BCAB #1684 - Exit from Second Storey, Article

December 16, 2010

BCAB #1684

Re: Exit from Second Storey, Article

Project Description
The project in question is a two storey office building. There are two suites on the first storey, each with their own independent exits. The second storey is a single suite with two means of egress. Near the back of the suite is a fire separated exit stair leading down and through an elevator lobby to the outdoors. Near the front of the suite is a stair providing access from the street. This stair is fire separated from the first storey but not from the second storey suite.

Reason for Appeal
With exceptions that don’t apply to the building in question Article requires at least two exits from every floor area such that travel distances don’t exceed a specified distance.

Appellant’s Position
The appellant contends that the second storey floor area has two conforming exits. One exit is the door into the rear exit stair and the other is the door to the outdoors at the bottom of the open front  stairs.

Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that an exit is defined as the part of a means of egress leading from the floor area. Floor area is defined as being part of a storey and a storey is the space between floors or a floor and a roof. Therefore, the open stair from the second storey is only an access to exit because it does not provide a protected path leading from the second storey floor area.

Appeal Board Decision #1684
It is the determination of the Board that the front stair leading down to the exterior door at ground level is part of the second storey floor area and is not required to be fire separated from it. No door is required at the top the stair and the exterior door at the bottom of the stairs is an acceptable exit from the second storey.

George Humphrey, Chair