BCAB #1584 - Fire Department Access to Buildings, Article, Inadequate Fire Fighting Facilities, Article

July 17, 2003

BCAB #1584

Re: Fire Department Access to Buildings, Article
        Inadequate Fire Fighting Facilities, Article

Project Description

The subject building is a house located in a semi urban area. The vehicular access to the building is by a private road connected to a public thoroughfare. The length of the private roadway is about 300 metres, with a grade up to 16%. The access road has a number of curves.

The limiting distance for the building is at least double of that required by Subsection 9.10.14.

There is no fire sprinkler bylaw in the jurisdiction the building is proposed to be constructed in.

Reason for Appeal

Article states that every building shall be provided with access for fire department equipment by means of a street, private roadway, or yard. If a roadway or yard is used, it shall take into account connections with public thoughfares, weight of fire fighting equipment, width, radius of curves, overhead clearance, location of hydrants, location of fire department connections and vehicular parking. 

Article states where a fire department is not equipped to meet the needs of the community, the limiting distance shall be doubled for a building that is not sprinklered.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends the automatic fire sprinkler system requested by the building official is not a requirement of the BC Building Code. Vehicular access has been provided to the building, though the local fire department (and Building Official) does not consider it adequate for their equipment. The appellant contends the fire departments equipment does not meet the needs of her circumstance, and therefore has established limiting distances at least double of that required by the Code. The appellant contends there is compliance with both Articles and

Building Official's Position

Following the recommendations of the local fire department, it has been determined that the grade and overall geometry of the access to the building is unacceptable. The fire department is not confident their fire fighting equipment can respond effectively in the event of an emergency due to the design of the access road. The fire department has indicated they would stage their pumper truck no closer than 100 meters from the building (measured along the roadway). In order to compensate for this distance to the building, an automatic fire sprinkler system is requested to be installed, as suggested in A-

Appeal Board Decision #1584

The Board recognizes the private roadway from the street to the building may not be adequate to accommodate all fire department vehicles for its entire length. Unlike the detailed requirements of Part 3, Part 9 of the Building Code does not prescribe standards for firefighting or emergency response.

It is the determination of the Board that the fire department access to the building complies with Article and that additional sprinkler protection is not a requirement of the Building Code. 

George Humphrey, Chair