BCAB #1797 - Combustible Piping Used in a Drain, Waste, and Vent Piping System
May 18, 2017
Re: Combustible Piping Used in a Drain, Waste, and Vent Piping System
The project is a high rise multi-unit residential building. The building’s drain, waste, and vent (DWV) piping system penetrates horizontal fire separations with a required fire-resistance rating at every floor level and will be located within and penetrating vertical fire separations with a required fire resistance rating. The DWV system is of non-combustible pipe with the exception of within suites.
Some of the DWV system piping will also be located within and penetrating interior partition walls, which are not fire separations, in order to serve wash basins, kitchen sinks, and clothes washers. At these locations it is proposed there would be a transition to combustible piping for the p-traps and trap arms.
Applicable Code Requirement
Sentences 22.214.171.124.(3), (4) and (5) of Division B of the British Columbia Building Code
126.96.36.199.(3) Except as permitted by Sentences (4) to (5), combustible piping shall not be used in a drain, waste and vent piping system if any part of that system penetrates
(a) a fire separation required to have a fire-resistance rating, or
(b) a membrane that forms part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating.
188.8.131.52.(4) Combustible drain, waste and vent piping is permitted to penetrate a fire separation required to have a fire-resistance rating or a membrane that forms part of an assembly having a fire-resistance rating, provided
(a) the piping is sealed at the penetration by a fire stop that has an F rating not less than the fire-resistance rating required for the fire separation when subjected to the fire test method in CAN/ULC-115, “Fire Tests of Firestop Systems,” with a pressure differential of 50 Pa between the exposed and unexposed sides, with the higher pressure on the exposed side, and
(b) the piping is not located in a vertical service space.
184.108.40.206.(5) Combustible fire separation vertical service space provided it is not located within a vertical service space.
Decision Being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)
The local authority has determined that Sentences 220.127.116.11.(4) and (5) are not applicable and do not allow for a transition from noncombustible to combustible when walls are not rated. Sentence 18.104.22.168.(3) therefore requires the noncombustible DWV system to remain noncombustible.
The local authority considers that during a fire event, a failure of the fixture drain (trap arm) due to incorrect materials or lack of fire stopping at the penetrations creates open conduits from one fire compartment to the next and interconnect through the entire building.
The appellant contends that Article 22.214.171.124. of the BC Plumbing Code, Stainless Steel Threaded Fittings, applies to the mechanical tee proposed and that, because of the locating collar that physically engages the pipe, it creates a mechanical joint similar to those described in Article 126.96.36.199. of the BC Plumbing Code, Mechanical Joints, which is distinct from a saddle hub or fitting.
Appeal Board Decision #1797
It is the determination of the Board that the exceptions in Sentences 188.8.131.52.(4) and (5) are not applicable to the subject circumstance of this appeal. Sentence 184.108.40.206.(3) does not give permission for combustible traps and trap arms on one side of a vertical wall which is not a fire separation.
Reason for Decision
The Board supports Appeal Board decision #1365. “As in several previous appeals (see #1205, #1260 and #1280) it is the determination of the Board that Sentence 220.127.116.11.(3) is applicable and does not permit the kitchen waste arms or washing machine standpipes and p-traps to be of combustible plastic pipe because the DWV system penetrates fire separations. The Board recognizes that this Sentence is very restrictive and imparts unreasonable requirements on the DWV system but a code change is required to correct this problem.”
The Board acknowledges the continued ambiguity of Sentence 18.104.22.168.(5) and will bring this matter to the attention of the provincial regulators.
Chair, Building Code Appeal Board