BCAB #1427 - Access for Disabled Persons to Roof Deck, Clause & Sentence, and Means of Egress from Occupied Roof,

September 18, 1996

BCAB #1427

Re: Access for Disabled Persons to Roof Deck, Clause & Sentence, and Means of Egress from Occupied Roof,

Project Description

The project in question involves the creation of an outdoor eating area on the roof of an existing restaurant located on the second floor of a two storey building. Access to the roof will be by the extension of an existing stair shaft.

Reason for Appeal

  1. Sentence requires access to alterations and additions for persons with disabilities to conform with Subsection 3.7.4. Clause exempts "...vertical additions of one storey not more than 600 m2 in floor area..." from the requirements for access for persons with disabilities. Sentence requires access for persons with disabilities to alterations where "...in the opinion of the authority having jurisdiction, (a) disabled persons could reasonably be expected to be employed in, or could reasonably be expected to use, such an occupancy or (b) where providing such access would be practical."

  2. Sentence requires two means of egress from a roof "...used or intended for an occupant load of more than 60 persons..."

Appellant's Position

  1. The appellant contends that the only vertical addition is the stair enclosure which is considerably smaller than 600 m2. The appellant further argues providing access would not be practical because the cost of a wheelchair lift within the stair enclosure would cost at least 50% as much as the total cost of the renovation estimate and could be very difficult to install in the confines of the stair enclosure. Extending the elevator would cost even more.

  2. The appellant contends the number of occupants on the roof deck will be well below 60, probably in the range of 20-25 and have submitted a letter stating the total number of occupants in the restaurant, including the roof deck, will not exceed 100 people.

Building Official's Position

  1. The building official has determined that the roof deck dinning area should have access available for persons with disabilities.

  2. The building official has calculated the occupant load for the roof deck as 80 persons based on an area of 96 m2 divided by 1.2 m2 per person from Table 3.1.16.A. As the occupant load exceeds 60 people a second means of egress is required.

Appeal Board Decision #1427

The Board has reached the following two decisions:

  1. The stair enclosure addition is not considered a vertical addition of one storey so Clause does not apply. The Board considered Clause does apply but the building official holds the authority to decide whether or not access is practical.

To assist the building official in this determination the Board would point out that the code's intent regarding this project seems to be embodied in Clause which says access is not required to one storey additions less than 600 m2 in floor area. This exemption is based on the same reasoning applied in Clause and described in the Building Access Handbook as follows "Elevators and elevating devices for disabled persons are relatively expensive and in small buildings are difficult to justify because they may form a significant percentage of a building's cost."

The Board feels that if access is not required to a single storey addition of up to 600 m2 then it need not be provided to the relatively minor alterations required to convert an existing roof to an outdoor dining area.

  1. Clause permits an area to be designed for an occupant load lower than that determined from Table 3.1.16.A. Sentence then requires this occupant load to be posted. The Board considers that it may be shown that the roof area will be used by less tan 60 people based, for example, on a detailed seating plan of the area.

George R. Humphrey, Chair