BCAB #1437 - Areas of Refuge, Sentence

March 11, 1997

BCAB #1437 

Re: Areas of Refuge, Sentence

Project Description

The building in question is a high-rise hotel (Group C) with U shaped public corridors on each floor and a "scissors" type exit stair shaft.

Reason for Appeal

Clause requires that all floors of a hotel to which the public is admitted be accessible to persons with disabilities. Sentence requires areas of refuge which shall " ... in number and location ..." correspond to the required exits. Sentence is an exception to this requirement and it permits two areas of refuge to be served by " ... one vestibule or corridor ..." so long as the vestibule or corridor is accessible from "... two different directions ..."

Appellant's Position

The appellant has designed the public corridor as an area of refuge in conformance with Clause and/or (e). The appellant contends that the design conforms to Sentence which is an exception to the requirements of Sentence The intent of the code is met because occupants of the hotel rooms enter the area of refuge directly from their suites. The corridor is the only area of refuge but the appellant asks how a corridor, which is permitted by Clause and Sentence, can be accessible from two different directions. Also, if Sentence is an exception to Sentence, do you have to comply with both sentences?

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the appellant has not complied with either Sentence or (3). Sentence requires that there be the same number of areas of refuge as exits except as permitted in Sentence (3). Sentence (3) allows two areas of refuge to be served by one vestibule or corridor as long as it is accessible from two different directions. The appellant has not provided access from two different directions.

Appeal Board Decision #1437

The Board agreed that the wording of Sentence is awkward but the intent is to provide a choice of two directions of travel to a single area of refuge connected to a fire fighter's elevator. It is the determination of the Board that the design in question does not meet the requirements of Sentence It was also noted that the public corridor does not appear to provide adequate width for the four 1220 mm x 1220 mm wheelchair spaces without obstructing the required width of the public corridor in accordance with Clause

George R. Humphrey, Chair