Building plans; Conversing with ASL; Woman using wheelchair nears moving sidewalk; Children using computer at Community Centre; Person reading Braille

Why We Need an Accessible Means of Egress

by Lee Wilson

The needs of people with disabilities must be a priority when considering the overall evacuation strategy of a building.

An ‘accessible means of egress’ is a relatively new term in Australia, though it is one that is widely accepted in many parts of the world and was adopted into the 2009 International Building Code (or ‘IBC’) published by the International Code Council. This term encompasses the parts of a building that make up the evacuation route for people with disability during an emergency evacuation.

A means of egress for all building occupants is defined in Section 10 of the IBC as a “continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way.”

A means of egress consists of three distinct components:

  • The exit access, being the part of the means of egress that leads from any occupied part of a building to an exit.
  • The exit, being a part of the egress system which is separated from other interior occupiable spaces of a building by fire-resistance-rated construction, including fire doors, which provides a protected path of egress between the exit access and the exit discharge.
  • The exit discharge, being that part of the means of egress between the exit and a public way.

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Article reprinted with permission from the author Lee Wilson, and original publisher of the material, .

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