BCAB #1247 - Means of Egress from Controlled Atmosphere Produce Storage Building - Section 3.3 and Section 3.4

April 22, 1991

BCAB #1247

Re: Means of Egress from Controlled Atmosphere Produce Storage Building - Section 3.3 and Section 3.4

Project Description

The building in question is a storage warehouse in which produce is stored for several months in a controlled atmosphere. The building is divided into several controlled atmosphere (C.A.) rooms of between 1500 square feet and 4500 square feet. The entire volume of these rooms is loaded with produce in large wooden boxes over a three to four day time period. Once the room is full it is sealed and not opened for several months when the produce is removed for shipping. Each C.A. room is provide with a single loading door opening onto an interior corridor which allows forklift access into the rooms. Exterior doors to the building are very limited being located only at each end of the corridor and at on end of a service mezzanine above the corridor.

Reason for Appeal

Means of egress from buildings is required in conformance with Sections 3.3 and 3.4.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends the building is only intended for limited human occupancy and should not have to comply with all the egress requirements of the Code. A number of these buildings have been operated for several years with no loss of life or major accident.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that there is sufficient human occupancy during loading and unloading operations to require egress facilities conforming with the Code.

Appeal Board Decision #1247

It is the determination of the Board that the building in question contains processes "which make compliance with particular requirements in Part 3 impractical". This situation is described in Appendix A-3 of the Code which is referenced at the very beginning of Part 3 Use and Occupancy (top of page 37).

The Board considers that strict compliance with the egress requirements of the Code may not be practical and suggests that Section 2.5 Equivalents could be applied to this case. The Board has no authority to rule on equivalents therefore the use of Section 2.5 would require discussion and negotiation with the authority having jurisdiction to ensure that a reasonable level of safety is provided for the occupants considering the nature of the operation and restricted occupancy of the space.

George R. Humphrey, Chair