BCAB #1459 - Access Between Floor Levels for Persons with Disabilities in an Existing Building where the Occupancy is Changed, Sentences 3.7.3.5.(3) and 3.7.4.5.(1).

January 21, 1998

BCAB #1459

Re: Access Between Floor Levels for Persons with Disabilities in an Existing Building where the Occupancy is Changed, Sentences 3.7.3.5.(3) and 3.7.4.5.(1).

Project Description

The project in question is an existing heritage designated building where the occupancy is changed to Group A Division 2. One side of the floor area is to be a marine pub while the other side is to be a restaurant. The kitchen and an entrance foyer separate the two areas, each of which carries a different license. The pub is five feet higher than the restaurant and is reached by an exterior ramp leading to a separate entrance or by an interior stair from the previously mentioned entrance foyer. Both levels have accessible entrances, are accessible throughout and have accessible washrooms. However, it is not possible for persons with disabilities to travel between the pub to the restaurant except via the outdoor ramp.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.7.3.5.(3) requires that "... from each accessible main entrance or entrances, it shall be possible for disabled persons to travel to all parts of the building required to be accessible by Subsection 3.7.2." Sentence 3.7.4.5.(1) requires that "In an existing building where the occupancy is changed, or in an existing building which is altered or renovated, access shall be provided in conformance with Subsections 3.7.2. and 3.7.3. where, in the opinion of the authority having jurisdiction:

  1. disabled persons could reasonably be expected to be employed in, or could reasonably be expected to use, such an occupancy or building, and

  2. where providing such access would be practical."

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the pub and restaurant are separate "end destinations" and experience shows that patrons rarely move between facilities in premises such as this. The requirements for access should be applied as if the pub and restaurant were separate and independent. Each is provided with its own main entrance and from that entrance it is possible to access all parts of that facility required to be accessible.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that Sentence 3.7.3.5.(3) requires access from each main entrance to all areas within the building required to be accessible. It is also required by Article 3.7.3.10. that all floor levels be connected by ramps or other acceptable means. The proposal to have separate access to both the restaurant and the pub contradicts the intent and letter of the code. Requiring wheelchair users to go outside at night in the weather while able bodied people simply walk up or down a few steps inside the building does not meet the intent of accessibility requirements in general.

Appeal Board Decision #1459

The Board determined this appeal not to be within their jurisdiction. This decision was based on Sentence 3.7.4.5.(1) which requires access but leaves the question of what is reasonable and practical to the authority having jurisdiction.

George R. Humphrey, Chair