BCAB #1243 - Classification of "United Buy and Sell Furniture Warehouse" Article 3.1.2.1.

March 27, 1991

BCAB #1243

Re: Classification of "United Buy and Sell Furniture Warehouse" Article 3.1.2.1.

Project Description

A warehouse style building used for "no frills" furniture retail sales. The building is two storeys in building height with the first storey containing about 2,500 square metres of warehouse and parking and the second storey containig about 1690 square metres of which about 820 square metres is retail sales area.

Reason for Appeal

Article 3.1.2.1. requires all buildings to be classified according to their major occupancy as belonging to one of the Groups or Divisions in Table 3.1.2.A.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains the building should be classified as Group F Division 3 and submits that the combustible content would not exceed 50 kg/m2.

Building Official's Position

The building official contends the building should be classified as a Group E major occupancy because the retail sales area on the second storey is the most restrictive occupancy classification. The retail area is significantly greater than 10% of the floor area so it cannot be ignored for classification purposes. The building should be built as a two storey Group E building in conformance with Sentence 3.2.2.35. The building official also contends that a furniture warehouse should be a Group F Division 2 medium hazard occupancy and cites the N.F.P.A. 101 definition of low hazard to support his contention: "...contents...of such low combustibility that no self-propogating fire therein can occur."

Appeal Board Decision #1243

This Appeal requires the determination of whether the building in question should be classified as Group E or Group F major occupancy or a combination of the two. The Board considers this determination to be a judgement call since the Code does not give specific guidelines to define when an occupancy is "subsidiary" rather than "major."

Based on the information supplied it is the determination of the Board that this building should be classified as a Group E major occupancy containing a Group F subsidiary occupancy.

George R. Humphrey, Chair