BCAB #1627 - Corridor Width in Care Occupancy, Sentence

January 23, 2007

BCAB #1627

Re: Corridor Width in Care Occupancy, Sentence

Project Description

The subject building is a 160 bed long term (complex) care facility, classified as Group B Division 2, built under Article Building occupant’s mobility (in care) ranges from independently mobile to those that require total assistance to evacuate in the event of fire. The subject corridors within the care occupancy are 2108 mm wide.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence states: A corridor in which it may be necessary to move a patient in a bed shall be not less than 2400 mm wide.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant indicates that the occupants in care “are generally not evacuated in beds because to do so would require two staff members to evacuate one resident.” “When residents require assistance or are completely dependent on staff to evacuate, staff uses different methods of evacuation. The most common means of evacuation would be manual and battery operated wheelchairs, commodes or geriatric chairs (which have wheels).”  The appellant contends 2400 mm wide corridors are required only when patients are moved (evacuated) in their beds.

Building Official's Position

The Building Official considers the occupants in care to be non ambulatory, both by guidance from the Code’s appendix (“Occupants of nursing homes are assumed to be, for the most part, non-ambulatory.”) and from experience with other complex care facilities in his jurisdiction.

The Building Official contends 2400 mm wide corridors are required when it may be necessary to the move an occupant in care in a bed, and is not related to the operational policies of the facility. In a past fire in a complex care facility within the same community, 80% of the occupants were evacuated by staff and fire department personnel by moving them in their beds.

Appeal Board Decision #1627

The health profile of the occupants (in care) requires that it may be necessary to move the occupants in beds. Therefore it is the determination of the Board that in accordance with Sentence, the corridors in question must  be not less than 2400 mm wide.

George Humphrey, Chair