BCAB #1232 - Egress Doors and Sliding Partitions - Sentence 3.3.1.8.(5)

January 19, 1991

BCAB #1232

Re: Egress Doors and Sliding Partitions - Sentence 3.3.1.8.(5)

Project Description

A retail luggage store located in a covered shopping mall. The front wall of the store consists of two display windows separated by the store entry. When the store is closed the entry is secured with a folding/sliding metal and glass partition/grille.

Reason for Appeal

The store in question requires two egress doors and Sentence 3.3.1.8.(1) requires, with three exceptions, egress doors to swing on a vertical axis. The exception that applies to this case is in Sentence 3.3.1.8.(5) which says: "Movable partitions which are open during normal working hours and used to separate a public corridor from an adjacent Group D or E occupancy need not conform to Sentences (1) & (3)." (Sentence (3) permits sliding doors which will also swing in an emergency.)

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the Code clearly permits sliding partitions in this situation providing they are open during "normal business hours." He feels that so long as the public is not in the store when the partition is closed it is safe for the staff to be there.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that "normal working hours" includes time when only staff is in the store and as it is quite common for staff to be in the store with the sliding partition closed an egress door swinging on a vertical axis is required.

Appeal Board Decision #1232

It is the determination of the Board that "normal working hours" is any time the suite is occupied. Therefore, the moveable partition must not obstruct the required means of egress at any time the suite is occupied.

The Board recognizes that this decision goes against commonly accepted practice and may cause operational problems. The Board will recommend to the Building Standards Branch that a risk assessment be conducted regarding this issue with a view to rationalizing or changing the Code.

George R. Humphrey, Chair