BCAB #1335 - Definition of Building, Water Storage Reservoir, Article 1.1.3.2

February 16, 1994

BCAB #1335

Re: Definition of Building, Water Storage Reservoir, Article 1.1.3.2

Project Description

The project in question is an above ground water storage reservoir. The structure is a 18.5 metre square by 5.3 metre high reinforced concrete tank with a reinforced concrete roof. The only access to the interior is via a roof hatch.

Reason for Appeal

Although the structure in question is clearly not intended for human occupancy the definition of the term "building" in Subsection 1.1.3. does not appear to exclude a water tank and the list of structures exempted from the Code in Sentence 1.1.2.2.(1) does not include a water reservoir.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the phrase "...use or occupancy" in the definition of "building" refers to "use or occupancy by persons having regular access to the structure". A water tank is not intended to be occupied by people and there is no regular access provided. The appellant also points out that the fire safety, egress, health and other requirements of the code have no application to a structure such as a water tank which indicates such a structure is not intended to be governed by the B.C. Building Code.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the water reservoir fits within the broad definition of "building". Although the tank does not contain a human occupancy on a continuing basis it is a storage building for water and the definition of building is intended to be broad enough to encompass "structures that do not necessarily contain occupancy as their principle use - such as storage buildings."

The building official notes that although the exemption for water systems in Clause 1.1.2.2.(1)(a) might apply to a reservoir this one is not on a street or public transit right of way.

The building official points out that Part 4 of the Code contains structural design requirements which can clearly be applied to the structure in question. In fact, the reservoir was designed to the seismic requirements of Part 4 because the Building Code is the "acknowledged standard for seismic design criteria for structures".

Appeal Board Decision #1335

It is the determination of the Board that this above ground water storage reservoir falls within the definition of "building" in Article 1.1.3.2. The Board considers a water reservoir to be a "special or unusual structure" as described in Article 3.2.2.2. and as outlined in Appendix notes A-3 and A-3.2.2.2. the Code only has limited application.

George R. Humphrey, Chair