September 19, 2019
Re: Determination of Subsidiary or Major Occupancy
The project is a new building for the production of cider that has been classified as a Group F, Division 2 major occupancy. The one storey building has a building area of 268 m², includes a mezzanine, and is not sprinklered. Information provided by the appellant indicates approximately 9% of the gross floor area is used for tasting and sales, which is approximately 12% of the first storey floor area. The production space and the tasting area are both within the same suite.
The tasting area, which is located on the first storey, has a calculated occupant load of 25.
The tasting area will be primarily used for product tasting and sales of the product manufactured on site. The appellant has indicated that the space is not intended for large gatherings or events.
Applicable Code Requirements
Definition of major occupancy in Sentence 188.8.131.52.(1) of Division A of the 2018 British Columbia Building Code.
Major occupancy means the principal occupancy for which a building or part thereof is used or intended to be used, and shall be deemed to include the subsidiary occupancies that are an integral part of the principal occupancy. The major occupancy classifications used in this Code are as follows: [Excerpt from BC Building Code definition]
Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)
The local authority considers that the tasting area is a Group A, Division 2 major occupancy, but is permitted to be classified as a Group D major occupancy under Sentence 184.108.40.206.(1). As such, the local authority has determined that a fire separation is required between the production space and the tasting area.
The appellant maintains that the tasting area is considered subsidiary to the Group F, Division 2 major occupancy and does not require a fire separation between the production space and the tasting area.
Appeal Board Decision #1833
It is the determination of the Board that the tasting area in this circumstance is not a separate major occupancy and as such, no fire separation is required between the production space and the tasting area.
Reason for Decision
The decision is based on the definition of major occupancy, which identifies subsidiary occupancies as part of a major occupancy.
The tasting area will be used primarily for buying and tasting the product manufactured on site. The tasting area is not intended to be used for large gatherings or events that are not directly related to the cidery.
The subject building falls within the jurisdiction of Part 9 of the BC Building Code.
Note: Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1) points to Article 18.104.22.168. which only applies to separate suites. In Table 22.214.171.124. there are requirements for major occupancy separations within the same suite. In Part 9 there is no equivalent requirement.
Chair, Building Code Appeal Board