BCAB #1809

May 17, 2018

Re: NFPA 20 and Enclosed Passageways for Fire Pumps Access

Project Description

The project is a multi-use high-rise building with a fire pump. The applicable edition of the standard referenced in the BC Building Code for the installation of the fire pump is NFPA 20, “Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection,” 2010 edition. The room containing the fire pump is not directly accessible from the exterior of the building.

Applicable Code Requirement

Sentence 3.2.5.18.(1) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code

3.2.5.18.(1) If a fire pump is installed, it shall be installed in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 20, “Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection.” (See Appendix A.)

4.12.2.1.1 of NFPA 20, “Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection,” 2010 edition

                4.12.2.1.1 Fire pump rooms not directly accessible from the outside shall be accessible through an enclosed passageway from an enclosed stairway or exterior exit. The enclosed passageway shall have a minimum 2-hour fire-resistance rating.

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that the fire pump access requirements in NFPA 20 apply and therefore a passageway having a 2 hour fire separation is required to provides access from the exterior of the building to the building’s water entry room containing the fire pump.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that an enclosed passageway to the service room containing the fire pump having a 2 hour fire separation is not required. Requirements for fire separations for service rooms are addressed in the BC Building Code and aspects of the referenced NFPA standard that conflict with the BC Building Code are not applicable. The NFPA 20 standard applies only as far as the installation of the fire pump, but does not apply to the fire-resistance rating of the room containing the fire pump or access to the room.

Appeal Board Decision # 1809

It is the determination of the Board that an enclosed passageway to the room containing the fire pump is not required.

Reason for Decision

Sentence 1.5.1.2.(1) of Division A states “In case of conflict between the provisions of this Code and those of a referenced document, the provisions of this Code shall govern.” The BC Building Code requirements for service rooms in Subsection 3.6.2. supersede those requirements of NFPA 20 for service rooms. There is no requirement for an enclosed passageway to a room containing the fire pump in the BC Building Code.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board