BCAB #1323 - Young Offenders Group Home Occupancy Classification & Definition of Suite, 3.1.2.6.(1) & 1.1.3.2

September 22, 1993

BCAB #1323

Re: Young Offenders Group Home Occupancy Classification & Definition of Suite, 3.1.2.6.(1) & 1.1.3.2

Project Description

The project in question is an existing two storey plus basement single family dwelling being used as a young offenders group home. The basement is used as a recreation room and office for the home but has no internal connection to the floors above. The home is licensed under the Community Care Facilities Act and provides sleeping accommodation for eight 13 to 17 year old youths in four bedrooms.

Reason for Appeal

There are two issues in dispute in this case. The first issue concerns the occupancy classification of a young offenders group home licensed under the Community Care Facilities Act and the second issue concerns the basement and whether or not it is a separate suite and needs to be fire separated from the storey above.

Appellant's Position

Sentence 3.1.2.6.(1) permits a dwelling unit licensed under the Community Care Facilities Act where not more than six persons are "in care" to be classed as a residential occupancy rather than an institutional occupancy. The appellant does not consider the occupants to be "in care" and points out that community care facilities can provide services other than "care" such as social and educational training and/or food and lodging. Because the occupants of the group home are not "in care", Sentence 3.1.2.6.(1) does not apply, and because the occupants do not need special care due to mental or physical limitations nor are they incapable of self preservation due to security provisions or being under restraint the use cannot be considered as an institutional occupancy. The building is used as a dwelling by eight young offenders and their adult supervisors. Therefore, the appellant contends that the building should be considered as a Group C residential occupancy.

Regarding the basement office and recreation room, the appellant contends that because this storey is part of a "series of rooms of complementary use, operated under a single tenancy" it should not be considered as a separate suite and need not be fire separated from the remainder of the building. The definition of suite makes no reference to all the complementary rooms being interconnected.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that by virtue of the Community Care Facilities license the occupants are "in care" and although Sentence 3.1.2.6.(10) can not apply because there are more than six persons in care the building would have to be classified as an institutional occupancy.

The building official also maintains that without an internal connection the basement rooms cannot be complementary to the rest of the dwelling and must be considered as a separate Group A Division 2 major occupancy and a fire separation is required.

Appeal Board Decision #1323

It is the determination of the Board that the young offenders group home as described in this appeal is most appropriately classified as a Group C residential occupancy despite it being licenced under the Community Care Facilities Act. Regarding the lack of an interior stair to the basement the board does not consider "complementary use" of the rooms as described in the definition of suite requires direct interior access between the rooms. Therefore, as the basement is complementary to the upper floors and is under the same tenancy it is not a separate suite and no fire separation is required.

George R. Humphrey, Chair