BCAB #1778 - Application of Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2) to Drug and Alcohol Recovery Home

January 26, 2016

BCAB #1778

Re: Application of Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2) to Drug and Alcohol Recovery Home

Code Edition:  2012
Code Division: B - Requirements
Code Reference: Part 9 – Small Buildings

Project Description

The project is a conversion of an existing single family residence to accommodate residents recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. The project is proposed to be registered as an Assisted Living residence under the applicable Provincial legislation. Residents are ambulatory and will number no more than 10, including one staff person.

Reason for Appeal

There is a disagreement on whether the requirements of Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2) apply to this facility.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the building is a residential occupancy, and that the requirements of Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2) do not apply. No “care,” as defined by the code, is provided by facility management. There is a staff person that lives in the facility to help co-ordinate activities such as food delivery, drug and alcohol testing, and to enforce facility rules. 

Local Authority’s Position

The Local Authority maintains that the drug and alcohol recovery home is a care occupancy as defined by the code and must conform to the requirements for a residential care facility in Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2). These requirements are a relaxation from the code’s more stringent requirements for care facilities and represent the minimum acceptable level of safety for this type of facility. Further, the Ministry of Health’s publication Assisted Living and Residential Care Fire and Life Safety guidelines notes that a residential care facility is a care (formerly care and treatment) occupancy per the BC Building Code.

Appeal Board Decision #1778

It is the determination of the Board that the facility in question does not provide care as defined by Article 1.4.1.2. of the BC Building Code, nor is it a “care facility accepted for residential use pursuant to provincial legislation” as described in Sentence 9.10.2.2.(2).  The facility in question is a Group C, residential occupancy.

Reason for Decision

The occupants are not resident in the facility due to “cognitive, physical or behavioural limitations.”

The provincial government publication Assisted Living and Residential Care Fire and Life Safety, notes that both supportive and assisted living housing can be classified as Group C occupancies. 

Maura Gatensby, Acting Chair

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