BCAB #1744 - Accessibility of a Mezzanine, Clause 18.104.22.168.(2)(a)
April 16, 2014
Re: Accessibility of a Mezzanine, Clause 22.214.171.124.(2)(a)
The project in question is the renovation of an existing building for a climbing gym. The facility has two climbing walls, a 45 foot wall on the main floor and a 30 foot wall on a mezzanine. The mezzanine in question is about 235 square metres with the climbing wall and padded safety floor taking up all but 47 square metres of that area.
Reason for Appeal
Buildings are required to be accessible to persons with disabilities but there are some exceptions. In buildings not exceeding two storeys Clause 126.96.36.199.(2)(a) exempts a storey with an assembly occupancy of not more than 100 square metres which is directly above the accessible first storey if it does not contain facilities integral to the principle function of the accessible first storey.
The climbing wall on the first storey is accessible to persons with disabilities but the appellant contends that the climbing wall on the mezzanine should not need to be accessible. The effective area of the mezzanine is less than 100 square metres because only 47 square metres are available as circulation space, the remainder being occupied by the climbing wall and padded safety floor only used by a few people at a time. Also, the climbing wall and padded safety floor that occupy the rest of the mezzanine are not integral to the principle function on the accessible first storey because they are simply a duplication of the climbing facilities on the first storey.
Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that the area of the mezzanine exceeds the 100 square metre assembly occupancy exemption limit by a considerable amount but the Clause doesn’t specify if this is “floor area” or net area. The building official also questions whether the mezzanine climbing wall is simply a duplication of the first storey wall or provides a different experience and should be considered integral to the principle function of the first storey.
Appeal Board Decision #1744
It is the determination of the Board that the climbing wall on the mezzanine is a repetition of the main floor climbing wall and not integral with the principal function of the accessible first storey. The Board acknowledges the type of facility under appeal was not envisaged when the Code was written. However, the assembly area on the mezzanine does exceed 100 square metres and is required to be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Lyle Kuhnert, Chair