Texas Health & Safety Code - Section 791.012. Minimum Specifications For Exterior Stairway Fire Escapes
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Texas Laws > Health & Safety Code > Texas Health & Safety Code - Section 791.012. Minimum Specifications For Exterior Stairway Fire Escapes
Section: 791.002 791.003 791.004 791.005 791.006 791.007 791.011 791.012 791.013 791.014 791.015 791.016 791.021 791.022 791.023
§ 791.012. MINIMUM SPECIFICATIONS FOR EXTERIOR STAIRWAY
FIRE ESCAPES. (a) An exterior stairway fire escape is a structure
(1) is located on the exterior of a building;
(2) is constructed of iron, steel, or reinforced
(3) consists of balconies and stairways.
(b) An exterior stairway fire escape may be constructed in:
(1) superimposed form;
(2) straight run form;
(3) superimposed form with intermediate balconies; or
(4) a combination of those forms.
(c) The balconies for a superimposed form stairway fire
escape attached to the building at two or more floors must equal in
length the horizontal length of the stair runs plus an amount at
each end equal to the width of the stairs. Each balcony must be as
long as the width of the exit opening in the building wall and must
be at least 50 inches wide inside the balcony railings.
(d) The balconies for a superimposed form stairway fire
escape with intermediate balconies attached to the building at two
or more floors must be at least equal in width to the combined width
of the stairways connected by the balconies leading both up and
down. The landings at the head and foot of the stairs must be as
deep as the width of the stairs and as long as the width of the exit
opening in the building wall.
(e) The balconies for a straight run form stairway fire
escape must be at least equal in width to the width of the stairs and
as long as the width of the exit opening in the building wall.
(f) The floor of an iron or steel balcony must be either
solid or slatted. If solid, the floor must have a scored surface to
prevent slipping and, to provide drainage, must be pitched at a
slope of not less than one-half inch in 10 feet. If slatted, the
slats may not be placed more than three-quarters inch apart and must
be secured with rivets or bolts. Material used in the floor must be
at least three-sixteenths inch thick.
(g) The railing enclosures of a balcony must be at least two
feet nine inches high. If of vertical and horizontal slat or grill
construction, a space between slats or within the grill may not have
a horizontal width of more than eight inches. If of truss
construction, the span of a panel may not exceed three feet. An
opening in the railing enclosures on any type of construction may
not exceed two square feet. A railing enclosure must be free
throughout its length from obstructions that tend to break
handholds, and the passage space must be smooth and free from
obstructions or projections. A railing enclosure must be designed
to withstand a horizontal pressure of 200 pounds per running foot of
railing without serious deflection.
(h) A balcony must be anchored to the building with bolts at
least one inch in diameter, extending through the wall of the
building and provided with a wall bearing plate on the interior that
is at least five inches square and three-eighths inch thick, or must
be anchored by such bolts set in concrete or masonry or made
integral in new buildings. A balcony may not be placed above or
more than one foot below the top of the sill of the exit opening in
the building wall and preferably should be level with the sill.
(i) A concrete balcony must meet the requirements of this
section and must be made of reinforced concrete composed of one part
cement, two parts sand, and four parts stone or gravel. The railing
enclosure of a concrete balcony must meet the specifications of
this section or be made of reinforced concrete, with balusters
spaced not more than one foot apart.
(j) The pitch of a fire escape stairway may not exceed 45
(k) The stairway treads must be at least eight inches wide,
excluding nosings, and at least 24 inches long. Treads must be
placed so that the rise, either open or closed, does not exceed
eight inches. If solid, treads must have a scored surface. If
slatted, the slats must be placed not more than three-quarters inch
apart and be well secured by bolts or rivets. Material used in the
treads must be at least three-sixteenths inch thick.
(l) Railings must be provided on both sides of stairs. The
railings must be at least two feet nine inches high, measured
vertically from the center of the stair treads, and must be
supported by balusters spaced not more than one foot apart. If an
intermediate rail is provided, it shall be provided halfway between
the top rail and the stair stringers and the balusters must be
placed not more than five feet apart. Stair railings must permit at
least 24 inches of unobstructed passageway and must be designed to
withstand a horizontal pressure of 200 pounds per running foot of
railing without serious deflection.
(m) Concrete stairs must comply with the requirements of
this section and must be made of reinforced concrete composed in the
same mix as provided by Subsection (i). Railing enclosures for
concrete stairs must be either as provided by Subsection (g) or of
reinforced concrete balustrade with balusters spaced not more than
one foot apart.
(n) Stairways must be built stationary to grade where
possible and must be built stationary to grade for buildings such as
schools or hospitals.
(o) If a fire escape terminates over a street, alley,
private driveway, or other similar situation and terminates in a
hinged and counterbalanced section of stairway, the construction of
that section of stairs must conform to the stationary parts of the
stairway and must be balanced so that the weight of one person on
the third or fourth tread will lower the stairway to the landing.
Bearings for counterbalanced stairs must be either bronze bushings
or have sufficient clearance to prevent sticking caused by
corrosion. A latch or lock may not be attached to the
counterbalanced stairs in the up position, but a latch must be
provided to hold the stairs in the down position when they have been
swung to the ground. The connection between stair railings on the
stationary part of the stairway and the counterbalanced part of the
stairway must be designed to prevent the probability of injury to
persons who use the fire escape. If necessary, a suitable opening
must be provided in any awning, roof, or other intervening
obstruction to admit the counterbalanced stairs and permit the
passage of persons on the stairs.
(p) The fire escape must be connected to the roof of the
building to which it is attached. If the roof of the building is
designed in such a way that escape by way of the roof may be
necessary, the fire escape must extend to the roof. If the
connection is only for use by the fire department, it must be made
with a gooseneck-type ladder with stringers made of material at
least three-eighths inch thick, and rungs at least three-quarters
inch in diameter, 16 inches long, and not more than 14 inches apart.
The ladder must be anchored to the wall.
(q) The minimum unobstructed width of an exterior
passageway in the fire escape, whether parallel to the building or
at right angles to it, is 24 inches.
(r) The clearance at all points on balconies and stairs, as
measured vertically, must be at least six feet six inches.
Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.
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Last modified: August 11, 2007