BCAB #1436 - Occupancy Classification of Private Education and Training Facility, Sentence and Article

Last updated on March 24, 2016

March 11, 1997

BCAB #1436 

Re: Occupancy Classification of Private Education and Training Facility, Sentence and Article

Project Description

The building in question is a three storey steel frame commercial building with a building area of 566 square metres. This appeal concerns the occupant of the second and third storeys, a post secondary education and training company concentrating on job skills for the unemployed and those on social assistance. The second floor contains five training rooms, some offices and a reception area. The third floor is mostly offices but also contains a large meeting room and board room.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence and Article require every building to be classified in accordance with its major occupancy. Part 3 covers all occupancy classifications while Part 9 does not cover assembly, institutional and high hazard industrial. There is a disagreement as to whether the building in question is an assembly occupancy (Group A Division 2) or a business and personal service occupancy (Group D).

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the business which occupies the second and third storeys is a Group D occupancy, not a Group A Division 2 occupancy. They do not provide instruction in the accepted school sense envisaged in the development of the building code. Assistance is provided to clients to improve their job and life skills and to match them with employment and business opportunities within the community.

The training rooms are set up as conference rooms and do not have the traditional fixed seating associated with school classrooms. The occupant density is in the area of 4.6 square metres per person as indicated for personal service use in Subsection 3.1.16., Occupant Load. Classrooms in this subsection have a density of 1.85 square metres per person which would allow more than twice as many people.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the occupancy is a school as intended by the code and sites the definition of assembly occupancy. In part, it refers to the gathering of people for educational purposes. Although the word school is not defined in the code, Websters Dictionary defines it in several ways including:

  1. an organization providing instruction;

  2. an institution providing higher learning; and,

  3. an establishment offering specialized instruction.

Despite the personal service like occupant density suggested by the appellant the building official considers the use to be an assembly occupancy as defined in Article

Appeal Board Decision #1436

It is the determination of the Board that the major occupancy classification for the second and third storeys is assembly, Group A Division 2.

George R. Humphrey, Chair