Had an inspector tell me today that a paddle handle on a storefront door was not suitable because it was marked as a fire exit door and that a full exit device with a bar running the width of the door is now required. He also said a full bar across the outside of the door is required instead of a 15 inch pull handle that is on the door now(to be ada compliant). I thought as long as you can exit with one motion it was okay and as long as you could pull the door open from the outside with a closed fist then the hardware was ADA compliant. Have ada requirements and fed fire codes changed?
You have to comply with local codes, not just ADA, and that means local interpretations may prevail. If a competent inspector who knows your area says it doesn't pass, it probably doesn't. If you aren't sure he's competent, you can try hiring another to specifically check that point and confirm/refute the claim, or you can try contacting the town (or whatever unit sets codes in your area) and see if they can help you look it up...
It all comes down to the local Authority Having Jurisdiction. (AHJ). If he tells you to change the hardware to a panic bar while wearing a pink tutu, then you had better do it. One thing you don't want is an AHJ who prefers others over you. He can go a long way to reduce the amount of work you get.
If you ask, he should be able to give you the section of the code he is interpreting. You can then read the code and see if he is interpreting it correctly. They're not always correct. I had one small town inspector start making every Alum & Glass storefront with an adams rite deadbolt remove the thumbturn and install a lock cylinder, an adams rite locked/unlocked indicator and signage that the door must remain unlocked when occupied. All this he did because he mis-interpreted the word "may". He took an allowable exception and made it the law. I was able get him to change his interpretation, but only because we had a good working relationship (I wore the pink tutu) and because I avoided damaging his ego. Everybody gotta save face.
In you particular case, what he is requiring is needed when there is a certain occupancy, say 100 or more or a certain usage, say "area of assembly". It all depends on so many things. Also, codes conflict. Life Safety generally prevail.
Hope this helps. Also, seems like you'll have more work and make more money if you do what he says.