BCAB #1617 - Storeys in Building Height, Article Defined Terms

February 15, 2006

BCAB #1617

Re: Storeys in Building Height, Article Defined Terms

Project Description

The subject building is a house which incorporates a roof deck. An enclosed stair tower (approximately 12 m2) provides access to a roof deck from the three storeys below. A covered unenclosed “gazebo” of approximately 30 m2 is attached to the stairway enclosure and shelters approximately 33% of the roof deck.

Reason for Appeal

A storey is defined as the portion of a building which is situated between the top of any floor, and if there is no floor above it, that portion between the top of such floor and the ceiling above it. Building height (in storeys) means the number of storeys contained between the roof and the floor of the first storey.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends the Building Code does not prescriptively address this type of structure and it can be justified that it is not a storey by:

  • fire load with or without the “gazebo” would be similar
  • the roof of the gazebo should not be considered as a ceiling for determination of a storey
  • referring to BCAB #1300 that an uncovered roof deck was not determined to be a floor level

Building Official's Position

The Building Official considers the underside of the gazebo roof to be a ceiling of the structure and the roof deck to be a floor. Using this criteria and the Code’s definition of storey, the Building Official considers the roof top “gazebo” is an additional storey which results in the house being four storeys in building height.

Appeal Board Decision #1617

The Board recognizes the Code does not explicitly deal with structures where exterior walls are defined only by columns. Using literal interpretations from Article, Defined Terms, the “gazebo” structure may be defined as a story.

The mandate of the Building Code Appeal Board allows for the “application” of the Code to a specific appeal in addition to the “interpretation” of the wording of the Code.

The Board considers treating the “gazebo” as an additional storey to be an inappropriate application of the Code. Therefore it is determination of the Board that the subject “gazebo” structure is not considered a storey when determining building height.

George Humphrey, Chair