February 23, 2012
I have a condition in a 4 story university building where the floor level is split into 3 separate levels very similar to a tri level home. The upper level exits to grade and is connected to the middle level with an open stair, the middle level exits into a stair tower and the lower level has exit access to the middle level and exits into a separate stair tower that exits into the upper level. This first floor levels are separated from the second floor with 2 hour rated construction.
The lower level looks like and meets all the requirements of a mezzanine other than the fact that it is at a lower elevation than the middle level and is located directly under the upper level. I would call this an inverted mezzanine.
This building will be reviewed under the 2011 Ohio Building Code (based on the 2009 IBC).
Can I consider the lowest level a mezzanine? If not, how do I treat it?
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