Hotlines
  • 995

    Fire Engine/ Ambulance

  • 1777

    Non-Emergency Ambulance

  • Fire Hazard Reporting

    1800 280 0000

  • General Enquiries

    1800 286 5555

  • 995

    Fire Engine/ Ambulance

  • 1777

    Non-Emergency Ambulance

Search Fire Code by:

Navigate to:

Legend: Explanations & Illustrations Rationale Note Revision history Print

Clause 2.3 - MEANS OF ESCAPE REQUIREMENTS

2.3.1 General

E

a. Means of escape shall be provided for all buildings by one or more of the facilities listed herein. Access and exit facilities not specifically covered in this Code shall not be used without the approval of the SCDF. Required exits shall be kept readily accessible, and doors shall be openable and unobstructed at all times during the occupancy of the building.

b. Exit staircase signage

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.1b

The signs facilitate awareness of one's location for building occupants and firefighters within the enclosed stairway. This would help to alleviate any fear of disorientation by a person using the exit staircase during a fire emergency.

(1) Exit staircases serving all buildings (except PG I) shall be provided with a signage not smaller than 300 x 300mm and be within the stairwell at each storey landing.

(2) The signage shall contain the following information:

(a) the storey number, at least 125mm in height; and

(b) an identification of the staircase in alphabetical and/or numeric form, at least 25mm in height.

(3) The letters and numbers on the sign can be of any colour that provides contrast with the background colour.

(4) The signage shall be located such that it is visible when the door is in the open position and also visible to any person moving up or down the staircase.

c. Fire escape plan

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.1c

The fire escape plan serves to orientate and guide the building occupants and public on the egress routes during an emergency.

These plans should be placed at common areas where the public and occupants of the building are most likely to frequent or use and can locate them easily. Such locations include common corridors, lobbies etc.

A fire escape plan shall be provided for all buildings except PG I and displayed in common lobbies or lift lobbies such that they are easily viewable by the building occupants and the general public passing through these common areas. The fire escape plan shall have legible letterings and the fire escape routes made clear to the viewer. It shall clearly show the layout of the floor in the correct orientation and highlight the escape routes (in relation to viewer’s location), escape corridors and exit staircases using appropriate colours, directional signs and words. Other information required on the plan are for firefighting and evacuation purposes and shall include the locations of the following:

(1) Fire lifts;

(2) Evacuation lifts;

(3) PWD holding points;

(4) Hose reels;

(5) Fire extinguishers;

(6) Manual alarm call points; and

(7) Rising mains.

2.3.2 Exit passageways

a. Fire resistance

Exit passageways that serve as a means of escape or required exits from any building or storey of a building shall have the requisite fire resistance as specified under Cl.3.3.

b. Internal exit passageway

An internal exit passageway which serves as required exit of a building shall comply with the following requirements:

E

(1) it shall be enclosed with construction complying with the provisions of Cl.3.3;

(2) the enclosure walls shall have not more than two exit doors, excluding the final discharge door and exit staircase door, opening into the exit passageway;

(3) exit doors opening into an exit passageway shall have fire resistance rating as required for exit doors opening into exit staircases, be fitted with automatic self-closing device and comply with the requirements of Cl.3.9.2 for fire resisting doors;

(4) the minimum width and capacity of exit passageway shall comply with the requirements as provided in Table 2.2A;

(5) changes in level along an exit passageway requiring less than two risers shall be via a ramp complying with the provisions under Cl.2.3.8; and

(6) if the exit staircase which connects to the internal exit passageway is pressurised, the internal exit passageway shall also be pressurised to comply with the requirements in Chapter 7.

c. External exit passageway

An external exit passageway can be used as a required exit in lieu of an internal exit passageway. It shall comply with the following requirements:

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.2c

An exit passageway provides the same level of protection from the effects of fire and smoke as an exit staircase. It is an extension of an exit staircase. An exit passageway can be provided when the travel distance from the occupied space to the exit staircase exceeds the permissible travel distance.

(1) any ventilation openings on the external wall between the exit passageway and the rest of the floor space shall be of non-combustible construction, fixed at a level of at least 1.8m, measured from the finished floor level of the passageway to the sill level of the openings and such ventilation openings shall be located not less than 3m from any opening of an exit staircase;

(2) it is exempted from the limitations of a maximum of two exit doors opening into the exit passageway;

(3) it can be roofed over provided the depth of the roofed over portion does not exceed 3m to avoid smoke logging;

(4) it can be enclosed on the open side by only a parapet wall of not less than 1m and not more than 1.1m in height and the vertical height of the unobstructed ventilation opening measured from the parapet wall up to the top edge of the opening or eaves of overhang shall not be less than 1.2m; and

(5) exit doors opening into an external exit passageway shall have fire resistance rating of at least ½-hr and shall be fitted with an automatic self- closing device.

d. Ventilation

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.2d

An internal exit passageway is an extension of an exit staircase and shall be adequately ventilated to prevent smoke-logged during a fire emergency. Where natural ventilation is not possible, mechanical ventilation shall be provided.

E

(1) All internal exit passageways shall be naturally ventilated by fixed ventilation openings in an external wall, such ventilation openings being not less than 15% of the floor area of the exit passageway.

(2) Internal exit passageways that cannot be naturally ventilated shall be mechanically ventilated to comply with the requirements in Chapter 7.

2.3.3 Exit staircase

a. Internal exit staircase

(1) Staircase enclosure

An internal exit staircase which serves as the required exit of the building shall be enclosed with construction complying with the provisions of Cl.3.8. The enclosure walls of an internal exit staircase, excluding the final discharge, shall not have more than two exit doors opening into the exit staircase shaft at each storey.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3a.(1)

The number of door opening into an exit staircase shall be controlled so as to minimise the risk of the staircase integrity being breached. These fire doors shall be closed fully in order to act as an effective barrier against the spread of fire and smoke.

E

(2) Approached via external exit passageway or external corridor

Where an internal exit staircase is directly approached from an external exit passageway or external corridor, such enclosure between the staircase and the external exit passageway or external corridor is not required.

E

(3) Unprotected openings

There shall be no unprotected openings of occupancy area or combustible material/construction within 1.5m horizontally or within 3m vertically below any opening including final discharge openings located in the external walls of the internal exit staircase.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3a.(3)

The minimum separation distances between openings of an internal exit staircase and nearby unprotected openings shall be maintained. This is to reduce the risk of smoke and fire spreading into the internal exit staircase during a fire emergency.

E

(4) Exception

(a) Single storey basement car park

Exit staircases, including exit ramps in compliance with Cl.2.3.8a. & Cl.2.3.8b., serving the single storey basement of PG II to VII buildings are not required to be protected with fire-rated enclosures, provided the travel distances in the car park measured to the exit doors at ground level comply with Table 2.2A.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3a.(4)(a)

The reasons for the relaxation are:

1. The car parking areas are provided with either automatic fire alarm or sprinkler system.


2. Car parking areas are usually not occupied, except during the times when people are parking or retrieving their cars.


3. Adequate ventilation for smoke, either by natural means or smoke purging.

4. Only single basement floor is involved.

(b) Standalone car park

Doors to exit staircases of standalone car park buildings that are without any commercial activities or non-ancillary usage can be omitted, provided that all of the following conditions are complied with:

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3a.(4)(b)

Fire safety engineering simulations using typical model of a 3-storey car park building were carried out to evaluate whether the fire-rated doors to the exit staircases could be omitted. The result was convincing as it indicated that occupants are able to escape safely to the exit staircases without being subject to untenable conditions in terms of temperature and visibility. The rationale of stipulating exit opening size is to avoid total removal of the staircase enclosures. Other supporting reasons include cross ventilation and low occupancy.

E

(i) The car park building shall not exceed five storeys above ground. It shall not consist of any basement storey, and shall not be connected to any other building, except by open-sided covered link-way.

(ii) At least two exit staircases shall be provided to serve every upper storey. The two staircases shall be located as remotely from one another as practicable. The exit openings to the staircases at each storey shall have a clear width of not more than 1m or less than 850mm and a clear height of not more than 2m. The staircases shall be ventilated by fixed openings in the external walls, such openings being of area not less than 10% of the floor area per floor of the staircase. Exit staircase and occupancy area shall not share the same air well or void for lighting and ventilation.

(iii) Every storey shall be provided with cross ventilation. The building shall be open-sided having not less than 50% of the sides (front, rear and sides elevations) permanently open, with such openings being evenly distributed around the perimeter walls, excluding perimeter walls to air well, so as to provide effective cross ventilation to all parts of the car parking decks.

(iv) No part of the floor space shall be more than 12m from the openings on the perimeter walls of the building or air wells. Air wells where provided for this purpose shall have a superficial plan area of not less than 10m², and have a minimum dimension on plan of 2m, open vertically to the sky for its full height.

(v) The travel distance within each car parking deck shall comply with Table 2.2A. For upper storeys, the travel distance requirement shall be measured to a position where the exit door to the staircase would have been installed if otherwise required.

(vi) The separation distance between the nearest edge of exit opening to exit staircase and the nearest edge of any vehicle parking lot shall not be less than 3m.

b. External exit staircase

(1) An exit staircase can qualify as an external exit staircase if no part of it is recessed more than 3m from the building façade and has:

(a) minimum two adjacent sides abutting an external space; or

(b) one of its longest sides abutting the external space.

(2) An external exit staircase can be used as required exit in-lieu of internal exit staircase provided:

(a) it complies with the requirements for exit staircase, and

(b) there is no unprotected opening, or combustible material/construction within 3m horizontally or within 3m vertically below, or adjacent or facing it.

Exception:

In a building designed with external corridor access, the access to the external exit staircase can be by means of the open-sided external corridor adjoining the occupancy areas, subject to the following:

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3b.(2)(b)

The minimum separation distances between openings of an external exit staircase and nearby unprotected openings shall be maintained. This is to reduce the risk of smoke and fire spreading into the internal exit staircase during a fire emergency.

Comparing to the internal exit staircase, a horizontal separation distance of 3m is mandated. This is because an external exit staircase has less protected enclosure.

E

(i) the external corridor shall be served by at least two exit staircases; and

(ii) unobstructed ventilation openings shall be provided along the long side of the external corridor above the parapet or balustrade; and

(c) its final discharge leads directly to an external space.

(3) Fire-rated doors to the external exit staircases shall be provided unless the conditions given in Cl.2.3.3a(4) are fully complied with.

c. Discharge

(1) All exit staircases shall discharge at ground level directly into:

E

(a) an external space, or

(b) an open-sided external corridor with no commercial activity and is not more than 5m from the building eave line, or

(c) an open-to-sky corridor having minimum width of 1.2m. and two-way escape paths leading to an external space. Any unprotected openings along the corridor shall not be located lower than 1.8m from the floor level.

(2) In a sprinkler-protected building, a maximum of 50% of the total number of exit staircase can be discharged directly to the ground level covered circulation space provided all of the following are complied with:

(a) The discharge point of the exit staircase into the ground level circulation space shall be within sight of and with direct access to an external space.

(b) The maximum distance between the discharge point of an exit staircase and the external space shall not exceed 10m.

(c) Where there are commercial activities e.g. shops or kiosks/carts located along one side or both sides of the designated escape passageway leading to an external space, a minimum separation distance of 10m shall be maintained between the commercial activities and the designated escape passageway. The circulation space shall also be installed with engineered smoke control system. Alternatively, the commercial activities shall be fire compartmented with walls and doors of minimum 1-hr fire resistance rating.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3c.(2)(c)

A study on the effect of radiation from a fire involving such commercial activities on occupants evacuating pass them was initiated. In the study, a sprinkler controlled 5MW shop fire was adopted. The study concluded that a minimum of 10m separation distance is needed between the commercial activities and the designated escape route to ensure the radiation is at the acceptable level along the escape path.

(d) The clear width of the exit doors leading to an external space shall be adequate to receive the occupant load in the 1st storey circulation space and the total number of people discharging from the internal exit staircases.

(3) In the case of a PG II residential building not fitted with an automatic sprinkler system, at least 50% of the total number of exit staircases shall discharge to an external space and the remaining exit staircase can be discharged to the ground level covered circulation space provided the following are complied with:

E

(a) the ground level covered circulation space shall be free of any commercial activity;

(b) the discharge point into the ground level circulation space shall be within sight of and provided with at least two alternative routes to an external space;

(c) the maximum distance between the discharge point of an exit staircase and the external space shall not exceed 10m;

(d) there shall not be more than four residential units opening into the designated escape passageway at grade level into which the exit staircase discharges; and

(e) the discharge point of an exit staircase shall be effectively cross- ventilated such that:

(i) each end has at least 50% permanent openings; and

(ii) no part of the circulation space shall be more than 10m from the openings on the perimeter walls of the building or air well.

(4) There shall be no unprotected openings of occupancy area or combustible material/construction within 3m from discharge point of the exit staircase (both internal and external). This distance can be reduced to 1.5m if the unprotected openings are along the same plane of the staircase exit.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3c.(4)

The specification of minimum distance between exit staircase discharge and nearby unprotected opening serves to minimize the risk of evacuees being affected by fire and smoke emitting from openings close to the staircase discharge. These distances specified have been validated through fire engineering study.

E

d. Minimum width and capacity

The minimum width and capacity of exit staircases shall be as specified in Table 2.2A, and such staircases shall comply with all of the following:

(1) Winders

Winders are not permitted in any building other than for access staircases in a residential unit and in such cases, there shall be not more than one winder per 90° turn.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3d.(1)

A winder is a tapered tread used to change the direction of a stairway. As it introduces a sudden change in the stair geometry, a winder could cause unwary occupants to trip and fall.

E

(2) Treads for circular staircase

Where a circular staircase is used as an exit staircases or access staircase in PG I & II buildings, the width of treads measured at the narrower end shall be not less than 100mm in residential buildings and 125mm in other buildings and at a distance of half metre from the narrower end shall be not less than 225mm in residential buildings and 250mm in other buildings. Such staircase shall not be more than 10m in height.

E

(3) Landings

The minimum clear width and length of a landing, where there is a change in direction, shall not be less than the clear width of the exit staircase.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3d.(3)

In view that BCA does not have any specific requirements for staircase landings, risers, treads and headroom for specific usages or spaces and has removed them from its code. These requirements are reinstated in this edition of the Fire Code to ensure the exit staircases meet minimum requirements for safe evacuation of occupants and access by firefighters for rescue and firefighting.

(4) Risers and treads

The height of the riser for any exit staircase shall not be more than 175mm and depth of tread shall not be less than:

(a) 225mm within residential units and 275mm for common areas of residential buildings;

(b) 250mm for PG VI and VIII buildings; and

(c) 275mm for all other buildings.

(5) Headroom

The clear headroom shall be at least 2m measured from the pitch line of the exit staircase or finished floor level of the landing to the underside of any obstruction.

(6) Handrails

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3d.(6)

Handrail provides support for occupants using the staircase. It also serves as a guide when smoke enters the staircase in a quantity sufficient to interfere with one’s vision, or when the exit staircase emergency lighting system fails. Staircase of not more than 1.25m in width is not too wide and evacuees using it can easily reach the handrail for support/guidance if necessary.

E

(a) Every exit staircase shall have handrails on both sides. For exit staircases with only 1.25m or less in width, a handrail can be provided only at one side, i.e. the opposite side shall be either wall, parapet or grilles.

(b) Where the width of the exit staircase exceeds 2m, handrails shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of Cl.2.2.8.

(7) Ventilation

All exit staircases shall be ventilated by fixed openings in the external walls, such openings being of area not less than 10% of the floor area per floor of the staircase, or mechanically ventilated to comply with the requirements in Chapter 7. Ventilation openings fronting an air well, external recessed space or external shall be in accordance with Table 1.4.2. Mechanical ventilation is not allowed for PG II, except for a staircase storey shelter.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3d.(7)

The minimum ventilation openings stipulated provide effective smoke ventilation for exit staircases. These dimensions have been validated through fire engineering study.

E

(8) Pressurisation

In any building, except PG II for which the habitable height exceeds 24m, any internal exit staircases without provision for natural ventilation shall be pressurised to comply with the requirements in Chapter 7. In a building comprising more than four basement storeys, the exit staircase connecting to the fire lift lobby shall be pressurised.

E

(9) Different modes of ventilation within a single staircase shaft

For buildings exceeding 24m in habitable height, the internal exit staircase can be naturally ventilated at its upper part and mechanically ventilated at its lower part provided this lower part does not exceed 24m in habitable height and there shall not be any intermediate staircase landing door separating the two modes of ventilation. If the lower part exceeds 24m in habitable height, this lower part shall be pressurised instead. For pressurisation of exit staircase, an intermediate staircase landing door is permitted.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.3d.(9)

This clause serves to address different modes of ventilation allowed within a single staircase shaft. Door at landing is only permitted for a partially pressurised internal exit staircase for the purpose of maintaining positive pressure within the staircase.

E

2.3.4 Scissor exit staircase

Scissor exit staircase shall comply with the following:

a. where two separate internal exit staircases are contained within the same enclosure, each exit staircase shall be separated from the other by non- combustible construction having fire resistance for a minimum period equal to that required for the enclosure;

E

b. such scissor exit staircases shall comply with all applicable provisions for exit staircase;

c. for exit door openings of scissor exit staircases, the separation distance between the two closer edges of staircase doors shall be at least 7m;

d. where there is only one pair of scissor exit staircases, the door opening into scissor exit staircases shall be spaced at least 1/3 the diagonal dimension of the area to be served in a sprinkler-protected building and ½ the diagonal dimension in a non-sprinkler-protected building in accordance with Cl.2.3.12; and

e. the ventilation openings of each staircase shall be located on alternate storeys if such openings or windows are serving both staircases on the same wall.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.4e

The purpose of this arrangement of ventilation openings for a scissor exit staircase is to ensure that if one of the staircase if breached, the smoke flowing out from that staircase ventilation opening will not enter into the other staircase.

E

2.3.5 Basement exit staircase

a. Any exit staircase which serves a basement storey of a building, unless otherwise stated in Cl.2.3.3a.(4)(a), shall comply with all the applicable provisions for exit staircase.

b. Such exit staircase shall not be made continuous with any other exit staircase which serves a non-basement storey of the building.

E

c. Separate protected shaft

Basement exit staircases which are vertically aligned with the exit staircases of non-basement storeys shall be separated from such other exit staircases by construction having fire resistance for a minimum period equal to that required for the enclosure.

E

d. Upper storey staircase that continues into basement

Where upper storey staircase is allowed by the SCDF to be continuous with that serving a basement which is naturally ventilated, all of the following shall be complied with:

(1) Entry at basement

The entry into the basement staircase shall be through a protected lobby, or directly from the basement occupancy area provided the door to the basement staircase is at least 1-hr fire-rated.

(2) Barrier

To prevent occupants exiting continuously from upper storeys into the basement storey during an emergency, a physical barrier in the form of a door or gate (self-closing type) shall be provided across the staircase landing at ground level to separate the discharge route of upper storeys from the basement staircase.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.5d.(2)

The barrier serves as a physical restriction to prevent occupants evacuating from upper storeys from continuing into the basement levels. This, with the aid of an exit directional sign, would help to alert occupants in the staircase enclosure that they on the level of exit discharge.

E

(3) Smoke-stop lobby

A smoke-stop lobby shall be provided for entry into the staircase at all storeys, including basement storeys if the staircase serves more than four storeys, including basement storeys.

(4) Signage

Appropriate signage shall be provided inside the staircase enclosure to direct occupants out of the building at ground level.

2.3.6 Hardwood staircase

E

a. A hardwood staircase can be used as an internal access staircase in building.

b. Where timber staircases are used in units in PG I and II buildings, which are not under conservation, the structural elements such as the stringer supporting the treads and risers shall be constructed of non-combustible materials.

2.3.7 Spiral staircase

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.7

Spiral staircases are not suited as required exits because they are typically steep and winding, thus causing occupants to take a longer time to complete their descent. The varying thread size also leads to the increased risk of occupants slipping and losing their footings.

E

a. Spiral staircases shall not serve as required exits, unless they comply with all of the following conditions. They shall:

1. be external and unenclosed;

2. serve only mezzanine floors, balconies, or any storey of occupant load not exceeding 25 persons;

3. be constructed of non-combustible materials;

4. have a tread length of at least 750mm; and

5. be not more than 10m high.

b. Spiral staircase shall not be designed as the sole means of escape for buildings under PG I and for PG II maisonettes and penthouses.

2.3.8 Exit ramp

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.8

A ramp can be used for vertical exit similar to that of an exit staircase provided its gradients meet the requirements. This is to prevent accidents as steep or abrupt elevations may cause tripping or hamper movement during evacuation.

Internal and external exit ramps can be used as exits in lieu of internal and external exit staircases subject to compliance with Cl.2.3.3 and all of the following:

a. Slope

The slope of such exit ramps shall not be steeper than 1 in 10.

b. Changes in direction

Exit ramps shall be straight with changes in direction being made at level platforms or landings only, except that exit ramps having a slope not greater than 1 in 12 at any place can be curved.

E

c. Platform

E

(1) Level platforms or landings shall be provided at the bottom, at intermediate levels where required and at the top of all exit ramps.

(2) Level platforms shall be provided at each door opening into or from an exit ramp.

(3) The minimum width and length of a platform or landing shall be not less than the width of the ramp, except that on a straight run ramp, the length of the level platform or landing need not be more than 1m.

d. Guards and handrails

Exit ramps shall have walls, guards or handrails and shall comply with the applicable requirements of Cl.2.3.3d. for exit staircases.

E

e. Surface

All exit ramps shall be provided with non-slip surface finishes.

f. Ventilation

Exit ramps shall be ventilated to comply with the requirements for ventilation of exit staircases.

 

g. Enclosure exemption

Exit ramps serving as means of escape to only one basement storey need not be protected by enclosure walls.

2.3.9 Exit doors and exit access doors

E

Exit doors and exit access doors shall comply with all of the following:

a. Door operation

Exit doors shall be capable of being opened manually, without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort for operation from the inside of the building. (Not applicable to buildings under PG I & II)

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9a

Occupants of PG I & II buildings are familiar with the floor layouts and exit facilities of their own premises. Hence, there isn’t any need to control how the exit doors of the units should be secured in order not to hamper escape during an emergency.

b. Fire resistance

Exit doors which are required to have fire resistance rating shall comply with the relevant provisions for fire resisting doors under Cl.3.9.2.

c. Door swing

Exit doors and exit access doors shall open in the direction of exit travel in the following situations:

(1) when leading to an area of refuge, exit and exit passageway, or

(2) when used in an exit enclosure, including smoke-stop and fire lift lobbies in a building, but excluding doors of individual residential units that open directly into an exit enclosure, or

(3) when serving a high hazard area, or

(4) when serving a room or space with more than 50 persons.

d. Exit door opening

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9d

Doors located along escape routes should preferably swing in the direction of escape to facilitate smooth evacuation. This requirement is especially important for exit access doors serving more than 50 persons and all exit doors.

(1) Opening into exit staircase

Exit doors opening into exit staircases and exit passageways shall not impede the egress of occupants when such doors are swung open.

E

(2) Opening into corridor

All doors which open into the corridor shall not hinder the movement of occupants. When such a door(s) is swung open, the corridor’s clear width shall be at least half of the required clear width as stipulated under Table 2.2A.

E

(3) Opening force

The maximum exit doors and exit access doors opening force shall be 30N at 0° and 20N at 30° opening.

e. Vision panel

The fire door to a protected staircase and smoke-stop/ fire lift lobby shall be constructed to incorporate a vision panel. The vision panel shall have a clear view size of 100mm width by 600mm height. The vision panel shall have the requisite fire resistance rating and shall not turn opaque when subject to heat. The bottom edge of the vision panel shall be located at 900mm above the finished floor level. The provision of vision panel shall not apply to fire doors of residential apartment or maisonette units.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9e

The main purpose of vision panel is to enable firefighters to appreciate the fire situation within the occupied spaces before entering. It will also help to prevent wheelchair users from being accidentally struck/knocked by the door swing. The revised vision panel mounting height of 1200mm to 900mm was also found to be suitable for use by wheelchair users.

E

f. Revolving doors

Revolving doors shall not be used as exit doors for required exits.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9f

Owing to the high possibility of jamming, revolving doors cannot be accepted as exit doors for escape purposes. When a revolving door is present, an exit door with an exit sign shall be provided adjacent to it.

E

g. Exit door of residential unit

Exit door of each residential unit shall be located at not more than 500mm from the strata-title line to prevent the creation of a large entrance alcove/ corridor. However, in situations where the entrance alcove/corridor leads into an open- sided common corridor which meets the requirements for smoke-free approach under Cl.9.2.1a.(4)(e) & (f), the separation distance between the entrance alcove/corridor and the nearest exit staircase shall not be less than 3m.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9g

The purpose of controlling the depth and location of the entrance alcove/corridor is to limit/prevent storage of combustible items within this space and to maintain the integrity of the egress path and the exit staircase(s).

E

h. Door located in a path of travel

(1) Any door located in a path of travel shall be of the side-hinged or pivoted swing type. The door shall be designed and installed so that when swung open, it does not prevent full use of the opening. The minimum clear width of the door opening shall not be less than the required door clear width.

Exception

(a) Requirement on door swing shall not apply to buildings under PG I and residential units under PG II.

(b) Locking device

With prior consent from the SCDF, locking of exit doors is permissible at certain rooms or spaces of healthcare occupancies and detention and correctional occupancies.

 

(c) Sliding doors & roller shutters

Sliding door and roller shutter as listed in Cl.2.3.9h.(2)(a) to (d) below are permitted to be installed across the exit access leading to exits, including the exterior door openings, except in areas stipulated under Cl.2.3.9c.(1) and (3). These doors shall not form part of the fire compartment integrity.

(2) Manually operable sliding doors/roller shutters

(a) Manually operable sliding doors or roller shutters shall be capable of being opened and closed manually from either side of the door. The maximum opening force for sliding doors/roller shutters shall not be more than 30N.

(b) A manually operable sliding door or roller shutter that can remain in closed position during the period of occupation is permitted for rooms or spaces with occupant load not exceeding 50 persons. When opened, it shall not reduce the effective width/height of the doorway leading to the escape route. The sliding door or roller shutter is allowed for room or space that serves more than 50 persons provided it shall remain in the full open position during the period of occupation. A readily discernible sign with the lettering “THIS DOOR TO REMAIN OPEN WHEN THE BUILDING IS OCCUPIED” shall be permanently pasted on both sides of such a sliding door or roller shutter at a height of 1.4m from the finished floor level. The lettering shall be 25mm in height and painted in white on a red background with reflective surface.

E

(c) Wicket door

A wicket door can be incorporated within a roller shutter or sliding door. The wicket door shall be of the swing type having a minimum head height of 2m and a clear width of not less than the required door clear width. The wicket door shall comply with all the requirements of an exit access door, and be clearly marked and readily visible so that the occupants can readily see where the door is. It shall be fitted only with simple fastenings that can be manually operated for ease of escape.

E

(d) Sliding door with swing-out feature

A sliding door which can be swung open shall swing in the direction of escape travel when a certain horizontal force is applied to the door. When the sliding door is converted to a swing door, it shall comply with all the requirements of an exit access door. The maximum door opening force shall be 30N at 0° and 20N at 30° opening. A readily visible sign with the letterings “IN EMERGENCY, PUSH TO OPEN” shall be affixed onto the door.

(e) Power operated sliding doors/roller shutters

Power operated automatic sliding doors/roller shutters, shall be linked to the building fire alarm system. The sliding door/ roller shutter shall automatically open to the required width/ height (of door opening) upon the activation of the fire alarm. The automatic sliding door/ roller shutter shall also comply with all of the following:

E

(i) Fail-safe type

The automatic sliding doors/roller shutters shall be of the fail safe type. Should there be any fault in the electrical or sensor device, or any power failure (either mains or battery powered), these doors shall automatically open and remain in an open position until power is restored.

(ii) Manual override

A manual override mechanism (a device to trigger the immediate opening of sliding doors/roller shutters) shall be provided. The doors shall open and remain open upon activation of this device. This device shall be housed in a break glass box located beside the sliding doors or roller shutters and fixed at a height of 1.2m above the finished floor level. It shall be easily accessible, conspicuous and be free from obstructions. A readily discernible sign with the lettering “EMERGENCY DOOR RELEASE” shall be permanently displayed beside the switch. The letterings shall be of at least 15mm in height. 

Exception: Powered sliding doors, roller shutters and swing doors that belong to the unit owners or tenants are not required to be linked to the building fire alarm system, provided they are designed as fail-safe type, installed with manual override, and do not form part of the building’s fire protection system, e.g. smoke control system.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9h.(2)(e)(ii)

The provision of manual override mechanism is an additional measure to ensure occupants can still get out of their unit should the powered-operated door/shutter failed to open its door/shutter on activation of the building fire alarm and/or localised detector.

i. Exit/exit access door serving spaces of mass occupation

Any exit door or exit access door serving spaces of assembly/mass occupation, namely, auditorium, concert hall, theatre, assembly hall, exhibition hall, conference hall, cinema, stadium, function hall, casino, or any other spaces with an occupant load factor of not greater than 1m2/person and occupant load greater than 50, which has to be kept shut and fastened while the building or part of the building is occupied shall be fitted with ‘panic exit device’. The panic exit device shall operate to open the door when a pressure is applied on the bar in the direction of travel and be appropriately marked ‘Push Bar To Open’ in letters not less than 50mm high.

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9i

The purpose of panic exit device is to provide an intuitive means of escape for spaces housing large crowds to prevent stampede in a panic situation.

j. Locking of doors to exit staircase, smoke-stop lobby and fire lift lobby

One-way locking device e.g. panic bolt or thumb turn locking device is not permitted under the following situations:

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9j

The specific doors shall not have locking device so as to enable firefighting crews to have direct and immediate access to occupied spaces. This requirement will cut down unnecessary time wasted on breaking open the locked doors.

(1) for the exit door between exit staircase and fire lift lobby;

(2) for the exit door between exit staircase and smoke-stop lobby/fire lift lobby/ occupancy area on re-entry floor; and

(3) for the exit access door between smoke-stop lobby/fire lift lobby and occupancy area on re-entry floor.

k. Access control using smart card locking device, magnetic bar and electromechanical locking device

(1) Where access control using smart card locking device, magnetic bar or electromechanical locking device are installed at fire-rated door(s) of an exit staircase and smoke-stop/fire lift lobby (see also note to Table 6.3A):

(a) the activation of the building fire alarm or sprinkler system shall automatically unlock the door. It shall remain unlocked until the building fire alarm system has been manually reset; and

(b) in addition, the door shall be arranged to unlock from a manual override device located within the occupancy space, 1.2m above the floor and within 1.5m of the exit door jamb. The manual override device shall be readily accessible and clearly identified by a sign that reads “Emergency Door Release”. The mechanism to unlock the door shall be fail-safe type.

(2) Access control belonging to tenanted spaces

Where access control belonging to tenanted spaces are installed with smart card locking device, magnetic bar, electromechanical locking device and the like to prevent unauthorised access, such locking mechanism shall be arranged to unlock from a manual override device in accordance with Cl.2.3.9k.(1)(b). The manual override device serves as a means for occupant to get out of the occupied space during a fire emergency. Any form of staff access control facilitating daily operation shall not be considered as a substitute for manual override device. Cl.2.3.9k.(1)(a) is not applicable to tenanted spaces.

(3) Where doors opening into a passenger lift lobby are provided with access-control and locked after normal operation hours, the lobby shall be designed to have direct access to at least one exit staircase to prevent other designated floor during fire emergency or building power failure. Alternatively, a two-way communication system shall be available inside the lift lobby for use by trapped occupants to call for help. The two-way communication system shall be linked to the FCC and/or building control room which shall be manned 24 hours.

l. Staircase re-entry

R Rationale - Clause 2.3.9l

The concept of re-entry floor is originated from the recommendation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) after the 911 incident. The purpose is to facilitate occupants ability to gain access to another exit staircase should the egress via an exit staircase be blocked off or it being rendered unusable in an emergency situation.

E

(1) Every exit staircase enclosure serving more than 7 storeys of a non- residential building, excluding buildings of detention and correctional occupancies, shall allow re-entry from the staircase enclosure to the interior of the building. There shall be at least one level where it is possible to re-enter into the interior of the building from the exit staircase enclosure.

(2) The re-entry points shall be located not more than 6 storeys apart. There shall not be more than three storeys above the highest re-entry door in the building.

(3) Where re-entry is provided from the staircase enclosure, it shall open into a common corridor that is connected directly to at least one other exit staircase.

(4) Staircase doors permitting re-entry into the building, shall be identified with a signage “Re-entry door” of at least 50mm lettering height on the staircase side of the staircase door.

(5) Where locking is required for doors of smoke-stop lobby, fire lift lobby or exit staircase on the re-entry floor, they shall be fitted with an electro- mechanical locking device complying with Cl.2.3.9k.(1)

Note: Where the doors of exit staircases, smoke-stop lobbies or fire lift lobbies are provided with one-way locking device or electromechanical lock, a signage, though not mandatory, should be provided to warn occupants that they would not be able to re-enter the floor should they exit from it. The signage should be positioned at the entrance into exit staircase, smoke-stop lobby or fire lift lobby.

2.3.10 External corridor

External corridor shall comply with the following requirements:

a. the vertical height of the unobstructed and uninterrupted ventilation opening measured from the parapet wall/balustrade/grille/railing up to the top edge of the opening or eaves of overhang shall not be less than 1.2m;

E

b. where the external corridor is roofed over, the depth of the covered area/portion shall not exceed 3m;

c. where any room or space with sleeping risk is located along the corridor, a 1-hr fire resistance rating wall of height not less than 1.1m, measured from the finished floor level of the external corridor to the sill level of the opening, shall be provided along the corridor leading to the exits. Any ventilation openings above the fire-rated wall shall be of non-combustible construction;

d. the door opening into the external corridor need not be fire-rated;

E

e. the provision of parapet wall, or balustrade for an external corridor shall be at most 1.1m and at least 1m in height along the outer side of the corridor; and

f. the length of unobstructed and uninterrupted openings above the parapet wall of the external wall shall not be less than 6m and shall abut an external space.

2.3.11  Air well

a. The minimum size of an air well shall comply with Table 1.4.2 for ventilation of: 

(1) exit staircases; and 

(2) exit passageways (as an extension to an exit staircase).

b. An air well shall have a minimum clear area of 93m2 and minimum width of 6m and without obstruction vertically throughout the airspace for ventilation of: 

(1) smoke-stop lobby;

(2) external corridor;

(3) external exit passageway;

(4) cross-ventilated corridor/lobby;

(5) common internal corridor stipulated under Cl.9.2.1a.(10)(b); and

(6) internal corridor of hotel, hostel, service apartment, healthcare occupancy, workers’ dormitories and the like.

2.3.12 Remoteness of exits

a. Where more than one exit is required from a building or portion thereof, such exits shall be remotely located from each other and shall be arranged and constructed to minimise the possibility that more than one can be rendered unusable by any one fire or other emergency condition.

b. If two exits or exit access doors are required, they shall be placed at a distance from one another equal to or not less than half the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the building or area to be served, measured in a straight line between the furthest edges of the exit doors or exit access doors (see Diagram 2.3.12b. - 1 to 5), subject to the following: 

(1) if the distance between the 2 exits or exit access doors is less than half the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the building or area to be served, it shall be considered as a one-way escape arrangement;

(2) the separation distance measured in a straight line between the furthest edges of the doors of the two exits (exit staircases, exit passageways or exit ramps) shall not be less than 7m.; and

(3) for PG II buildings, the separation distance of the exits on the residential floor shall not be less than half the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the protected lobby/corridor or external corridor. 

E

c. Reduction in exit separation

In buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system which complies with the requirements of Chapter 6, the minimum separation distance between two exits or exit access doors measured in accordance with Cl.2.3.12a.& b. shall be not less than one third the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the building or area to be served. The separation distance measured in a straight line between the furthest edges of the doors of the two exits (exit staircases, exit passageways or exit ramps) shall not be less than 7m.

E

d. Exit separation measured along exit access corridor

Where two exit staircases, exit passageways or exit ramps are inter-connected by a corridor, exit separation can be measured along the line of travel within the exit access corridor. The exit access corridor connecting the exit staircases, exit passageways or exit ramps shall be protected by minimum 1-hr fire-rated enclosures. Doors opening into this corridor shall have minimum ½-hr fire resistance rating (see Diagram 2.3.12d.). The separation distance measured along the line of travel within the exit access corridor between the furthest edges of the doors of the two exits (exit staircases, exit passageways or exit ramps) shall not be less than 7m.

E

e. One-way travel 

(1) A one-way travel or “common path” exists if a floor space is arranged or provided with partitioning works such that occupants within that space are able to travel in only one direction to reach any of the exits or to reach the splitting point where they have the choice of two or more routes of travel to remote exits.

(2) The travel distance from the most remote point to the splitting point shall not exceed the permissible one-way travel distance allowed in Table 2.2A. At the splitting point, the angle of divergence between any two alternative routes shall not be less than 90º in order that the routes originating from the splitting point can be considered as two-way travel.

(3) The aggregate travel distances of the one-way travel from the most remote point to the splitting point and the continuous two-way travel from the splitting point to the nearest exit shall not exceed the permissible two-way travel distance allowed in Table 2.2A.

E