BCAB #1764 - Water closet back support, Article (2006 BC Building Code applicable)

May 21, 2015

BCAB #1764

Re: Water closet back support, Article, (2006 BC Building Code applicable)

Project Description

The project is a renovation and addition to an existing Group A, Division 2 school building. The building includes 4 universal toilet rooms, required to conform to Article, which have tankless water closets installed. A permanent backrest has been mounted to the wall behind each tankless water closet.

Reason for Appeal

There is a disagreement regarding the application of Clause, which requires a toilet seat cover to provide back support where tank-type water closets are not used.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the permanently wall mounted  backrest provided meets the intent of the BC Building Code, that being to provide back support for persons using the water closet.  The backrest is consistent with both the “Building Access Handbook” and “CSA B651-12 Accessible Design for the Built Environment”.   Both these documents provide for the option of a backrest as an alternative to the toilet seat cover required by the Code, and neither specify a minimum dimension for such a backrest.  

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the code requires a grab bar as referenced in Clause and a toilet seat cover, or a toilet tank to provide back support.  The option of a separate wall mounted backrest is not provided for in the code.  The building official also notes that no minimum dimensions for backrests need be noted in the code, as the dimensions of toilet seat covers and toilet tanks fall within a standard range.

Appeal Board Decision #1764

The present mandate of the Board is limited to the interpretation and application of the Code’s identified acceptable solutions.  The Board determines that the appellant’s proposal is not an identified acceptable solution, but may be considered an alternative solution with acceptance being the purview of the local authority.  The BC Building Access Handbook, a commentary to the BC Building Code, recognizes the use of a backrest as a potential alternative to the Code’s acceptable solution.    

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair