BCAB #1202 - Floor Protection for Heating Appliance (Stove) and Other Matters

April 18, 1990

BCAB #1202

Re: Floor Protection for Heating Appliance (Stove) (9.34.2.7), Lintel in Exterior Wall (9.23.12.4 & 9.23.12.5), Exterior Stairs for Single Family Dwelling (9.8.8 & 9.8.9.5), Clearances for Masonry Chimney (9.21.6.1) and Depth of Foundations (9.12.2.2 & 9.12.2.4)

Project Description
Single family dwelling of wood frame construction. Five items are appealed.

Reason for Appeal #1202 - 1

The floor surface beneath and surrounding a solid fuel fired stove or space heater must be noncombustible.

Appellant's Position

The noncombustible hearth to extend 16" in front of the stove.

Building Official's Position

The noncombustible surface must extend 450 mm (18") in front of the stove.

Appeal Board Decision #1202 - 1

Article 9.34.2.7. applies and requires the floor beneath the stove to be protected by a noncombustible pad conforming to Articles 9.34.2.8. to 9.34.2.11. (noncombustible) extending 450 mm (18") beyond the firing and ash removal sides of the appliance and 200 mm (8") beyond the other sides. The 16" hearth shown in the supplied sketch is not acceptable.

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Reason for Appeal #1202 - 2

Lintels are required over openings in load bearing walls.

Appellant's Position

Existing 3 - 2" x 6" lintel is adequate over a 6' opening.

Building Official's Position

The Code calls for a greater depth of lintel in Table 9.23.12.A.

Appeal Board Decision #1202 - 2

Part 9 of the Building Code can be described as "prescriptive" because it prescribes methods of construction that are considered safe. This approach allows buildings to be constructed without the services of design professionals such as structural engineers or Architects. The trade-off is that the Code does not consider the actual loads acting on each structure but rather envisions the worst case. As long as the prescriptive requirements are followed there is no problem. Since you have chosen not to follow the prescriptive requirements laid down in the Code you must be prepared to prove to the satisfaction of the building inspector that the method of construction chosen is equal to, or better than, that prescribed by the Code. The building inspector may require that you provide engineered calculations to verify your design.

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Reason for Appeal #1202 - 3

Disagreement over safety requirements for exterior stairs.

Appellant's Position

Intermediate "safety rails" on stair guard/handrail can be parallel to the handrail; and that exterior treads do not require non-skid finish.

Building Official's Position

The stair handrail to be minimum 800 mm high and the treads must have a slip-resistant finish. Original request that "safety rails" be vertical so as to be nonclimbable was rescinded.

Appeal Board Decision #1202 - 3

The Code does not require the intermediate "safety rails" to be vertical. Subsection 9.8.8. does not require nonclimbable guards for stairs serving residential dwelling units. Article 9.8.9.5. requires treads and landings of exterior stairs serving dwellings to have a slip-resistant finish or be provided with slip-resistant strips.

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Reason for Appeal #1202 - 4

Clearance is required between combustible materials and masonry chimneys.

Appellant's Position

Roof sheathing be permitted within 1/2" of chimney.

Building Official's Position

Interior chimneys require a clearance of 2" to combustible materials including sheathing.

Appeal Board Decision #1202 - 4

The Board considers this to be an interior chimney passing through an attic space and terminating above the roof surface. Article 9.21.6.1. requires combustible materials, including sheathing to be not less than 50 mm (2") from the chimney. However, the Board does not consider a 12 mm clearance to the sheathing to be a hazard and is recommending that the Code be revised to permit this construction and to clarify its application to other interior/exterior installations.

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Reason for Appeal #1202 - 5

Subsection 9.12.2. stipulates the minimum depth of foundations below finished ground level.

Appellant's Position

The appellant feels that an 18" minimum foundation depth is acceptable.

Building Official's Position

The local officials have established 24" as a reasonable minimum depth considering the wide variety in local conditions but will accept less if it can be shown a lesser depth will be satisfactory.

Appeal Board Decision #1202 - 5

It is not the function of the Board to determine or maintain records of minimum foundation depth requirements throughout the Province. Article 9.12.2.4. allows the authority having jurisdiction to permit foundation depths less than stipulated in Table 9.12.2.A. if local experience shows lesser depths to be satisfactory. We agree with the building official that you must demonstrate that a depth less than 24" is satisfactory for any specific location.

George R. Humphrey, Chair