BCAB #1865

June 17, 2021

Re: Permitted use of a storage garage

Project description

The project is a multiple suite residential high-rise building with a storage garage. Within the general storage garage parking area there are six sprinklered gated two car garages, separated from the general parking.

Applicable Code requirements

Definition of “storage garage” in Sentence 1.4.1.2.(1) of Division A of the British Columbia Building Code 2018 including related Note.

Storage garage means a building or part thereof intended primarily for the storage or parking of motor vehicles and containing no provision for the repair or servicing of such vehicles. (See Note A-1.4.1.2.(1).)

 A-1.4.1.2.(1) Storage Garage  Entrances at which vehicles stop for a short time beneath an unenclosed canopy to pick up and drop off passengers are not considered as storage garages. As a subsidiary use, storage garages may also contain space for parking or storing other vehicles (bicycles, boat, etc.).

Decision being appealed (local authority’s position)

The local authority has determined that the use of the separate two car garages is limited to the storage of vehicles and bikes.

Appellant's position

The appellant maintains that work on owner owned vehicles is permitted for minor matters such as fuse changes, wipers etc. within the private separate two car garages. The appellant further considers storage of noncombustible items within the separate garages is permitted. 

Appeal Board decision #1865

It is the determination of the Board that the primary use of a storage garage is for the storage of vehicles (including boats and bicycles). This primary use of parking must remain functional. The Building Code’s definition precludes provision for the repair or servicing of any vehicles either privately or commercially. Other permitted subsidiary storage in the subject two car garages must consider the fuel load limits of an F3 occupancy.

Reason for decision

The Board’s decision is limited to the Building Code’s definition of storage garage and precludes consideration of any local government related bylaw requirements.

In respect to minor servicing of personal vehicles (e.g. changing light bulbs), discretion and good judgement should be used.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board