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Building Codes and Inspections/Front Door / Inswing vs Outswing


I live in a converted Townhouse in Washington DC. The townhouse was converted to Condominiums, with the first floor being one level and the upstairs another. The main front door as is now opens into the building with two doors leading to each unit. Myself and the upstairs owner want to change this to an outswing because as it stands now the door opens and impedes a lot of room to my unit's front door.

I know DC complies with the ICC 2006 edition, but I didn't know if this change would comply with buildings codes. A concern is changing it and if either of us rent out our units in the future that everything complies to DC code.

Hi Nick -

I'm not familiar with the residential code requirements in DC, but if it's the exterior door you'd like to change, the issue may be the front steps - if there are steps.  The door is not allowed to swing over the steps unless there is a landing that's at least as large as the door width.  I can't think of any other reason that changing the door swing would be a problem, unless the door is required to be h/c accessible, in which case you'd have to check the maneuvering clearance.  You may want to take some photos and a sketch and speak to your local building inspector, or you could post the question on The Building Code Forum -  You will need to include photos and a sketch if you post it on the forum - the members like to get all the details before they comment.

Sorry I can't be of much help with this one.

- Lori

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Lori Greene


I can help with code questions related to doors and hardware. I am familiar with the IBC, NFPA 80, NFPA 101, NFPA 105, ADAAG, and ICC/ANSI A117.1. My expertise is specific to door openings.


I have worked in the door and hardware industry since 1986. I have conducted countless presentations on code requirements for doors and hardware, and maintain a blog related to doors and hardware (

Door & Hardware Institute (DHI) Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) International Code Councel (ICC)

Doors & Hardware Magazine

Vermont Technical College, Associate Degree in Architecture and Building Engineering Technology - 1986

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