How to apply demarcation lines

Regulations for landing areas, obstacles & doors

When luminous striping is applied to a building’s stairs, landings and handrails in accordance with IBC and IFC regulations, its occupants can easily navigate its stairs during low visibility. But maintaining egress flow also requires the application of luminous striping to the perimeter of landing areas, including obstacles and doors.

Left unmarked, the perimeter areas of landings leave building occupants unaware of exit leading doors and put them at risk for slamming into walls and obstacles. To prevent these occurrences, solid and continuous stripes that are at least 1 inch wide and no more than 2 inches wide should be applied in accordance with the following sections of the IBC and IFC:

1024.2.4.1 Floor-mounted demarcation lines

Demarcation lines that establish the perimeter of landing areas can be wall-mounted, floor-mounted, or both. For floor-mounted demarcation lines, the stripe should be placed within 4 inches of the wall and extend to within 2 inches of the stripe on the leading edge of landings. Except in the case of exit leading doors, floor-mounted lines should extend in front of all doors. Floor-mounted demarcation lines should not be applied to the sides of steps nor have interruptions exceeding 4 inches.

1024.2.4.2 Wall-mounted demarcation lines

For wall-mounted demarcation lines, the bottom edge of the stripe should rise no more than 4 inches above the floor. At the top or bottom of stairs, the lines should drop vertically to the floor within 2 inches of the step or landing edge. The lines should transition vertically to the floor and extend across it where a floor-mounted line is the best way to outline the perimeter of a landing area. Except in the case of exit leading doors, wall-mounted lines should continue across the face of doors or transition vertically to the floor and extend in front of them. Wall-mounted lines should not be applied to the sides of steps nor have interruptions exceeding 4 inches.

1024.2.4.3 Transition of demarcation lines

Where wall-mounted demarcation lines transition to floor-mounted demarcation lines, or vice versa, the wall-mounted demarcation line should transition vertically to the floor to meet a complimentary extension of the floor-mounted demarcation line in order to form a continuous line.

1024.2.5 Obstacles

Obstacles at or below 6 feet 6 inches in height and projecting more than 4 inches into an egress path should be outlined with a stripe that has a pattern of alternating equal bands of luminous material and black material. The bands should be no more 2 inches thick and angled at 45 degrees. Common examples of obstacles include: standpipes, hose cabinets, wall projections and restricted height areas. When outlining obstacles, avoid placing the stripe where it conceals any required information or indicators, such as instructions for how to use standpipes.

1024.2.6.2 Door hardware markings

Door hardware should be marked with no less than 16 square inches of luminous striping. The striping should be located behind, immediately adjacent to or on the door handle and/or escutcheon. For doors that contain panic bars, the striping should extend the entire length of the panic bar.

1024.2.6.3 Doorframe markings

The top and sides of doorframes for exit leading doors should be marked with a solid and continuous stripe 1 to 2 inches wide. Where the doorframe does not offer sufficient surface area for stripe placement, the stripe should be placed on the wall immediately surrounding the doorframe.

1024.3 Uniformity of demarcation markings

The placement and dimensions of demarcation markings, including emergency exit symbols, should be consistent and uniform within the same exit enclosure.

If you own a building in a state that has not adopted a version of the IFC, remember that not applying luminous markings to landing areas, obstacles and doors increases the chance that low visibility evacuations will not go as planned. As with all IBC and IFC regulations for exit enclosures, applying luminous markings to landing areas, obstacles and doors is not intended to replace a well-rehearsed evacuation plan, but to ensure that an evacuation plan is executed without incident.