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Old 01-23-08, 07:20 PM
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cc_rider
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Falls Church, VA
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Not sure what city you are in but most places in the US use the IBC, and IBC 2003 section 1019.1 regarding Vertical Exit Enclosures (ie. stairs) says "... An exit enclosure shall not be used for any purpose other than means of egress. ...". The code commentary mentions storage as something this code section is meant to prohibit, although some code officials interpret this to include things like mechanical ducts and pipes. I've seen all sorts of things stored in exit stairs - oil drums, lumber, motorcycles, file cabinets, plumbing fixtures. I've seen things locked to standpipe valves so they couldn't be turned on. I've even seen desks so the stairwell could be used as an office, and a band saw as an extension of a woodshop.

Couple of concerns -
Stored items can contribute to the fire load (fuel). Even a metal bike has rubber tires, and I could keep cans of paint in my panniers.
Bike can block exits. If there is any slack on a chain, the bike could be moved into the exit path. Stairs are designed to be used, in a worst case, with no lights and smoke pouring in and people panicking. A bike locked up on the side may not normally be in the way, but to someone feeling their way in the dark in a emergency situation it could be a deadly hazard. Also the stairs are used for more than exiting. Landings, especially the tops and bottoms, are used as areas of refuge for people who can't move easily, and by the fire department as staging areas for their rescue work.

The building super might have been fine with you leaving your bike in the stairwell, but the Fire Marshal probably won't be lenient. If cited on an inspection report, the building owner is the one who is going to get fined.
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