Code Clarification: Symbol of Accessibility in Exit Signage

Where is emergency egress signage required to be provided with the illuminated International Symbol of Accessibility?

The Massachusetts Architectural Access Board issued an interpretation on February 17, 2016 which clarified that all emergency egress signs, which are required to be illuminated and are part of an accessible means of emergency egress, are required to include the illuminated International Symbol of Accessibility.

It should be noted that this interpretation specifically references an accessible means of emergency egress per 521 CMR Section 5. 521 CMR Section 5 defines an accessible means of egress as one that complies with 521 CMR and does not include stairs, steps or escalators, as shown at left.

This definition is different than 780 CMR, which would recognize a stair as an accessible means of egress. However, since the interpretation is specific to the 521 CMR definition, exit signs with the International Symbol of Accessibility are required at the accessible building exits at the level of exit discharge only under the following scenarios:

  1. New construction
  2. Existing buildings undergoing a renovation that triggers 30% or more of the full and fair cash value of the building
  3. Existing buildings undergoing a renovation where new exits signs are being provided

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