Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Suites in AHCO

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
January 23, 2019

Q: We recently had a surveyor tell us that suites are not allowed in ambulatory healthcare occupancies. Can you help explain this and any code references that support your opinion?

A: Well… that surveyor is mistaken. Suites are definitely permitted in ambulatory healthcare occupancies. Sections 20/21.2.4.3 of the 2012 LSC specifically permit suites and says any site larger than 2500 square feet must have at least two exit access doors remotely located from each other. The term ‘remotely located’ is defined by section 7.5.1.3.2 which says the two exits must be located at a distance from one another not less than one-half the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the suite, measured in a straight line between the nearest edges of the exits. In a fully sprinklered building, section 7.5.1.3.3 says it is 1/3 the length of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the suite. There are no size limitations on suites in ambulatory health care occupancies. And they are not prohibited in business occupancies either, even though there is no advantage to having them in business occupancies. I suggest you ask the surveyor (if he/she is still with you) to show you where in the LSC it prohibits suites in ambulatory health care occupancies. I also suggest you ask your state and local authorities if they have any restrictions that would prohibit suites in ambulatory health care occupancies.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.

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