BCAB #1215 - Building Area

July 20, 1990

BCAB #1215

Re: Building Area

Project Description

Three storey, wood frame townhouse complex with each block less than 600 sq.m. in building area

Reason for Appeal

Part 9 limits buildings to a maximum building area of 600 sq.m. Part 3 limits building area based on the number of streets the building faces. Both Parts limit building area for fire fighting reasons. Bigger buildings require more access for fire fighting.

The building official has requested that this project's buildings be restricted to a building area less than 600 sq.m. due to a fire fighting water supply which has been calculated to be insufficient to deal with the buildings as designed.

Appellant's Position

The appellant does not believe the Code gives the building official the power to require the buildings to be smaller than permitted by Part 9.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains the smaller building area was only a recommendation, not a requirement. However, the appellant has asked the Appeal Board to rule on the case as though a conflict still existed.

Appeal Board Decision #1215

The Appendix to the B.C. Building Code is for explanatory purposes only and does not form part of the Code requirements. Appendix item A-3, Fire Fighting Assumptions, provides background information valuable to the adopting authority and the authority having jurisdiction. Although the authority having jurisdiction may determine that their fire fighting capabilities are insufficient to deal with a fire in a building as large as the Building Code allows there is no authority under the Code to restrict building size to less than it permits.

The authority having jurisdiction may use other methods such as zoning limitations, fire limits or mutually agreed to equivalent with the builder to address the fire fighting limitations of the municipality.

George R. Humphrey, Chair