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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 2. Standard Specifications

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§3235. Doors.

(a) General.

(1) This section shall apply to every exit door. Buildings or structures used for human occupancy shall have at least one approved exit door.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(a).)

(2) Exit doors shall be of the side swinging type.

EXCEPTION: As provided in Section 3235(g).

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(a).)

(3) Every door required to serve as an exit shall be designed and constructed so that the way of exit travel is obvious and direct. Windows which could be mistaken for doors shall be made inaccessible to occupants by means of barriers or railings.

(b) Width and Height. Every required exit doorway shall be of a size that permits the installation of a door not less than 3 feet in width and not less than 6 feet 8 inches high. When installed in exit doorways, exit doors shall be capable of opening at least 90 degrees and shall be mounted so that the clear width of the exitway is no less than 32 inches. In computing the exit width required, the net dimension of the exitway shall be used.

EXCEPTION: Existing buildings may be less than 3 feet in width if the clear width of the exitway is not less than 28 inches. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(e).)

(c) Door Leaf Width. No leaf of an exit door shall exceed 4 feet in width.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(f).)

(d) Swing. Exit doors shall swing in the direction of exit travel when serving:

(1) Any assembly building;

(2) Any hazardous area;

(3) An occupant load of 50 or more.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(1).)

(e) Locking. Exit doors shall be openable from the direction of exit travel without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort whenever the building is occupied.


(1) Mental, penal, or corrective institutions where supervisory personnel is continually on duty and effective provisions are made to remove occupants in case of fire or other emergency.

(2) This requirement shall not apply to exterior exit doors in Group B occupancies, if such doors are unlocked during business hours and there is a readily visible, durable sign on or adjacent to the door stating "THIS DOOR TO REMAIN UNLOCKED DURING BUSINESS HOURS." The sign shall be in letters not less than one-inch high on a contrasting background. The locking device must be of a type that will be readily distinguishable as locked.

(3) Exit doors in places of employment in Group B occupancies, may be locked whenever the locking device or mechanism is controlled by an effective mechanical/electrical or electronic system acceptable to the Division and approved for the purpose by the State Fire Marshal.

NOTE: 1: Pursuant to the provisions of Health and Safety Code Section 17950 et seq., local enforcement officials may further restrict or prohibit the use of these devices.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(e)(1).)

NOTE: 2: Group B occupancies are those defined in Chapter 7 of the Uniform Building Code, 1979 Edition.

(f) Change in Floor Level at Doors. Regardless of the occupant load, there shall be a floor or landing on each side of a door. The floor or landing shall be no more than 1 inch lower than the threshold of the doorway. Where a door opens over a landing, the landing shall be at least as wide as the door, and at least 5 feet long. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(i)(1) and (i)(2).)

EXCEPTION: Where the door opens into the stairway of a smokeproof enclosure, the landing need not have a length of 5 feet. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(i)(2) Exception 1).

In existing installations where there is no landing, doors shall be conspicuously marked with a sign stating "Danger! Stairway--No Landing" or equivalent wording, and there shall be adequate illumination.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(i)(2) Exception 5).

(g) Special Doors. Revolving, sliding, and overhead doors shall not be used as required exits.


(1) Manually operated horizontal sliding doors may be used when serving an occupant load of 10 or less.

(2) Power operated doors conforming to SFM 33.1, as shown in Chapter 2-60 of Part 2 of Title 24.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(g)(1).).

(h) Power-Operated Doors.

(1) Where a required door is operated by power, such as a door with photo-electric actuated mechanism that opens the door upon the approach of a person, or a door with power-assisted manual operation, the design shall be such that in event of power failure the door may be opened manually to permit exit travel or closed to safeguard means of egress.

(2) No power-operated door shall be considered a required exit unless it also swings by manual means.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(g)(2).)

(i) Double Acting (Swinging) Doors.

(1) Doors swinging both ways and located between rooms such as kitchen and dining room, or storeroom and sales floor, shall be provided with view panels. One shall be provided for each door of swinging double doors.

(2) Windows, if used, shall be kept free of dirt or other obstruction to vision.

(3) The bottom of the view panel or window shall be no more than 48 inches above the floor. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(2)(C).)

(4) The size of the view panel or window shall be no less than 200 square inches. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(2)(B).)

(5) Guards shall be placed over windows which are not of the shatter-proof or wired glass type. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(2)(D).)

(6) Glass in swinging doors shall conform to the provisions of Section 3242(d). (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(2)(E).)

(7) Double acting doors shall not be used as exits serving a tributary occupant load or more than 100, nor shall they be used as part of a fire assembly, nor equipped with panic hardware.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(b)(2)(A).)

(j) Turnstiles. Turnstiles shall not be considered as providing any exit width.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(n)(1).)

(k) Doors in Folding Partitions. When permanently-mounted folding or movable partitions are used to divide a room into smaller spaces, exits from these enclosures shall be provided as required under Section 3228.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(o).)

(l) Bolts. Manually-operated edge bolts or surface-mounted flush bolts and surface bolts are prohibited on required exit doors. When exit doors are installed in pairs and automatic flush bolts are used, the door leaf with these bolts shall have no door knob or surface-mounted hardware. The unlatching of any leaf shall not require more than one operation.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(c)(2).)

(m) Panic Hardware.

(1) Panic hardware shall cause the door latch to release when a force not exceeding 15 pounds is applied to the releasing device in the direction of exit traffic.

(2) Hand activated door opening hardware shall be centered between 30 inches and 44 inches above the floor. Latching and locking doors that are hand activated and which are in a path of travel, shall be operable with a single effort by lever type hardware, by panic bars, push-pull activating bars or other hardware designed to provide passage without requiring the ability to grasp the opening hardware. Locked exit doors shall operate as above in the egress direction.

EXCEPTION: Doors to individual hotel or motel units shall operate similarly, except that when the bolt and unlatching operation is key operated from corridor or exterior side of the unit door, large bow keys (2 inch full bow or 1 1/4 inch half bow) shall be provided in lieu of lever type hardware on the corridor side. Separate dead lock activation on room side of the corridor doors in hotels and motels shall have handle or large thumb turn in an easily reached location.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(c)(3).)

(3) Panic hardware shall not be equipped with any locking or dogging device, set screw, or other arrangement which can be used to prevent the release of the latch when pressure is applied to the bar.

(4) No lock, padlock, hasp, bar, chain, or other device, or combination thereof, shall be installed or maintained at any time on or in connection with any door on which panic hardware is required, if such device prevents the free use of the door for exiting.

(n) Latches. A latch or other fastening device on a door shall be provided with a knob, handle, panic bar, or other simple type of releasing device, the method of operation of which is obvious. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(c).)

NOTE: Authority and reference cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code; and Section 18943(c), Health and Safety Code.


1. Amendment of subsection (a) filed 5-10-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 20). For prior history, see Register 76, No. 29.

2. Amendment filed 4-27-79; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 79, No. 17).

3. Amendment filed 5-25-83; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 83, No. 22). Approved by State Building Standards Commission 1-24-83.

4. Amendment of subsection (e) filed 10-13-83; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 83, No. 42).

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