BCAB #1748 - Exit Upgrade for Existing Storage Garage, Article 1.1.1.2. of Division A

July 17, 2014

BCAB #1748

Re: Exit Upgrade for Existing Storage Garage, Article 1.1.1.2. of Division A

Project Description

The project in question is an existing hi-rise hotel (built 1965) undergoing a major renovation. This appeal involves only the 4 level parking structure attached to one side of the hotel tower where renovations are limited to new rooms for a standby generator and an electrical vault. Sprinklers are also being installed throughout the building, including the parking garage. Due to the sloping site the parking garage has direct vehicle/pedestrian access from each level to an adjacent street and there is no internal access between levels. Access into the hotel is via locked doors into a stair shaft in the hotel. The only egress from the parking structure is the vehicle/pedestrian access openings at each level.

Reason for Appeal

Egress from the garage does not conform to Code requirements and the building official has requested a new exit stair be constructed to address the unsafe condition.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the parking garage has been operating safely since 1965 and the alterations to provide a standby generator and an electrical vault will not decrease the level of safety below that which currently exists. In fact the addition of sprinklers will increase the level of safety.

Building Official's Position

The building official considers the current means of egress from the parking garage to be unsafe and should be upgraded by installing a new exit stairway at this time.

Appeal Board Decision #1748

It is the determination of the Board that in accordance with Article 1.1.1.2. the proposed work does not decrease the level of safety below that which already exists. The authority to determine an unsafe condition, unrelated to the proposed work, is provided for in other legislation but is not provided for in the BC Building Code. Where an unsafe condition has been determined, the Building Code would then apply to the remedial work.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair