BCAB #1610 - Stairway for Service Area, Table 9.8.3.1., Article 1.1.3.2.

September 27, 2005

BCAB #1610

Re: Stairway for Service Area, Table 9.8.3.1., Article 1.1.3.2.

Project Description

The subject is a residential dwelling unit where an original attic space has been altered by the inclusion of a floor and finished walls, with an opening to the living area below. This area of contention is about 20 m2 and has sloped ceilings following the slope of the building’s roofline. The headroom at the peak of the ceiling is about 1800 mm, sloping downward to about 1000 mm around the perimeter walls of finished subject area. The area incorporates the original pipes, ducts, and electrical associated with the building which were in the previous attic space. There is a spiral stair which provides access to this area, which does not comply with the rise, run, and tread depth as described in Table 9.8.3.1. for “private” or “public” stairs; but the dimensions of the stair would comply with the requirements for a service stair.

Reason for Appeal

Table 9.8.3.1. provides rise, run, and tread depth dimensions for three types of stairs, “Service”, “Private” and “Public”. Table 9.8.3.1. states; Service stairs serve only areas used as service rooms or service spaces. Article 1.1.3.2. defines service room as a room provided in a building to contain equipment associated with building services, and further defines service space as space provided in a building to facilitate or conceal the installation of building service facilities such as chutes, ducts, pipes, shafts or wires.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant considers the subject area to be a service space and that the spiral stairs accessing the area need only comply with the requirements for service stairs. The area is not intended to be living space or habitable area, but is intended to accommodate additional electrical and computer cabling and two permanent compressors to power air tools located in the living area below.

Building Official's Position

The Building Official does not consider the area to be a service room because the appellant is indicating the area will house equipment not related to building services.

Notwithstanding, if the area is considered to be a service area, the Building Official considers that the spiral stairs must comply with the requirements for Curved Stairs not in Exits.

Appeal Board Decision #1610

The appellant has indicated in his submission that the area will be used solely as a service space. Based on this premise, it is the determination of the Board that the requirements for service stair type in Table 9.8.3.1. apply. Further, it is the determination of the Board that Sentence 9.8.5.2.(1) “Curved Stairs not in Exits” is not intended to apply to service stairs. Therefore, the spiral stair to this service area is acceptable.

George Humphrey, Chair