BCAB #1826

June 20, 2019

Re: Exit Stairway Receptacles

Project Description

The project is a mixed use, residential and business and personal service occupancy high-rise building. The building is served by exit stairways.

Applicable Code Requirements

Sentences 3.4.4.4.(1), 3.4.4.4.(6) and 3.6.1.2.(1) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code.

3.4.4.4.(1)   A fire separation that separates

Applicable Code Requirements

Sentences 3.4.4.4.(1), 3.4.4.4.(6) and 3.6.1.2.(1) of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code.

3.4.4.4.(1)   A fire separation that separates an exit from the remainder of the building shall have no openings except for

a) standpipe and sprinkler piping,

b) electrical wires and cables, totally enclosed noncombustible raceways and noncombustible piping that serve only the exit,

c) openings required by the provisions of Subsection 3.2.6.,

d) exit doorways, and

e) wired glass and glass block permitted by Article 3.1.8.14.

3.4.4.4.(6)   An exit shall be designed for no purpose other than for exiting, except that an exit is permitted also to be designed to serve as an access to a floor area.

3.6.1.2.(1)   The installation of electrical wiring and electrical equipment shall conform to the requirements of the Electrical Safety Regulation.

an exit from the remainder of the building shall have no openings except for

a) standpipe and sprinkler piping,

b) electrical wires and cables, totally enclosed noncombustible raceways and noncombustible piping that serve only the exit,

c) openings required by the provisions of Subsection 3.2.6.,

d) exit doorways, and

e) wired glass and glass block permitted by Article 3.1.8.14.

3.4.4.4.(6)   An exit shall be designed for no purpose other than for exiting, except that an exit is permitted also to be designed to serve as an access to a floor area.

3.6.1.2.(1)   The installation of electrical wiring and electrical equipment shall conform to the requirements of the Electrical Safety Regulation.

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that the British Columbia Building Code does not prohibit the installation of electrical receptacles in exit stairways. Further, they are required by the Electrical Safety Regulation.

Appellant's Position

The appellant acknowledges the Electrical Safety Regulation requirement for electrical receptacles in the stairway but maintains that receptacles are not required for exiting purposes and therefore would be in conflict with the British Columbia Building Code if provided in the exit stairways. Providing receptacles in the exit stairways could introduce tripping hazards and encourage non-compliant use of the stairway.

Appeal Board Decision #1826

It is the determination of the Board that the Building Code does not prohibit the installation of electrical receptacles in exit stairways. The Board does not consider there to be a conflict between the Building Code and the Electrical Safety Regulation.

Reason for Decision

Electrical receptacles required by the Electrical Safety Regulation, unless prohibited by the Building Code, are an inherent part of the building. Sentence 3.4.4.4.(1) specifically permits openings for electrical wires that serve only the exit in a fire separation that separates the exit from the remainder of the building. The presence of electrical receptacles does not interfere with the exiting function of the stairway.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board