BCAB #1591 - Occupant Load, Sentence 3.1.16.1.(1)

November 7, 2003

BCAB #1591

Re: Occupant Load, Sentence  3.1.16.1.(1)

Project Description

The subject is a licensed beverage establishment with a building area of 417 m2. The area of the building that patrons occupy, excluding kitchen, washrooms, storage and offices is 216 m2. Using the criteria of 1.2 m2 per person from Table 3.1.16.1., an occupant load of 218 persons would be established.

The appellant wishes to limit the occupant load of the building to 149 persons, by posting a permanent sign in conformance with Sentence 3.1.16.(2) of the BC Building Code and Article 2.7.1.4. of the BC Fire Code.

 The building’s exit capacity and washroom facilities exceed the requirements for 149 persons.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.1.16.1.(1) states the occupant load of a floor area shall be based on the number of persons for which the area is designed, but not less than that determined from Table 3.1.16.1. for occupancies other than that described in Clauses (a) and (b), unless it can be shown the area will be occupied by fewer persons.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends posting a sign indicating the occupant load in conspicuous locations near the principal entrances to the floor area in conformance with the Building and Fire Codes is adequate in showing the area will be occupied by fewer persons than derived from Table 3.1.16.1.
The appellant further contends the nature of non-fixed seating and tables permits flexibility in patron group sizes, and that it would be unrealistic to expect the seats remain in a “fixed” seating plan.

Building Official's Position

The Building Official contends that the floor plans submitted do not show how the floor area will be occupied by fewer persons than that determined by Table 3.1.16.1. The building official does not consider a statement made by the designer, nor signage indicated in Sentence 3.1.16.1.(2),  adequate information to indicate the proposed occupant load in question.

Appeal Board Decision #1590

It is the determination of the Board that the appellant must provide supportive information to demonstrate compliance with Clause 3.1.16.1.(1)(c) as well as providing signage as required by Sentence 3.1.16.1.(2).