BCAB #1749 - Spatial Separation of Two Suites in the Same Building, Articles 9.10.9.2. & 9.10.12.3. & Subsection 9.10.14.

July 17, 2014

BCAB #1749

Re: Spatial Separation of Two Suites in the Same Building, Articles 9.10.9.2. & 9.10.12.3. & Subsection 9.10.14.

Project Description

The project in question is a three unit townhouse with some horizontal overlap between adjacent units. On the ground floor of one suite is an exterior alcove or hallway about 15 feet long and four feet wide leading from an exterior door to the rear yard. The second storey of the building is above the alcove and because the alcove is open to the exterior its walls are constructed as insulated exterior walls with combustible cladding. One of the exterior walls of the alcove has been designed as a continuation of the fire separation between the adjacent suites.

Reason for Appeal

Article 9.10.9.2. requires a fire separation between suites to be continuous. Article 9.10.12.3. contains provisions to protect against fire spread between suites via unprotected openings in exterior walls. Subsection 9.10.14. regulates the construction of the exposing building face (exterior walls) facing other buildings or property lines.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the alcove is considered part of one of the suites and has continued the fire separation to the exterior end of the alcove to provide a continuous fire separation between them in conformance with Article 9.10.9.2. The exterior end of the alcove is an unprotected opening that does not expose the adjacent suite.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that because the alcove is exterior space, the opposing walls of the two dwelling units are exposing building faces and Subsection 9.10.14. applies.

Appeal Board Decision #1749

It is the determination of the Board that Article 9.10.12.3. applies because the walls of the alcove are exterior walls of separate fire compartments in the same building. There are no unprotected openings within the alcove less than 1.2 metres apart.  Subsection 9.10.14., “Spatial Separation Between Buildings,” does not apply because the walls of the alcove are part of the same building. Subsection 9.10.9., “Fire Separations Between Rooms and Spaces within Buildings,” does not apply because the walls of the alcove are exterior walls.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair