BCAB #1593 - Enclosed Mezzanine, Sentence Definition of Suite related to Dormitories, Sentence

November 7, 2003

BCAB #1593

Re: Enclosed Mezzanine, Sentence Definition of Suite related to Dormitories, Sentence

Project Description

1.         The subject building is a dormitory for a residential school. The first storey contains common space, office space, the director’s accommodation suite, intern accommodation suite and dining assistant’s accommodation suite. The second and third storey contains dormitories with several sleeping rooms and common space. The dormitory bedrooms do not have cooking facilities and are arranged that two bedrooms share a common bathroom.

2.         There is an attic space above the third storey, with a portion of it intended to be used for storage. The enclosed area for storage is less than 10% of the third storey floor area. An unenclosed stair from the third storey serves the area intended for storage. The storage area is less than 150 m2 and the travel distance from any point in the storage area to the top of the stair does not exceed 10 meters.

Reason for Appeal

1.         The Building Code defines the term suite as a single room or series of rooms of complimentary use, operated under a single tenancy, and includes dwelling units, individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses and dormitories as well as ... .

 2.         The Building Code states a mezzanine shall not be considered a storey in building height and may be totally enclosed provided the total area of the mezzanine or mezzanines are not more than 10% of the suite in which they are located.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends:


  • The dormitory sleeping rooms are not suites, but are all rooms within a single suite. Fire separations and public corridors are not required.
  • The school and the house director have ultimate control over the dormitory sleeping rooms; the students do not have control or tenure of the rooms.


  • The storage area in the attic is a 10% enclosed mezzanine as permitted by Sentence

Building Official's Position

The Building Official contends:


  • The definition of the term suite identifies individual dormitory rooms as suites.
  • The design indicates that the rooms accessing the corridor are provided with locks. This suggests the security and control of these rooms is under the control of the students that occupy them.
  • Although the use of the building is as a residential school, it could be compared to a similar use of a  boarding or lodging house. Sentence exempts sleeping rooms of a boarding or lodging house from being fire separated from the remainder of the building only when there are sleeping accommodations for 8 or fewer.


  • The definition of the term mezzanine indicates “an intermediate floor assembly between the floor and ceiling of any room or storey and includes an interior balcony”. The storage area in question is above the 3rd storey ceiling.
  • The storage area should be considered as the fourth storey with appropriate egress from an individual storey.

Appeal Board Decision #1593

It is the determination of the Board that:

  1. each cluster of two sleeping rooms sharing a common bathroom are considered a  single suite, and
  2.  the subject storage area must be considered as a fourth storey and is not an enclosed mezzanine, by definition .

George Humphrey, Chair