How Does an Egress Door Differ From an Ordinary Door?
Whereas an ordinary door doesn't need to have a minimum or maximum width or open in a particular direction, an egress door has certain requirements to meet. In order to be considered a proper and safe means of exit, an egress door must fall within certain parameters and present no challenge when opening it. There are also locking requirements that do not apply to ordinary doors.
A non-egress door may be as wide or narrow as it needs to be to offer passage between rooms. It also may either open outwardly or inwardly and be lockable from both sides. Ordinary doors in buildings with occupancy that is greater than 50 include doors leading to offices, closets, and other secure locations.
By contrast, an egress door has to be at least 32-inches wide when newly constructed. It is not allowed to be wider than 48-inches, so as to present no obstacle to opening it. It must open towards the egress (outward). In terms of locking, while it may remain locked from the outside, from the inside it must possess only one means of locking that can be overridden by a single motion from the interior. An example of this is a panic bar that, when pushed, opens the door.
In commercial buildings, all doors along the entire path of egress are considered egress doors and must meet the specific code requirements.