BCAB #1768 - Determination of Building Area, Definition, Article of Division A

June 8, 2015

BCAB #1768

Re: Determination of Building Area, Definition, Article of Division A

Project Description

The project is a three storey house. There is an exterior deck off the second storey that also serves as a roof over a 95 m2 patio area on the level below.  The lower patio area is open to the exterior on two sides and supported by columns

Reason for Appeal

There is a disagreement on the application of Sentence of Division A which defines building area as “the greatest horizontal area of a building above grade within the outside surface of exterior walls”.  The inclusion of the lower patio area as part of the building area would result in a building area exceeding 600m2, thus the building being within scope of Part 3 of the BC Building Code.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the building area, as defined by the BC Building Code, should not include the second storey deck area or the patio area below.  The appellant considers these areas are not within the exterior walls of the building, which are usually considered to be the environmental separation walls between exterior and interior space. 

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the subject lower patio is part of the building which supports or shelters an occupancy, and therefore must be included in the calculation of building area. The building official considers the column supports of the deck above to be the boundary of the exterior wall of the lower patio area.

Appeal Board Decision #1768

The Building Code does not define the term “exterior walls”, and the Board is relying upon “meanings that are commonly assigned to them in the context which they are used” and dictionary definitions.  In this specific circumstance, the Board does not consider the columns supporting the deck above to establish the boundary and be part of the “exterior walls” of the building.  The Board does acknowledge this should not be considered to be a universal application for determining the boundary of exterior walls, such as for buildings/structures that are primarily canopies, such as an open air storage garage or open air warehousing.

Therefore it is the determination of the Board that the subject second storey deck/lower patio area are not part of the building area as defined by the Code, and should this result in a building area of less than 600m2, the building falls within the scope of Part 9 of the Building Code.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair