BCAB #1486 - Fire Separation of Egress Stair, Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1), Clause 3.4.4.4.(1)(d) and Sentence 3.4.4.4.(6) ('98 BCBC)

June 28, 1999

BCAB #1486

Re: Fire Separation of Egress Stair, Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1), Clause 3.4.4.4.(1)(d) and Sentence 3.4.4.4.(6) ('98 BCBC)

Project Description

The project in question is a two storey office component of a warehouse /office complex. The design has two stairs providing egress from the second storey. One stair is fire separated from both storeys while the other stair is fire separated only from the first storey. In both cases there is a fire rated door at the first storey level providing access from the first storey to the stairs. Both stairs discharge directly to grade level with persons being required to pass through the first storey and the first storey has exits which are separate from those at the bottom of the stairs.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) requires every exit to be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation and Clause 3.4.4.4.(1)(d) limits openings in this fire separation to exit doors.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the stair which is not fire separated from the second storey is not an "exit stair" but only part of the means of egress to the exit door at the bottom of the stair. The stair is part of the second storey and the fire separation between the stair and the first storey is part of the required fire separation between storeys. The inclusion of a door through the fire separation wall at the first storey should not cause the stair to be classed as an exit stair and require a fire separation to be provided between the stair and the second storey.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains the stair is an exit and because there is door opening into it at the first storey the exit must be protected either at the top or bottom of the stair.

Appeal Board Decision #1486

It is the determination of the board that the design in question complies with the code. The door through the fire separation surrounding the stair to the ground floor is not an exit door and the stair is part of an access to exit, not an "exit stair."

George R. Humphrey, Chair