BCAB #1695 - Fire Separation of Exits, Sentence 3.4.4.1(1)

June 16, 2011

BCAB #1695

Re: Fire Separation of Exits, Sentence 3.4.4.1(1)

Project Description

The project is a 2 storey combustible building containing Group C and D occupancies.  A stair that is unenclosed at the top serves the second floor offices.  The stair is within a double height floor area that is fire separated from the first storey.  There is an exit door that leads to the exterior (at grade) at the bottom of the stair.  There is an additional door connecting the stair area to the first storey floor area.

Reason for Appeal

Sentences 3.4.4.1.(1) requires an exit to be fire separated from the rest of the building.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends the stair area is part of the second storey floor area and that the stairs are a means of egress and not an exit.  The requirements of Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) would therefore not apply.  Further, the door connecting the stair area to the first storey floor area is not to be considered as a means of egress or exit from the first storey.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains the stair is an exit for the first and second storey floor areas and is subject to the requirements of Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1).  The stair shaft must be fire separated from the second storey in addition to the fire separation from the first storey.

Appeal Board Decision #1695

It is the determination of the Board that the stair leading down to the exterior door at ground level is part of the second storey floor area and is not required to be fire separated from it.  No door is required at the top of the stair and the exterior door at the bottom of the stairs is an acceptable exit from the second storey.  Further, the door leading from the first storey floor area to the stair is not an exit and is provided only as a convenience door.

George Humphrey, Chair