BCAB #1774 - Exit through Lobbies

November 19, 2015

BCAB # 1774

Re: Article 3.4.4.2. Exit through Lobbies

Project Description

The project is a sprinklered building containing multiple suites of residential occupancy, with one required exit from storeys above passing through the lobby. The lobby contains an elevator and an alcove where mailboxes for the building are located. The mailboxes are located on the interior side of two exterior walls.

Reason for Appeal

There is a disagreement on whether mailboxes for residents are permitted to be located within a lobby used as an exit. 

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the mailboxes present a level of hazard that is less than those items specifically permitted in or adjacent to an exit lobby. The presence of mailboxes is consistent with the intent of the code. The mailboxes could be interpreted as complying with the literal provisions of the code for rooms.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that an exit lobby must comply with all the requirements for exits and may not be designed for purposes other than accessing or exiting floor areas as indicated in  Sentence 3.4.4.4.(6).   Permitted exceptions are found in Subclauses 3.4.4.2.(2)(e)(i) to (iv).  Mailboxes are not included in these exceptions. 

Appeal Board Decision #1774

The Board considers mailboxes located in a lobby used as an exit are incidental to the purpose of access through a lobby. Similar incidentals in lobbies used as exits include fire alarm annunciators and building documents such as a fire safety plans. Therefore it is the determination of the Board that these mailboxes are permitted in this lobby used as an exit.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair

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