BCAB #1249 - Fire Separation of School Automotive & Construction Shops Article and Sentence

May 28, 1991

BCAB #1249

Re: Fire Separation of School Automotive & Construction Shops Article and Sentence

Project Description

A new secondary school with an industrial education wing containing an auto mechanics shop and a construction shop amongst others.

Reason for Appeal

Article requires fire separations between different classifications of major occupancies and Sentence requires repair garages to be separated from other occupancies by a 2 hour fire separation.

Appellant's Position

The appellant considers the automotive mechanics shop and the construction shop to be subsidiary occupancies integral to the principle Group A Division 2 Assembly occupancy of the building. Because they are not separate major occupancies they are not required to be fire separated from the remainder of the building. Also, they do not consider the auto mechanics shop to be a repair garage but rather an area for auto repair instruction and ,therefore, Sentence does not apply and no fire separation is necessary.

Building Official's Position

The building official insists that the auto mechanics shop must be fire separated from the the remainder of the building in conformance with Sentence for repair garages. He also maintains that the woodwork shop must be separated by a fire separation in conformance with Article

The building official argues that Section 3.3 regulates safety within floor areas and once you have "established the mix of occupancies, you must consider the minimal life safety standards inherent to each individual use or occupancy contained within the building." He considers fire separations between occupancies as being some of these minimal life safety requirements.

Appeal Board Decision #1249

It is the determination of the Board that an auto mechanics shop that provides facilities for the service or repair of motor vehicles in a school is, by definition, a repair garage. Sentence requires an assembly occupancy to be separated from a garage by a fire separation conforming to Article which in turn requires a 2 hour fire separation between a repair garage and other occupancies. Therefore, the Board considers a 2 hour fire separation is required between the auto mechanics shop, including its directly associated rooms and spaces, and the remainder of the school. (See Appeal #1246, copy attached)

Regarding the construction shop the Board considers that, like the repair garage, it is not a major occupancy so the fire separation requirements of Article for major occupancies do not apply. As the Code makes no special mention of construction shops the way it does for repair garages the Board does not consider any fire separation is required between the construction shop and the remainder of the school. The Board considers a construction shop to be a subsidiary and integral part of the Group A Division 2 major occupancy.

George R. Humphrey, Chair