Building code question

My 4 story office building has external doors that swing inwards. How can that be legal? Did someone make a mistake?

Maybe grandfathered in? How old is the building?

built in 1999 so it’s very modern

I don’t know where you live, but every place I’ve ever been required exit doors to swing outward. Doors specifically designed as fire exits had to be fire-rated and self-closing. Perhaps your city’s fire code permitted otherwise in 1999, but it seems unlikely. Was the building constructed specifically as an office space, or is it a converted residential building?

Does it exit on to the sidewalk? I may be mistaken, but I think I’ve seen that allowed if the door opens right on to the sidewalk so that people exiting the building don’t hit people walking on the sidewalk not expecting a door to fly open. It makes sense, the amount of injuries it’s likely to cause is probably more than the likelihood of a fire happening.
OTOH, it wouldn’t bother me if doing that required another door, within eyesight that opened outward that way if people were pushed against it, eventually they would find the other door and start making their way out that one.

It leads to a parking deck so maybe that’s a loophole in the code. Still seems like a dumb idea since I don’t think the way a door swings impacts the cost.

Who knows? Maybe the contractor fitted them the wrong way round. If you are concerned, give the appropriate department a call.

that’s the zombie horde loophole.

That may not be an “egress path” from the building. For example, a stairwell has doors on the non-ground level swing into the stair well as that is the path of egress (Office to stairs). On the ground level, the door swings out. Without seeing the building I couldn’t say for sure, but maybe you egress from the parking deck to a corridor or stairwell, down (or up) to ground level and exit the building.

I think if there is a fire people will head out that door. The parking deck is small and they can get out of it quickly.

For the building code I guess it depends on if the deck is considered part of the building or not.

Well, again, I don’t know what your building is, or the design, so it’s hard to give an answer.

The local building department may have wanted to treat the parking building as a separate entity than the office building, which is reasonable: you don’t want people running from a burning building to a potentially burning building with gasoline in cars. They want people to egress the building directly to the street level as quickly as possible without going thru a maze of another building.

Is this door treated as an egress? Is there an exit sign? Do stairs lead to this door, and not down to the street level?

Is there an obvious egress path from the door thru the parking deck to the street? The Building Code would insist on that.

Or, like you say, people will exit out that way. Any way to get away from a fire.

Or it could be a legal egress, and the contractor screwed up.

(As always, there are special circumstances that may be different from above rulings.)

Don’t recall if there is an exit sign , will check on that Monday.

I would hope that if the contractor screwed up, it would have been caught by the building inspectors. But when I had town inspectors come to my house to inspect work, they spent so little time I think they could have missed a lot of stuff .

Exits bring you from a place of lesser safety to a place of greater safety.

For example, the protection of a stairwell is greater than that of an office corridor, so the door swings along the path of egress into the stairwell. At the bottom of the stairwell, the door will either go directly outside, or into an area with protection equivalent to that of the stairwell, and the door will swing out of the stairwell. Again, it will swing along with the path of egress.

Which is a safer area - the parking garage, or the inside of the building? Are there sprinklers in the garage? How about inside the building? Certainly, there may be a fire inside the building, and you want to exit into the parking garage. What is more likely - a rip-roaring fire in the garage, where you have cars (with an average 10 or so gallons of fuel each, close to each other, with no separation) or a rip-roaring fire in the building (with control over the interior finish, sprinklers, and adequate separation)? From a code enforcement point of view, the garage is much worse. Exit from the garage (less safe) into the building (more safe). The door should swing into the building.

Along the same lines, you (should) never see an exit sign over the kitchen door in a restaurant. Most codes will not allow exits from the sitting/eating area through the kitchen, because the kitchen is more likely to be a place of less safety than the sitting/eating area. Even though there are likely exit signs in the kitchen leading outside, the customers are directed out other exits, as passing through the kitchen is not likely a good idea.

Dude, I hate to tell ya’, but that building was built in the last [del]century[/del] millennium.