Swing Doors Go Way Of Betamax

By Austin Regan

We talked previously about the changes to Administrative code section 28-101.4.3 “Optional Use of the 1968 building Code for work on prior Code buildings.” One of the big changes was the removal of a cost threshold as the trigger point where Chapter 11 – Accessibility — must be followed.

Now, alterations of any size must adhere to current handicap requirements. This means we can officially say goodbye to Local Law 58/87. As Local Law 58 sails into the sunset, so does one of its unique retrofit accommodations – the future reversible door swing.

A favorite of many residential designers, the placement of a dotted line and swing on the plans with a note that said “ future swing” allowed bathrooms to have the door swing inwards like the client wanted without having to increase the depth of the room a certain number of feet. It also solved the vexing problem of providing 18” clearance on the pull side of doors that opened into your normal 3’-0” or 4”-0” hallways.

BC P102.3 has been completely removed from Appendix P.  As a result more valuable apartment floor area will need to be devoted to bathrooms and shorter, wider hallways. Pocket doors may become a more popular solution.

A 2008 Code solution has also been eliminated. Flex closets will no longer be allowed. BC 1107.2.1 had allowed easily removable closets to be placed in certain maneuvering areas. That Code section has been removed. Like 8-tracks and land line phones, the reverse swinging door will soon be only a memory missed by many a residential designer.