BCAB #1416 - Section 2.5, Equivalents

May 14, 1996

BCAB #1416

Re: Section 2.5, Equivalents

Project Description

The project in question is a four storey wood frame apartment building designed and built under Article The appellants design included lofts in the fourth storey suites and these uppermost floor levels were approximately 11.75 metres above grade.

Reason for Appeal

Article limits the upper most floor level to 9 metres above grade and the appellant proposed an equivalency under Section 2.5 of the code. Section 2.5, Equivalents, provides that "Any person desirous of providing an equivalent to satisfy one or more of the requirements of this Code shall submit sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the proposed equivalent will provide the level of performance required by this Code."

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the building official "refused to make a decision on the equivalency report and maintained "that an equivalency report could not circumvent the Code." The appellant further contends that Section 2.5 allows for equivalent methods of providing the performance required by the code and maintains that the equivalency report did not propose a circumvention of the code. The appellant asks the Board to respond to the following questions:

  • Is the building official's position that Section 2.5 cannot be used to circumvent the code correct?

  • If the Board considers that Section 2.5 can be applied, will the Board review and decide on the technical arguments of the equivalency?

  • If the Board is unable to review and rule on the equivalency, will the Board recommend to the authority having jurisdiction that this dispute be referred to an independent Code expert for a technical assessment?

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that they did review the equivalency proposal and rejected it with reasons. It was considered to be circumventing a code requirement rather than providing an equivalent method of compliance.

Appeal Board Decision #1416

The Board's decisions in respect to the questions asked by the appellant are as follows:

  • It is the determination of the Board that Section 2.5 provides the opportunity for anyone to propose, to the authority having jurisdiction, a different but equivalent method of meeting any requirement of the code.

  • The Board does not consider equivalency proposals to be within their jurisdiction and does not review the technical merits of individual equivalencies. The methods used by the authority having jurisdiction to determine the acceptability of an equivalency proposal are at their discretion.

George R. Humphrey, Chair