BCAB #1441 - Access for Persons with Disabilities to a Church Sanctuary Platform, Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) & Article 3.7.2.9.

May 15, 1997

BCAB #1441

Re: Access for Persons with Disabilities to a Church Sanctuary Platform, Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) & Article 3.7.2.9.

Project Description

The project in question is a two storey church. There is a raised platform at the front of the sanctuary on the main floor. The platform is 2' 6" above the sanctuary floor and only accessible by stairs at each side.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) and Article 3.7.2.9. outline those areas and facilities of a church which are required to be accessible. Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) applies to all buildings while Article 3.7.2.9. contains an additional requirement for churches.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that inside the sanctuary only viewing positions are required to be accessible. There is no requirement for access onto the platform. The pastor and building committee state that there are no occasions when access for persons with disabilities will be required to the platform and a lift would be an unnecessary expense.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that Article 3.7.2.9. is in addition to Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) which in Clause (c) requires access to "... all areas where work functions can reasonably be expected to be performed by disabled persons." The pastor, choir, band, guest speakers and church members will all use this raised platform and any one of these people could be disabled. To say such disabled persons cannot access this platform to perform church "work" functions contravenes Clause 3.7.2.3.(1)(c). This is a large platform that will have specific church "work" functions performed there on a regular basis, i.e. the band storage is at this level.

Appeal Board Decision #1441

It is the determination of the Board that access for persons with disabilities is required within the building from the sanctuary seating area to the platform. Sentence 3.7.2.3.(1) applies to all buildings and Clause (c) requires access to areas where work functions can reasonably be performed by disabled persons. The Board considers the platform to be a work area within the context of the access requirements of the Code and it is entirely reasonable for disabled persons to work there.

George R. Humphrey, Chair