BCAB #1424 - Roof Garden for Group B Division 2 Occupancy Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b)

August 20, 1996

BCAB #1424

Re: Roof garden for Group B Division 2 Occupancy Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b)

Project Description

The project in question is a proposed roof garden for a hospice in an existing four storey building. The first three storeys are Group B Division 2 major occupancy and the partial fourth storey is Group D. The garden is proposed for the roof of the third storey, adjacent to the fourth storey and access will be via a fourth floor corridor from the building' s elevator.

Reason for Appeal

Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b) requires a building which contains a Group B Division 2 major occupancy more than 18 m above grade or a Group B Division 2 occupancy above the third storey to be designed and constructed in conformance with Subsection 3.2.6., "Additional Requirements for High Buildings."

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b) is not applicable for the following reasons:

  • The proposed roof garden is an open exterior area that is not enclosed by exterior walls, firewalls or partitions other than required guards and as such should not be considered as a floor area as indicated in Clause (b).

  • The use of the roof garden is incidental to the occupancy it serves and is not intended, furnished or equipped to function as a hospital ward and as such should not be considered as a Group B Division 2 occupancy as indicated in Clause (b).

  • The existing building is of noncombustible reinforced concrete construction with a sprinkler and standpipe system. Based on experience with a previous ground level garden there would be between four and eight people using the roof garden at any time, half of which would be hospice patients. Up to three staff could use the roof garden during their breaks.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the intent of Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b) is to prohibit a Group B Division 2 occupancy above the third floor. The roof garden is an institutional occupancy above the third floor, whether it is designed as a floor area or a roof area. "Occupancy means the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the ... support of persons ..." The appellant confirms the patients using the roof garden will be non-ambulatory. The building official considers the implications of permitting an institutional occupancy above the third floor, simply because it is a roof and not a floor area by definition, to be "astronomical." The additional requirements for high buildings are for the safety of occupants and fire fighters in the case of an emergency. The location of a Group B Division 2 occupancy above the third storey should be the distinguishing factor in determining a high building, not whether it is a floor area by definition.

Appeal Board Decision #1424

It is the determination of the Board that the occupied roof is not a floor area as defined by the code and does not constitute a floor area of Group B Division 2 occupancy above the third storey. Therefore, Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(b) does not apply.

George R. Humphrey, Chair