BCAB #1022 - Building Height
November 1, 1988
Re: Building Height
With reference to your letter of July 7, 1988 regarding the height of a proposed 50 suite apartment building.
We would point out that the drawings submitted show two firewalls, which if correctly indicated would actually create three buildings, by virtue of Article 188.8.131.52. This does not, however, affect our decision in the issue under review.
You have shown, in red, what you regard as the finished grade levels for each elevation, and we basically have no disagreement with these figures. Applying them to the Code definition or "first storey" would establish all three portions of the structure as three storey buildings. In this regard it seems that there may be a degree of misunderstanding with respect to a reference in the "Commentary on Part 3", which we should clarify. For the purpose of establishing building height we fully accept that there may be site grading, modifying the original contours to suit a specific design, for any reason. The Code uses the term "finish ground" in defining grade, and we take this to be the paved or unpaved area adjoining each exterior wall, after completion of the site work. The concern for the purpose of calculating building height is the actual configuration after grading. A reasonable grade level is necessary for fire fighting purposes, and the Code commentary draws attention to the fact that the top of a steep bank against the wall of a building is unacceptable. This does not, however, rule out artificial grades which do provide an adequate level.
J.C. Currie, Chair