our landlord has so it's surprising this hasn't come up already.

Is the "no escape route through other occupancies" and absolute prohibition in your experience? It would be good to know before suggesting to our landlord that he needs to clarify the position.


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  • 6 months later...


We also have an inward opening exit door that we want to upgrade to a fire exit door that would meet regulations. At the moment it has a lock and bolts on it. Are there panic bars or equivalent that you could fit to an inward opening door. It also has 2 steps leading up to it. Would this be an issue as a fire exit that opens inwards?

We are a small artists studio with 23 users.


Many thanks

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No there aren't, but with less than 60 persons it doesn't need to open outward or be 'panic proof', the below would be acceptable:




As an external door unless protecting an external escape route (such as an external stair) it doesn't have to be a fire door, which in the fire safety definition is a fire resisting doorset with a minimum resistance to fire (& where required smoke). Your door sounds like a final exit,i.e.a door leading from the premises to a place of safety, so as long as it's sturdy enough for your security needs you need only change the door furniture and not the whole door.

Edited by AnthonyB
ins & outs!
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True! - and the ext mechanism signed to - if you used what I suggested then the signs you would need would be:



The turn to open would need a clockwise or anticlocwise arrow dependant on which way you have to turn the latch - obvious I know, but sometimes forgotten!




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Thank you so much for your help, both of you. Absolutely brilliant.


Another question: this door leads on to an alley that has another door at the end of it, which leads to the street. Can you recommend good door furniture for a quick exit here? I suppose it would have to be hard wearing as this door is outside. It would possibly also need a key to gain access from the street side, as it is sometimes used by neighbours for access. It is part of our evacuation route, but the alley runs alongside back gardens, so other escape routes are possible.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Ross

Thanks for getting back to me.


Yes, in theory, but i was wondering about the suitability of this hardware on a totally external door. I.e the door is essentially a glorifies garden gate. Will the 'internal' handle etc be affected by the elements?

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If the lock suggested by AB can be fitted then it is made of stainless steel and should not be affected by the elements with good maintenance, I would need to know a lot more details to give a complete answer.

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