Specifying Roof Hatches & Code

Roof Hatches and Scuttles provide safe and convenient access up to the roof areas on commercial buildings. Understanding styles of roof hatches, their applications and codes helps architects and building owners specify the right product, in the right place while being code compliant.

Styles & Applications

Typically, a single door hatch is utilized for ingress and egress, whereas a double door unit is typically utilized to assist with installation and maintenance of large equipment through the roof.

Common industry roof hatch styles include:

  • Standard hatches are designed for personnel access to rooftop elements. These are available in various thermally rated options and are commonly specified on commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Daylighting hatches provide natural benefits of skylights while providing personnel access. They can be found on hotels, apartments, condos, schools, retail stores, factories and warehouses.
  • Security hatches are designed with heavier-grade materials and detention grade locks to prevent unauthorized access. These units are typically specified in jails, prisons, detention centers, waste water treatment plants, banks, data centers and other secure facilities.
  • Equipment hatches are engineered to assist with installation and maintenance of large equipment through the roof. These units are typically specified in manufacturing facilities, processing and wastewater treatment plants.

Codes

For personnel egress, Chapter 10 of the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) states:

1009.16 Stairway to Roof

Roof Hatch BuildingIn buildings four or more stores above grade plane, one stairway shall extend to the roof surface, unless the roof has a slope steeper than four units vertical in 12 units horizontal (33-percent slope). In buildings without an occupied roof, access to the roof from the top story shall be permitted to be by an alternating tread device.

1009.16.1 Roof Access

Where a stairway is provided to a roof, access to the roof shall be provided through a penthouse complying with Section 1509.2.

Exception: In buildings without an occupied roof, access to the roof shall be permitted to be a roof hatch or trap door not less than 16 square feet (1.5m2) in area and having a minimum dimension of 2 feet (610 mm).

1009.16.2 Protection at Roof Hatch Openings

Where the roof hatch opening providing the required access is located within 10 feet (3049 mm) of the roof edge, such roof access or roof edge shall be protected by guards installed in accordance with the provisions of Section 1013.

Nystrom understands building and accessibility codes for Roof Hatches. For more information on how Nystrom can assist in your next project, please visit www.Nystrom.com/products/roof-hatches.