BCAB #1784 - Fire Resistance Rating for Fire Separations Between Resident Rooms

May 19, 2016

BCAB #1784

Code Edition: 2012
Code Division: B
Code Reference: Part 3

Re: Fire Resistance Rating for Fire Separations Between Resident Rooms and the Remainder of the Floor Area in a Care Occupancy, Sentences 3.3.3.5(9) and 3.3.3.5(15)

Project Description

The project is a three storey building of combustible construction with a Group B, Division 3 (care) major occupancy. The building contains individual rooms, each providing a bed and a washroom for individual residents. Laundry and cooking facilities are not provided in the rooms.

Reason for Appeal

There is a disagreement on whether the walls between the rooms and the remainder of the floor area require a fire resistance rating. The Building official has determined the rooms are suites as defined by the code, and that Sentence 3.3.3.5(15) requires a fire separation not less than that specified for residential occupancies in Sentences 3.3.4.2.(1) and (2).

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the resident rooms do not meet the BC Building Code’s definition of a suite. The facility is run by a single operator (the owner) and the resident rooms are not provided under a separate tenure. Therefore, the requirements of Sentence 3.3.3.5.(9) apply.

Local Authority’s Position

The building official maintains that the resident rooms are required to be considered as suites for application of Sentence 3.3.3.5.(15), regardless of an owner’s commitment to retain control of the rooms. Sentence 3.3.3.5.(15) requires a 1 h fire separation between the suites and the remainder of the floor area.

Appeal Board Decision #1784

It is the determination of the Board that the individual sleeping rooms are not suites as defined by the code and that Sentence 3.3.3.5.(9) is applicable.

Reason for Decision

The code has provisions for 2 types of care facilities: those containing individual suites of care occupancy and those containing residents’ sleeping rooms.  Sentence 3.3.3.5.(9) applies to those containing residents’ sleeping rooms and Sentence 3.3.3.5.(15) applies to those containing individual suites of care occupancy.  The appellant has demonstrated that the residents’ sleeping rooms are not under separate tenancy and therefore do not meet the code’s definition of suite.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair, Building Code Appeal Board

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