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Fire exit door connumdrum - single v's double door

Guest Vicky

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Hi there,

We have a fairly old building (built 1890). The back stairs / back corridor is the means of escape for a (rented flat) and office (5 occupants) and a small bar (60 occupants), the exit is via our back fire door, it opens out directly onto the street. (there is an alternative means of escape over the roof for the flat). For the bar, there is also the front door of the bar as an escape route, but these are old fashioned Victorian pub doors that open inwards)

For the back fire exit, which i view as our main fire exit we have a conundrum. The width of the opening is 120cm. It opens directly onto the pavement and has 2 old narrow (55cm), outward opening doors 'set back' 70cm from the pavement (so pedestrians would not get hit / knocked over if someone flings the doors open). I want to get these replaced.

Does the minium fire exit width apply to the opening, or the actual doors?

I was hoping i could get a double door set with crash bars, so each door would be under the 80cm minimum but the 'exit' width will be 120cm which is fine.

If i get a larger door (80cm) with a 'side leaf' then when the door opens fully, it will open out into the pavement, into the direct path of pedestrians and potentially hit someone. As it is a busy road, from a risk assessment perspective that is a real issue, the door is in constant use, and if someone gets hit, knocked off balance into the street in front of a car, well they could be seriously injured.

It's not possible to set the doors back any more.

Advice welcome.


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Because you have said you are considering a double door set with crash bars, then I assume the use of panic bars/pads will not interfere with the use of the door then I would think having two doors, both open by panic  bars/pads would be considered acceptable. You will most probable have to use bespoke door set, which will be more expensive and you will need to provide suitable signage. You will also need to clear this with building control, as it may be considered a material change.

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