BCAB #1284 - Exit Upgrade of Existing Building, Subsection 1.2.1. and Sentence

June 19, 1992

BCAB #1284

Re: Exit Upgrade of Existing Building, Subsection 1.2.1. and Sentence

Project Description

The building in question is an existing 240' x 110' (26,400 ft2) multi-tenant industrial building. It is divided into 12 units, each of which is 40' wide and 55' deep and, except for the corner units, has only one exterior wall. This exterior walls contains an exit door, a window and a 12' x 16' overhead door. A previous tenant occupied two adjacent units with a 16' x 10' opening between them and thus had access to two egress doors. This opening is to be closed off and the two adjacent units occupied by different tenants.

Reason for Appeal

The 1985 B.C. Building Code permits a single egress door from a room or suite of group F Division 2 occupancy provided the travel distance from anywhere in the room or suite is not greater than 10 meters (33 ft) and the room or suite does not exceed 150 m2 (1615 ft2). The travel distance in this case would exceed 33 ft and the area exceeds 1615 ft2.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the single egress door from each unit was acceptable when the building was constructed because the travel distance was then 75 ft. He feels that closing up the opening between the units, adding a bathroom, relocating a wall and removing another wall are minor changes and should not require him to upgrade the egress facilities to current standards.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the two units previously occupied as a single suite complied with the egress requirements of the current Code but the proposed alterations do not meet the current egress requirements and, therefore, cannot be permitted unless the egress facilities are upgraded.

Appeal Board Decision #1284

Subsection 1.2.1. states that the Code applies to the alteration of existing buildings. This means that all new work (alterations) must comply to the Code in effect at the time of alterations. Unfortunately the Code does not provide guidance as to the extent to which the Code applies to areas of the building considered to be affected by the alterations, other than appendices notes which are not part of the adopted regulations.

The Board is unable to rule on variances to Code requirements which arise due to the nature and extent of alterations involved. This issue should be resolved between the Authority Having Jurisdiction and the appellant.

George R. Humphrey, Chair