BCAB #1219 - Combustible PVC Pipe in Storage Garages Below High Buildings - Sentences 3.2.1.2.(1) & 3.1.4.5.(5)

August 30, 1990

BCAB #1219

Re: Combustible PVC Pipe in Storage Garages Below High Buildings - Sentences 3.2.1.2.(1) & 3.1.4.5.(5)

Project Description

Eleven storey high-rise apartment building with a storage garage adjoining the lowest two storeys and separated from them and the third storey by a two hour fire separation.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.1.4.5.(5) permits combustible pipe such as PVC to be used in exposed locations in noncombustible buildings provided it has a flame spread rating not exceeding 25. When used in high buildings it shall not have a smoke developed rating exceeding 50.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that where the storage garage has been designed to conform with Article 3.2.1.2.it should not be considered as a high building and the flame spread and smoke developed ratings for low-rise buildings should apply.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that 3.2.1.2.(1) only considers the storage garage as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2., Building Size and Construction Relative to Occupancy. For example, It is not to be considered a separate building for the purposes of Subsections 3.1.4. or 3.2.6. He argues that the parking garage is not exempted from the standpipe requirements of Subsection 3.2.5. nor the emergency power requirements of Subsection 3.2.7. so it should not be exempt from the flame spread and smoke developed requirements of Subsection 3.1.4.

Appeal Board Decision #1219

It is the Board's understanding that the storage garage in question is a basement below a high-rise apartment building and conforms to Article 3.2.1.2.

Sentence 3.2.1.2.(1) permits a basement storage garage to be considered as a separate building only for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2. The Board considers that the original intent of this Sentence was to allow the construction of a "horizontal firewall" on which to terminate one or more vertical firewalls between buildings above an underground garage. It was not the intent to consider the storage garage as a low-rise building separate from the hi-rise building above it.

Building height is measured above grade only and the Board considers that the height of the building containing the basement storage garage must be used. The building in question is eleven storeys in building height. Therefore the flame spread and smoke developed ratings for high buildings apply to the storage garage.

George R. Humphrey, Chair