BCAB #1330 - Exits Through Lobbies, Sentences & to (4)

December 15, 1993

BCAB #1330

Re: Exits Through Lobbies, Sentences & to (4)

Project Description

The project in question is a new two storey retail and office building. Egress from the four second storey suites is via a corridor leading to a fire separated exit stair at the rear and an open stair down to the main lobby at the front. Egress from the four first storey suites is provided by grade level exterior doors at the front of each suite. There is also a corridor on the main floor serving the rear of the suites and two service rooms which discharges to the exterior at one end and into the lobby at the other. There is a fire separation between the lobby and the main floor corridor but the second floor corridor and main front stairs are not separated from the lobby.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires that every exit be fire separated from "...each adjacent floor area..." except as provided in Sentence (5) for exterior passageways and in Article for exits through lobbies. Article permits not more than one exit from a floor area above or below the first storey to lead through a lobby provided it conforms to the requirements of Sentences to (4).

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the lobby need not be fire separated from the second storey by a wall and door at the top of the stairs because the lobby is actually part of the second storey and is fire separated from the first storey. The second storey exits are the ground level lobby doors and the door to the rear exit stair. The second storey corridor, main stairs to the lobby and the lobby itself form a "public corridor" providing access to exit from the second storey.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that both Sentences and apply. Sentence requires exits to be fire separated from the adjacent floor area and the front lobby stairs are not separated from the second storey. Sentence limits the travel distance through a lobby used as part of an exit to not more than 15 metres. Because the second storey corridor and the lobby are not separated the travel distance must be measured from the end of the corridor to the lobby doors and is about 18 metres.

Appeal Board Decision #1330

It is the determination of the Board that the main floor corridor is, by definition, a public corridor because it provides access to exit from more than one suite. In conformance with Article a public corridor must lead in opposite directions to two separate exits. As this public corridor discharges directly into the lobby at one end and this lobby is actually part of the second storey, the first storey is in fact exiting through the second storey. This circumstance is not permitted by the Code, therefore the main floor lobby must be fire separated from the second storey.

George R. Humphrey, Chair