BCAB #1725 - Exterior Exit Passageway, Sentence (2006 BCBC)

March 04, 2013

BCAB #1725

Re: Exterior Exit Passageway, Sentence (2006 BCBC)

Project Description

The project in question is an existing unsprinklered three storey motel being converted to an apartment building. The first storey of the building is above grade at one end and fully below grade at the other. The second and third storeys are served by exterior passageways providing access to and exiting from the suites. The passageways encircle the building and are served by an exit stair on each side of the building and the second storey passageways also lead directly to ground level at one end. However, at one end of the building the passageways pass through the storey rather going around the outside. These breezeway portions serve only the two end suites on each storey and do not have doors where they meet the exterior passageways on each side. Except for the cross over breezeway portions the passageways are more than 50% open on their exterior sides.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires exits to be fire separated from the remainder of the floor area and Sentence requires exterior openings in exits to be protected from exterior openings in the adjacent floor area under certain exposure conditions. The requirements of both Sentences do not apply where the exterior exit passageway is at least 50% open along its exterior side and is served by an exit stair at each end.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the exterior passageways including the cross over breezeway meet the requirements of the Code for exterior exit passageways. The portions with the exterior side more than 50% open are not fire separated from the adjacent floor area and the cross over breezeway is. The entire passageway is exterior and no doors are required to separate the fire separated cross over breezeway from the non-fire separated passageways along the two sides of the building. All the suites are served by an exterior passageway which provides a choice of travel direction to either of two exit stairs leading to ground level.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the cross over breezeway is not exactly an exterior exit passageway as it is not at least 50% open on one side and the appellant needs to address this condition in order to maintain safe exiting from the 2 suites into this exterior corridor for the 2nd and 3rd storeys by fire separating it from the open exterior passageways at each end.

Appeal Board Decision #1725

The egress system is comprised of breezeways less than 50% open (public corridors) and exterior passageways providing access to two exterior exit stairs or grade level. From the point at which occupants enters the egress system they have a choice of travelling in either direction to an exit stair or grade level. It is the determination of the Board that the means of egress as designed is in conformance with Code requirements and no separation is required between the public corridors and the exterior passageways.

George Humphrey, Chair