BCAB #1456 - Interior Stairs for Dwelling Unit

January 21, 1998

BCAB #1456

Re: Interior Stairs for Dwelling Unit

Project Description

This appeal relates to an existing two storey side by side duplex.

Reason for Appeal

Without permission from the authority having jurisdiction, the building in question has been converted to a four family dwelling by converting the first storey of each side to a separate dwelling unit. The interior stairs shown on the original approved drawings do not exist so there is no internal access between floors.

Appellant's Position

The appellant has agreed to remove the cooking facilities from the first storey and rent the first floor bedrooms to borders or lodgers only. The appellant feels the existing exterior stairway at the front of the building is adequate and does not consider an interior or enclosed stairway for each side of the duplex to be necessary nor is it required by the code.

Building Official's Position

The building official notes that the building code does not address the issue, either by saying a connecting stairway is or is not required within the dwelling unit. However, it does not seem logical that a resident of a dwelling unit should have to go outside in the weather to get from their bedroom to the kitchen. The building official believes the intent of the code is for access between rooms of a dwelling unit to be within the heated envelope.

Appeal Board Decision #1456

The Board considers the sleeping rooms located on the lower floor of each side of the duplex to be part of the corresponding upper floor residences. There is, however, no requirement under the B.C. Building Code to require stairs in addition to that required for exiting.

George R. Humphrey, Chair