BCAB #1806

March 15, 2018

Re: Safety Within Floor Areas

Project Description

The project is a two storey non-combustible sprinklered building that incorporates a suite on the first storey being used as a carwash and a suite on the second storey being used as an indoor cycling facility.

Applicable Code Requirement

Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code

3.3.1.1.(1) Except as permitted by Sentences (2) to Sentences (4), a suite shall be separated from adjoining suites by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than 1 h. (See also Subsection 3.3.3. for care, treatment or detention occupancies, Article 3.3.4.2. for residential occupancies, and Article 3.1.8.7. for fire dampers.)

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that the suite separation requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1)  apply to the horizontal fire separation between the two adjoining suites.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that Article 3.3.1.1. applies only to vertical fire separations of adjoining suites within a floor area and not to horizontal fire separations between storeys.

Appeal Board Decision # 1806

It is the determination of the Board that the fire separation required by Sentence 3.3.1.1. applies to the horizontal separation between the two adjoining suites.

Reason for Decision

The Board considers the term “adjoining suites” in Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) to include both those adjoining suites vertically as well as horizontally. This is confirmed by minutes from the Revision Subcommittee B for amendments to the 1980 National Building Code where the term “adjacent suites” was changed to the present “adjoining suites” in order to “clarify that the separation requirements for tenancies in Article 3.3.1.1. apply to vertical as well as horizontal situations”.

Further, the Board has identified the definition of floor area relates to the defined term ‘storey’ which states “situated between the top of any floor and the top of the floor next above it”. Thus the floor area includes the horizontal floor/ceiling assembly.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board