BCAB #1612 - Water Supply for Fire Fighting, Required Hydrants Subsection 3.2.5.

September 27, 2005

BCAB #1612

Re: Water Supply for Fire Fighting, Required Hydrants Subsection 3.2.5.

Project Description

The subject building is a storage warehouse; major occupancy classification is Group F, Division 2. There are three side by side buildings separated by firewalls with areas of 1544m2, 1766m2 and 1104m2, for a total of 4414m2. All of the buildings are two storeys in building height. They are constructed under Article 3.2.2.72. and are fully sprinklered to NFPA 13 requirements.

There is an existing municipal fire hydrant (located off site) approximately 29m from the proposed location for the sprinkler system fire department connection.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.2.5.7.(1) states an adequate water supply for fire fighting shall be provided for every building, and refers to an Appendix note for clarification.

Within the Appendix note there are recognized documents and standards that can be used to calculate adequate water supply requirements. The Appendix note further states NFPA 13 and referenced sprinkler standards should be used to establish water supplies for sprinklered buildings.

Within Subsection 3.2.5. Provisions for Fire Fighting, there are requirements that state the distance from a hydrant connection to the fire department connection for an automatic sprinkler connection be within 45 m and is unobstructed. Further, Sentences 3.2.5.5.(2) and (3) requires an access route be provided so that a fire department pumper truck can be located adjacent the required fire hydrant and that a unobstructed travel to the fire department connection is not more than 45 m.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant indicates “the owner is responsible for carrying out the work in full accordance with the requirements of the British Columbia Building Code. The methodology used by the design team in determining the required water supply for fire fighting is based on good engineering practice and supported by the recommendations [Appendix] within the BC Building Code.” The appellant considers the water supply requirements of NFPA 13 to be adequate to comply with the provisions of Sentence 3.2.5.7.(1).

As the building is sprinklered with a fire department connection within 45 m of a hydrant and pumper vehicle staging, the appellant considers the existing hydrant arrangement conforms to the Building Code with no additional hydrants.

Building Official's Position

Using guidance from a previous Appeal decision, the Building Official considers the responsibility for the determination for adequate water for fire fighting rests with the municipality. In consultation with the municipal fire department, fire flows were calculated using Fire Underwriters Survey Guide “Water Supply for Public Fire Protection”(FUS) and determined to be 8000 gallons per minute. The Building Official considers it necessary to relocate the existing hydrant and provide an additional three fire hydrants on site in order to provide the required fire flow through appropriate locations.

Appeal Board Decision #1612

The Board acknowledges NFPA 13 as a recognized standard for fire protection for sprinklered buildings; including the water supply and flow requirements within the standard. This is supported by an Appendix note stating: NFPA 13 and referenced sprinkler standards should be used to establish water supplies for sprinklered buildings. Based on the information provided, there are no extenuating circumstances which would warrant using standards which would exceed the water supply requirements in the NFPA standard.

The Board considers the Building Code requirements for fire hydrants for sprinklered buildings are those of Sentences 3.2.5.5.(2) and 3.2.5.16.(2). Provided the existing fire hydrant complies with these requirements, and is able to deliver the water supply requirements of NFPA 13, the proposed design with a single hydrant would be acceptable.

George Humphrey, Chair