BCAB #1578 - Protection of exterior exit stairs and ramps from adjacent unprotected openings, Sentence

January 15, 2003

BCAB #1578

Re: Protection of exterior exit stairs and ramps from adjacent unprotected openings,


Project Description

The project in question is a training and rehabilitation facility for special needs persons and persons with disabilities (classified as a Group A Division 2 occupancy.) The building is one storey in building height, a building area of approximately 925 m2 and is not sprinklered. The elevation of the interior floor is between 250 mm and 800 mm higher than the exterior ground elevation adjacent the building. There are six exterior doors, generally distributed around the perimeter of the building. The building has two main entrances (with double doors) which are accessible by both exterior stairs (four risers) and a ramp ( 1:12 slope). At both of these entrances, either the exterior stair or the ramp is located within 3 m horizontally of unprotected window openings

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires an unenclosed exterior exit stair or ramp to be protected from fire from openings in an exterior wall, where the openings are within 3m horizontally and less than

10 m below or less than 5 m above the exit stair or ramp.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends the protection required by Sentence is intended to apply where the unprotected openings are on different levels (either above or below) than the exterior stair or ramp. Further, this requirement is within Subsection 3.2.3 Spatial Separation and Exposure Protection, which specifies requirements for fire exposure between buildings, fire compartments and spaces. In this circumstance the exterior ramps and stairs are exposed to openings which are all within the same fire compartment, therefore the requirement is not applicable.

Building Official's Position

The Building Official considers the requirements of Sentence are applicable which requires the window openings within 3 m of the exterior ramp or stair to be protected.

Appeal Board Decision #1578

The Board notes that the travel distance when measured at or beyond the bottom of the exterior stairs and ramps comply with the maximum travel distance limits of 30 m. The stairs and ramps are considered part of the means of egress, not exit ramps or stairs, therefore the protection requirements of Sentence are not applicable.

George Humphrey, Chair