BCAB #1477 - Access to Exit Corridors in Multi-Tenant Storage Warehouses, Sentence 3.3.1.4.(1) & Article 3.3.5.10. (1992 BCBC)

March 17, 1999

BCAB #1477

Re: Access to Exit Corridors in Multi-Tenant Storage Warehouses, Sentence 3.3.1.4.(1) & Article 3.3.5.10. (1992 BCBC)

Project Description

The project in question consists of three large two storey sprinklered buildings containing several hundred individually rented storage lockers. All the second storey lockers are accessed from interior corridors as are many of the ground floor lockers.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.3.1.3.(8) requires each suite in a floor area with more than one suite to have an egress door to the exterior or to a public corridor or exterior passageway. Article 3.3.1.4. requires public corridors to be separated from the remainder of the floor area by a fire separation.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that although the storage lockers are individual tenancies they should not be considered as suites because access is controlled by the warehouse operator. Also, storage lockers in residential buildings are not considered as suites. If they are not considered as suites then a fire separated public corridor is not required. Further evidence that the code does not require the lockers to be considered as suites is found in Article 3.3.5.10. This Article only requires a fire separation between each locker and the remainder of the building if the building is not sprinklered. Article 3.3.5.10. makes no reference to Article 3.3.1.4. which implies fire rated public corridors are not required.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the definition of suite describes the lockers in this project as they are individually rented and operated as single tenancies independent of each other. Article 3.3.5.10. applies in general to all multi-tenant mini-warehouse type buildings and other sections of the code may also apply depending on the design of the buildings. The buildings in question contain interior corridors providing access to exit from a number of suites. Therefore they should be considered as public corridors and designed to meet the requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.4.(1).

Appeal Board Decision #1477

It is the determination of the Board that the intent of Article 3.3.5.10. is to permit multi-tenant self-storage warehouses to be constructed without fire separations between the tenant spaces and between the tenant spaces and corridors providing the building is fully sprinklered. Sentence 3.3.1.4.(1) requires public corridors to be fire separated from the remainder of the building except as otherwise required in Part 3. The Board considers Article 3.3.5.10. to "otherwise require" sprinklers in lieu of fire separations in this specific kind of occupancy.

George R. Humphrey, Chair