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  • Writer's pictureBrad Bollman

Does The Building Have Walls?

We recently finished the design of a new outdoor pavilion for a local church here in Fort Wayne. The church has been fundraising for several months and just recently decided it was time to make it happen and get the pavilion construction started. It will give them added outdoor space for lots of things such as Vacation Bible School, outdoor events and a new fellowship area. As you can envision, the pavilion is a simple open air structure with a roof and concrete slab. It will function wonderfully for the church and I am excited to see it completed and used on a regular basis during the warm summer months here in Northern Indiana.


We encountered one strange thing during the design phase of this project. Since the pavilion is an “assembly” occupancy, it requires two points of exit. This means that we were required to design the pavilion with two specific exit paths, which may seem normal until you realize that there are no walls on the pavilion! This is one of those instances that the building code is pretty black and white on how they interpret a specific space. The reasonable person would know that in the event of an emergency, you could exit the pavilion anywhere you want, but the state building code required us to specify two exit paths, both with concrete sidewalks leading to and from the pavilion. 


We here at PDMi pride ourselves on having a very good working knowledge of the building codes, whether they are logical or not. When you are ready to build your next building (even it doesn’t have walls), give us a call and we can help you navigate all aspects of the building process.


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