BCAB #1336 - Protection of Openings in Exterior Wall of Exit Enclosure, Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1)

February 16, 1994

BCAB #1336

Re: Protection of Openings in Exterior Wall of Exit Enclosure, Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1)

Project Description

The project in question is a four storey, wood frame, fully sprinklered apartment building. The exit stair shaft has one exterior wall which contains a window at each landing level. This exterior wall, and the included windows, is recessed a minimum of three feet back from the exterior walls of the suites on either side of the exit stair shaft.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1) requires openings in the exterior walls of an exit enclosure that "may be exposed to fire from openings in the exterior walls of the building it serves" to be protected by using wired glass in steel frames in either the exit enclosure openings or the openings in the building's exterior walls. This requirement applies to openings in the exterior wall of the building that are within 3 m horizontally of the openings in the exit or less than 2 m above or 10 m below the openings in the exit.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1) only applies "when the openings of the exit are exposed to fire from other openings." The exterior wall of the exit enclosure was recessed to remove the exposure hazard that would have existed if the wall had remained flush with the neighboring suite walls.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that despite the exit enclosure openings being recessed three feet, the windows in the suites are within 3 m horizontally and less than 2 m above and 10 m below these openings in the exit enclosure. The building official considers the Code to be silent on situations where openings are recessed or projected from the building face but still within the distances specified in Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1). The official considers the openings in the exit enclosure are exposed to fire from the suite windows less than 10 m below them and must be protected.

Appeal Board Decision #1336

The Board considers that the existence of a fire exposure must be determined before Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1) can be applied. This sentence could apply to the design in question because the setback of the exit windows, by itself, may not eliminate the fire exposure potential to these windows from other nearby openings. However, other fire protection measures, such as sprinklers, must be considered in this analyses. If it is then determined that the exit enclosure windows are exposed to fire from other openings the requirements of Sentence 3.2.3.13.(1) must be applied.

George R. Humphrey, Chair