BCAB #1817

November 15, 2018

Re: 10 Minute Response Time

Project Description

The project is a new house in a new subdivision. The subject house is in scope of Part 9 of the BC Building Code.  There is a disagreement on the determination of whether the house is within a 10-minute response time of the fire department.

Applicable Code Requirement

Sentence 9.10.14.3.(1)(a), and 9.10.15.3.(1)(a) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code.

9.10.14.3.(1)   Except as provided in Sentence (2) and except for the purpose of applying Sentences 9.10.14.4.(2), (3), (8) and (9), and Sentences 9.10.14.5.(3), (8) and (12), a limiting distance equal to half the actual limiting distance shall be used as input to the requirements of this Subsection, where

a) the time from receipt of notification of a fire by the fire department until the first fire department vehicle arrives at the building exceeds 10 min in 10% or more of all calls to the building, and

b) any storey in the building is not sprinklered.

                (See A-3.2.3. and A-3.2.3.1.(8) in Appendix A.)

9.10.15.3.(1)   Except as provided in Sentence 9.10.15.3.(2) and except for the purpose of applying Sentences 9.10.15.2.(2), 9.10.15.4.(3) and 9.10.15.5.(12), a limiting distance equal to half the actual limiting distance shall be used as input to the requirements of this Subsection, where

a) the time from receipt of notification of a fire by the fire department until the first fire department vehicle arrives at the building exceeds 10 min in 10% or more of all calls to the building, and

b) any storey in the building is not sprinklered.

(See A-3.2.3. and A-3.2.3.1.(8) in Appendix A.)

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has recently determined that the current response data indicate fire department response times for the subject property(s) exceed 10 minutes in more than 10% of the calls. Thus, the limiting distance input for Subsection 9.10.15. shall be half the actual limiting distance.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that local authority did not follow the measurement methods described in Bulletin B13-04, issued by the Building and Safety Standards Branch and that, if the methods were adhered to, that the actual limited distance would be the appropriate input for Subsection 9.10.15..

Appeal Board Decision # 1817

It is the determination of the Board that, notwithstanding the guidance provided in Bulletin 13-04, the determination of fire department response time is that determined by the local authority.

Reason for Decision

Bulletin B13-04 was provided to local authorities as guidance in determining fire department response times but is not part of Provincial building regulations and therefore its application is not mandatory. Should the appellant consider the decision of the fire department to be inaccurate, this could be discussed with those parties responsible. As the Board may not be familiar with local conditions and fire department operations, it too would rely upon data and operational policies that are provided by the local fire department.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board