Swinging doors - hinging on the direction of egress

Image of an emergency exit sign

Do you know which doors are required by the BCA to swing in the direction of egress? This article has been prepared to help you understand why such a requirement exists and when it applies.

What does the BCA require?

Performance Requirement DP4 in NCC Volume One requires the provision of exits suitable for safe evacuation. D2.20 is a Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provision that contains specific requirements for certain doors to ensure safe evacuation. Sub-clause (b) of D2.20 which is presented below requires some doors to swing in the direction of egress.

Building Code of Australia technical content taken from provision

When considering D2.20, you should note that there are concessions for small buildings, small parts of buildings and sanitary compartments on account of their low occupancy.

What is the intent of D2.20(b)?

The intent of D2.20(b) is to ensure that egress from or into a required exit is not impeded by a door that swings against the direction of travel. During evacuation, there could be crowding at an exit door. This crowding could impede or prevent a door from being opened. D2.20(b) therefore requires certain doors to swing in the direction of egress.

The following example helps explain which doors this requirement applies to.

Does BCA D2.20(b) require the circled door to swing in the direction of egress?

Diagram demonstrating BCA provision

The diagram shows the ground floor of an office building, however the provision also applies in Class 2 to 9 buildings subject to application concessions found in D2.1.

D2.20 applies the requirement to doors in a required exit and doors which form part of a required exit. For example the doors leading into and out of the fire-isolated passageway. The circled door is neither, therefore its direction of swing is not restricted by D2.20(b).

Are there any other BCA provisions that might affect the direction of swing of a door?

Besides D2.20, there are other provisions that might apply to swinging doors. These are:

  1. Specification C3.4 – Smoke walls are required in Class 9a (hospitals), 9c (aged care buildings) and long corridors of Class 2 and 3 buildings. Clause 3.2 of Specification C3.4 requires smoke doors in a smoke wall to swing in both directions or in the direction of egress.
  2. G4.3(a) – In alpine areas an exit door must swing inwards as snow build-up could prevent a door from swinging away from the building.
  3. Part H3 – Farm buildings and farm sheds have very low occupancy and are therefore provided with a concession from D2.20(b).
  4. Part D3 – The access provisions in D3 may influence the direction in which a door swings.

Guide to NCC Volume One

Some of the explanatory information from this article has been drawn from the Guide to NCC Volume One. The Guide is a great resource as a companion manual to Volume One and is intended to be used as a reference book for people seeking clarification of Volume One provisions.

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