BCAB #1831

August 29, 2019

Re: Required Washrooms

Project Description

The project is a tenant improvement to a suite in a mixed occupancy, residential, business and personal service, and mercantile building. The business and personal service and mercantile occupancies are located on the first storey. The subject suite is a 224 m² mercantile occupancy. The base building design does not provide common water closets for the first storey suites.

Applicable Code Requirements

Sentences and (16) of Division B of the 2018 British Columbia Building Code. In a building whose floor area is more than 600 m2 and that includes one or more individual tenant spaces for a business and personal services occupancy or mercantile occupancy, water closets shall be located so that they are accessible to the public when the building is occupied.

16) The number of water closets required in a suite of mercantile occupancy whose area is not more than 500 m2 is permitted to be determined in accordance with Table based solely on the total number of staff.

The Board notes that the term ‘accessible’ in Sentence (15) is not the defined term in the BC Building Code and the Sentence means that water closets are to be available to the public.

Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that Sentence requires water closets available to each suite of business and personal service and mercantile occupancy located on the first storey since the building is not provided with common water closets available to the public. The water closets for the subject mercantile suite shall be available to the public.

Appellant's Position

The appellant maintains that per Sentence, the public does not require access to a water closet in a mercantile occupancy that is not more than 500 m². The water closets need only be provided for staff.

Appeal Board Decision #1831

It is the determination of the Board that both Sentences and (16) are applicable to the subject suite. This results in the water closet count being based only on the total number of staff and that water closets be available to the public.

Reason for Decision

Sentence requires that water closets serving the subject mercantile suite be located so that they are accessible to the public, this includes staff. The Board considers that all occupants within the suite of mercantile occupancy are to be provided access to water closets.

Sentence states that, for a specific occupancy type and size, it is permitted to determine the number of water closets based on the number of staff. This sentence does not determine who has access to these water closets.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board