Means of Egress During Construction

Providing appropriate means of egress can be a difficult challenge as site mobilization starts and the construction project is in its infancy.  All new buildings under construction over one-story in height are required to be provided with at least one stairway in a usable condition at all times that meets the requirements of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (NFPA 241 7.5.6). This stair is required to be lit and provided with appropriate stair identification signage as required to provide safe egress. This stair signage minimally shall include floor number, stair number, and direction of travel for safe egress. In addition, all means of egress features must be provided in accordance with Section 4.6.10 of NFPA 101, which requires doors, stairs, etc. be provided and arranged in a manner in which NFPA 101 can be reasonably applied.

Commonly, it is necessary due to coordination or scheduling issues that installation of the permanent stairs may be delayed, and alternative means of escape must be provided. This compliance is achieved by providing at least one, temporary, code compliant scaffold stair, and a second means of escape via a ladder, alternating tread device, etc. Where temporary, scaffold stairs are utilized, they are required to be 36” or greater in width, with maximum 7” risers and minimum 11” tread depths. Guards/handrails are provided for fall protection with a top and mid rail. Temporary stairs may be erected exterior to the building, or within a future mechanical shaft within the building not yet being utilized. As the permanent stair installation is completed, the temporary stairs can then be removed as they are no longer required for safe egress.

If you have any questions about how your project can provide appropriate, safe egress for the duration of construction, please reach out to for additional information.

Application of any information provided, for any use, is at the reader’s risk and without liability to Code Red Consultants. Code Red Consultants does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in this blog as applicable codes and standards change over time. The application, enforcement and interpretation of codes and standards may vary between Authorities Having Jurisdiction and for this reason, registered design professionals should be consulted to determine the appropriate application of codes and standards to a specific scope of work.