BCAB #1227 - Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs - Sentence 126.96.36.199.(1); Sentences 188.8.131.52.(1) and; 184.108.40.206.(5)
December 18, 1990
Re: Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs - Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1); Sentences 18.104.22.168.(1) and; 22.214.171.124.(5)
A six storey office building with "open plan" floor layouts on the third through sixth floors (i.e. no fire separated public corridors). The third through sixth floors are occupied by one tenant. The building is sprinklered and is equipped with a fire alarm system.
Reason for Appeal
In a building with a fire alarm system Clause 126.96.36.199. (b) requires emergency lighting in exits, corridors used by the public and principle routes providing access to exit in an open floor area.
Sentence 188.8.131.52.(1) requires this building to have exit signs over all exit doors and Sentence 184.108.40.206.(5) requires signs to indicate the direction of egress in passageways.
The appellant contends that the only "access to exit" on floors three to six are the corridors between the exit stairs in the building core area. Emergency lighting and exit signs have been provided in these areas as well as in the exit stairs. He does not consider the office areas surrounding the core to be part of the "access to exit" and therefore no emergency lighting or exit directional signs have been provided in the office areas.
Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that the entire floor area is part of the "access to exit" so emergency lighting and directional exit signs are required for all "principle routes providing access to exit in an open floor area " This means the corridors within the office areas which lead to the exits require emergency lighting and directional exit signs.
Appeal Board Decision #1227
The Board cannot say where each exit sign and emergency lighting head must go in any particular building. The Board can only provide guidance as to the requirements of the Code. The designer and the building official must consider all the variables that impact on the placement of the emergency lighting and exit signs in open floor areas. These variables include, but are not limited to, such things as varying ceiling and partition heights, location of and materials used in partitions, sight lines and which routes are considered "principle."
The Board agrees with the building official that the entire floor area is part of the "access to exit" but does not consider it possible to give hard and fast guidelines regarding this issue. Each design must be looked at on it's own merit. For example, not all routes in a open floor area would necessarily be principle routes requiring emergency lighting (220.127.116.11.(b)(iii)) and not all passageways would require directional exit signs (18.104.22.168.(5)). It is intended that a fair bit of discretion be used when applying these parts of the Code and the Board suggests that designers and building officials discuss these requirements in advance to come to an understanding.
George R. Humphrey, Chair