Dead End Corridors

One of the more novice mistakes that are made in the design of commercial buildings is the dreaded dead end corridor. This is a corridor which doesn’t lead to an exit but to a dead end where someone would have to turn around and back-track in order to find a way out. Normally this just encourages a little extra exercise but in the event of a fire or other emergency, can be deadly. This isn’t to suggest that you would build a corridor to nowhere but rather it may be a long corridor to access a single space without an additional exit.

What a Dead End Corridor May Look Like
What a Dead End Corridor May Look Like

A dead end corridor can’t be more than 20 feet in length. If a building is completely sprinklered then the limit increases to 50 feet in a number of cases. Check 2012 IBC section 1018.4 for specific exceptions. You’ll see that a room itself cannot be a dead end corridor if it is wide enough to be a room rather than a hallway.

However, make note that this requirement is only enforced when more than one exit or exit access doorway is required.


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