BCAB #1722 - Stair Tread & Guard Design for Stair Serving Industrial Occupancy, Sentence 3.4.6.5.(7) & Clause 3.4.6.(1)(a)

November 21, 2012

BCAB #1722

Re: Stair Tread & Guard Design for Stair Serving Industrial Occupancy, Sentence 3.4.6.5.(7) & Clause 3.4.6.(1)(a)

Project Description

The subject of this appeal is a set of exterior exit stairs serving the second storey offices of an addition to a Group F Division 3 creamery. The guards on the stairs and landings are pipe rails with one intermediate rail approximately half way between the walking surface and the top rail. The stair treads and landings are made of perforated metal with flush circular openings about 35 mm in diameter and smaller 5 mm circular openings with raised edges. The large openings are closely spaced with approximately 10 mm between them and the smaller raised edge circles are located such that six of them surround each of the large circular holes.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.6.5.(7) requires guards on exit stairs to be designed so as not to facilitate climbing unless it can shown that the design does not present a hazard. Clause 3.4.6.1.(1)(a) requires exit stairs to be slip resistant.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the facility does not permit children on the site so the climbable guards do not present a hazard. The material used for the treads and landings is specifically designed to be slip-resistant by allowing water to drain freely through it and providing the small raised circles.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the guards do constitute an unacceptable risk as per the objectives and functional statements attributed to the provision. The material used for the treads and landings could represent a tripping hazard which is one of the possible hazards addressed by the functional statement.

Appeal Board Decision #1722

It is the determination of the Board that the exemption for climbable guards in Sentence 3.4.6.5.(7) is intended for occupancies such as this one where small children are unlikely to be present or will be under close supervision and the design does not present a hazard to adults. The Board also determined that Clause 3.4.6.1.(1)(a) only addresses slip-resistance, not tripping. The associated functional statement is generic and is associated with other provisions where tripping might be applicable.

George Humphrey, Chair