BCAB #1010 - Group Day Care Facilities
August 2 , 1988
Re: Group Day Care Facilities
With reference to your letter of May 25, 1988, regarding the classification of a group day care facility, specifically one caring for than 10 children.
On this issue we can deal only with the specific application of the Building Code to the building structure. The questions of business licences, operating guidelines, and ongoing inspections, including the requirements of the Fire Code, fall outside our jurisdiction.
The Building Code is unfortunately silent on this particular use, although it permits a children's custodial home with sleeping accommodation for not more than 10 persons to be classified as Group C rather than B-2. A day care facility is basically a non-residential school, with little difference, if any, from a small kindergarten. Strict application of the Code could therefore require that it be classified as an A-2, taking it outside the provisions of Part 9. However, there is undoubtedly a lesser hazard level involved than with a residential custodial home, so we find no difficulty in accepting a Group C classification for a day care centre caring for not more than 10 children. At this point, while we feel that a higher occupancy level could well be justified, such a decision would be a basic Code change, which we do not consider as part of our function.
To summarize, we must therefore consider a group day care centre caring for more than 10 children as an A-2 occupancy, but with 10 or less consider a Group C to be acceptable.
Applying the above to a change in occupancy, apparently for zoning purposes, we must point out that the occupancy will have changed regardless of occupant load, if a single family dwelling is changed to a day care facility. Group C covers a range of different occupancies, all presumably considered as imposing a similar degree of hazard on a building and its users. It is not necessary for a specific use to change from one group to another to be considered an occupancy change, this can occur within the actual group. We would also draw attention to the provisions of the B.C. Regulation 192/87 with respect to applying the Code on a change in occupancy.
On the question of conformance with Section 3.7. of the Code, we are unable to agree that a user's statement regarding non-acceptance of disabled children should remove a building from complying with the applicable provisions, this contravenes the fundamental principles behind these requirements. Section 3.7 accommodates changes to existing buildings, and we feel that the background to our decision on occupancy provides a reasonable basis to deal with such a situation.
J.C. Currie, Chairman