BCAB #1211 - Standpipe System Installation, Hose Connections and Water Supplies; Sentences 3.2.5.4.(2) to (4)

June 21, 1990

BCAB #1211

Re: Standpipe System Installation, Hose Connections and Water Supplies; Sentences 3.2.5.4.(2) to (4)

Project Description

Twin twenty storey residential towers over two levels of underground parking. Each tower contains a central core with a "scissor" stair system. A single standpipe riser is provided in each tower core with a 2 1/2" hose connection at each floor.

Reason for Appeal

Because of the scissor stair configuration a fire fighting crew will only encounter a hose connection in either stair at every second floor. If a fire were to occur on a floor with no hose connection in the stair used by the fire fighters, the fire hose would have to be connected to the connection on the floor below or the fire fighter would have to enter the fire floor without a charged hose and proceed to the other stair on that floor to find a hose connection. Otherwise they would have to retreat to the floor below the fire, proceed to the other stair and climb back to the fire floor to connect their hose.

With the hose connected at the storey below the fire floor the fire fighter would be about 30 feet short of the requirement in NFPA. 14 for all areas of the storey to be within 30 feet of a nozzle at the end of 100 feet of hose.

The local authority has also requested both 2 1/2" connections and 1 1/2" connections with attached hose in cabinets be provided.

Appellant's Position

A single standpipe riser with a 2 1/2" connection at each floor (option 1) meets the requirements of B.C. Building Code. Alternately, two standpipe risers with 2 1/2" hose connections at every other floor such that one stair would have a hose connection at each floor (option 2) would meet the requirements of the Code. An additional 1 1/2" connection complete with attached hose in cabinets at each floor is not required.

Total standpipe demand is 500 gpm (30 l/s) not 750 gpm as required by the local authority.

Building Official's Position

The appellant's option 1 is not acceptable because of the problem described in the Reason for Appeal. They do, however, agree that option 2 would be acceptable.

They take the position that NFPA 14 requires a 1 1/2" hose connection complete with hose in cabinets in each floor lobby for use by building occupants.

They have not taken a position with regard to water supply but would like the Appeal Board to comment on the apparent conflict between Sentence 3.2.5.4.(4) and NFPA 14, Sections 5-3 and 5-5.

Appeal Board Decision #1211

There are three questions to this Appeal and the Board's decisions are as follows:

(1) It is clear from Chapter 4 of NFPA 14 that a hose connection is required on each floor. The Standard also expects "reliable means of obtaining effective fire streams in the shortest possible time" (Section 1-4). Sentence 3.2.5.2.(7) of the Building Code requires "...fire fighting installations including .... stairwells equipped with standpipes shall be coordinated with the location of the fire fighter's entrance." However, providing these requirements are complied with, there is no specific requirement for all the hose connections to be in the same stairway at each floor nor even be in an exit stair shaft.

The Board understands the concern of the local authority but considers a change to the Building Code or NFPA 14 would be required.

(2) The issue of required hose connections for standpipe systems has been dealt with previously in Appeal No. 611 and No. 731.

Sentence 3.2.5.4.(2) of the Building Code requires 2 1/2" hose connections or 1 1/2" hose connections in smaller buildings but not both in the same building. NFPA 14 details only the installation requirements for the chosen size of connections. For the project under appeal 2 1/2" hose connections must be provided and although 1 1/2" connections may also be provided they are not required by either the Building Code or NFPA 14.

(3) The apparent conflict between Sentence 3.2.5.4.(4) of the Building Code and Chapter 5 of NFPA 14 is resolved by Article 2.7.2.1. and Sentence 3.2.5.4.(3) of the Building Code.

Article 2.7.2.1. states that the Code shall govern where there is a conflict with a referenced standard. Sentence 3.2.5.4.(3) states that "Except as provided in Sentences (4) to (11)" a standpipe system shall conform to NFPA 14. Sentence (4) overrides NFPA 14 and only requires a water supply of 30 L/s or 476 US gpm.

George R. Humphrey, Chair