BCAB #1443 - Classification of Horse Barn, Article

August 20, 1997

BCAB #1443

Re: Classification of Horse Barn, Article

Project Description

The building in question is a 182' x 288' steel structure containing horse stalls, a riding ring and some unfinished space for future use. The building permit was issued for a private horse barn and the building was considered a farm building which would comply with Article of the B.C. Building Code.

Reason for Appeal

A farm building is defined, in part, as " ... a building ... located on land devoted to farming, and used essentially for housing of equipment or livestock ... " Public events have been held at the facility and its classification as a farm building is now in question.

Appellant's Position

Since the building was completed in late 1996 a New Year's Eve Dance in concert with a bull riding competition and an early spring rodeo have been held. Temporary bleachers were installed for both events. The appellant contends that such occasional events are permitted in a farm building as the definition says they are to be used essentially for housing livestock and does not say only for livestock. The Appendix to both the B.C. Building Code and the referenced National Farm Building Code discuss the definition of farm building. They imply that a farm building with other than a low human occupancy may have " show areas where bleachers or other public facilities are provided." The appellant contends that public events which exceed a low human occupancy are both allowed and contemplated by the code.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that, since the building permit was issued, the owner has given indication that the use of the building will be considerably more than a private horse barn. The contractor advised that the owner intended to add a restaurant and use the building for assembly purposes. An engineering firm was hired to evaluate the fire protection requirements and while discussions were in progress the two events mentioned above were held. It is understood a trade fair is being contemplated. The building official maintains that based on the way the building is being used and on future plans it should be classified as Group A Division 2 or 3.

Appeal Board Decision #1443

It is the determination of the Board that the building in question is a farm building of high human occupancy when being used for events such as rodeos and dances. As such it must comply with the appropriate fire safety and egress requirements of the B.C. Building Code, in this case Part 3. If the design includes a restaurant the building would no longer qualify as a farm building and would have to be reclassified as an assembly occupancy and comply fully with Part 3 of the B.C. Building Code.

George R. Humphrey, Chair