BCAB #1728 - Adaptable Dwelling Unit Entry, Subsection 3.8.5. (2006 BCBC)

BCAB #1728

Re: Adaptable Dwelling Unit Entry, Subsection 3.8.5. (2006 BCBC)

Project Description

The project in question is a 35 storey mixed use building with 14 adaptable dwelling unit suites designed in conformance with Subsection 3.8.5. The dwelling units are quite small (44 m2) and have limited clearances around the entry doors.

Reason for Appeal

The rational for adaptable dwelling units is that they can be made accessible for persons with disabilities at a future time without significant alterations. Adaptable dwelling unit suite entry doors are intended to conform to the requirements for doors providing access detailed in Sentence 3.3.1.13.(10). Power operated doors do not require any clearances at the latch side of the door.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that pre-wiring for a future power door operator at the suite entry meets the intent behind the definition of adaptable dwelling unit to “facilitate future modification” to make the suite accessible. The clearances on both sides of the door conform with Subclauses 3.3.1.13.(10)(b)(III) and (iv) for doors with power operators.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the Code requires the power operators to be installed under the 3.3.1.13.(10)(b)(iii) and (iv) under that permit. This includes the power operator cost in the initial building permit in order to take advantage of the reduced clearances specified in Subclauses development cost and does not defer it to some future occupant.

While the City takes no exception to the dictionary definitions provided by the appellant it notes that any dwelling can be adapted if you put enough money into it. These dictionary definitions do not address where along the spectrum of cost the Code expects adaptability to fall. The level of adaptability required under the Code can only be determined from an assessment of the prescriptive requirements specified in Subsection 3.8.5.

Appeal Board Decision #1728

It is the determination of the Board that the Code requires the adaptable suite entry door to meet the requirements of Clause 3.3.1.13.(10)(b). Latch side clearances for doors in an accessible path of travel are different for manual and power operated doors. The Code predicates a power operator be installed in order to apply the reduced clearances. Without the power operator the reduced clearance door does not conform to Subclause 3.3.1.13.(10)(b)(iv).

George Humphrey, Chair