BCAB #1807

March 15, 2018

Re: Access to Mechanical Systems from a Secondary Suite

Project Description

The project is a house with a secondary suite. Common heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment in a service room serves both the principal dwelling unit and the secondary suite. Whether access is required to the service room from both dwelling units is the subject of this appeal.

Applicable Code Requirement

Sentences 9.33.1.1.(1) and 9.33.4.4.(1) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code

9.33.1.1.(1) This Section applies to the design and installation of heating systems, including requirements for combustion air and air-conditioning systems serving only one dwelling unit.

9.33.4.4.(1) Equipment forming part of a heating or air-conditioning system, with the exception of embedded pipes or ducts, shall be installed with provision for access for inspection, maintenance, repair and cleaning.

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that access to the service room containing common HVAC equipment is required from both dwelling units. Service rooms that contain equipment that serve a principal dwelling unit and a secondary suite shall be accessible from both the principal dwelling unit and the secondary suite.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that the Code does not require shared access by the principal dwelling unit and the secondary suite to a service room containing common HVAC equipment.

Appeal Board Decision # 1807

It is the determination of the Board that the Code does not require shared access by the principal dwelling unit and the secondary suite to a service room containing common HVAC equipment.

Reason for Decision

The Code requires access for inspection, maintenance, repair and cleaning, but does not require this access available to all occupants of the building. The Board considers the intent of this requirement to prevent equipment from being installed in areas of a building that are inaccessible. For this subject, the Building Code does not prescribe the persons responsible for inspection, maintenance, repair and cleaning. Other Provincial regulations determine the responsibilities for landlords and tenants.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board