October 6, 2020
Re: Alternative Solution to Sentences 220.127.116.11.(3) and (4)
The project is an existing industrial building, Group F Division 2 major occupancy, constructed under Article 18.104.22.168. of the 1985 BC Building Code. The existing building is approximately 1 880 m2 in building area, faces two streets, and is considered to be two storeys in building height.
The second storey is constructed similarly to a mezzanine with its floor area approximately 39% of the lower storey, except that the second storey is separated and not visually open to storey below. The second storey is served by three enclosed exits.
The existing building is not sprinklered and does not have a fire alarm system.
It is proposed that the building be divided into two suites. Each suite would have a second level, that being of the existing second storey, which is enclosed and separated from the lower storey. The area of each suite’s second level will be approximately 39% of the suite’s lower storey. Each suite’s second level will be divided by numerous partitions greater than 1 070 mm above the floor to create workspaces and individual rooms.
One of the suites is proposed to be occupied by a dance and music studio and childcare (occupant load over 40), classified as Assembly (A2) major occupancy, and the second suite will be occupied by Medium Hazard (F2) Industrial major occupancy.
Applicable Acceptable Solutions
Sentences 22.214.171.124.(3) and (4) of Division B of the British Columbia Building Code 2018.
3) Except as required by Sentence (5), the space above a mezzanine need not be considered as a storey in calculating the building height, provided
a) not less than 60% of the horizontal plane separating the mezzanine from the room or floor space in which it is located is open, and
b) except as permitted in Sentences (7) and 126.96.36.199.(3), the space above the mezzanine is used as a visually open area without partitions or subdividing walls higher than 1 070 mm above the mezzanine floor.
(See Note A-188.8.131.52.(3).)
4) Except as required by Sentence (5), the space above a mezzanine need not be considered as a storey in calculating the building height, provided
a) the aggregate area of mezzanines that are not superimposed and do not meet the conditions of Sentence (3) does not exceed 10% of the floor area in which they are located, and
b) the area of a mezzanine in a suite does not exceed 10% of the area of that suite.
(See Note A-184.108.40.206.(4).)
The proposed second level of the building does not meet the requirements of Sentence 220.127.116.11.(3) not to be considered a storey in building height as this level is completely enclosed from the lower storey.
The proposed second level does not meet the requirements of Sentence 18.104.22.168.(4) not to be considered a storey in building height as each suite’s second level is greater than 10% of the suite they are located in.
Proposed Alternative Solution
The alternative solution proposes to allow the enclosed second level of each suite to be considered a mezzanine and exempt from being a storey in building height. This would permit an Assembly (A2) occupancy in the subject building without being sprinklered.
The alternative solution proposes:
- Restricting the enclosed mezzanine area to a maximum of 40% of the suite area.
- Installation of additional smoke detectors installed throughout the first storey and enclosed second level using NFPA 72 guidance.
- Monitoring the required fire alarm system. (Fire alarm system is to be installed as part of the project to meet the requirements for the childcare occupancy with over 40 persons).
Decision being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)
The local authority has determined that the subject enclosed second level is not exempt from being considered a storey in building height. The local authority does not consider the proposed mitigating features of the alternative solution to provide an equivalent level of performance as that of compliance with the applicable acceptable solution(s).
Appeal Board Decision #1852 (See Alternative Solutions Note)
It is the determination of the Board that it confirms the local authority’s decision that the proposed mitigating features do not compensate for the increase in area of a mezzanine beyond 10% of the area of the suite in which it is located and that the subject enclosed mezzanine(s) are not exempt from being considered a storey in building height.
Reason for Decision
The appellant has not demonstrated that the proposed mitigating features of the alternative solution achieve at least the minimum level of performance of the applicable acceptable solutions.
The Building Code does not attribute objectives and functional statements to Sentences 22.214.171.124.(3) and (4). The appellant has identified F10, F11 and OS1.5 as the applicable objectives and functional statements but has not adequately identified how the proposed mitigating features achieve the required level of performance in the areas defined by the objectives and functional statements.
Alternative Solutions Note
The Board is given authority through Section 21(1) of the Building Act to confirm, reverse or vary a local authority’s decision under appeal.
The Board’s decision is specific and unique to the subject application and solely relates to the local authority’s decision being appealed. The decision may not reflect on other matters which are part of the proposed alternative solution.
Chair, Building Code Appeal Board