BCAB #1866

June 17, 2021

Re: Required egress for a mercantile Group E suite

Project description

The project is a multiple high-rise building complex with multiple occupancy classifications. Included in the project is a 2 storey structure of retail and amenity use with its first storey containing commercial/retail mercantile suites (Group E).

The subject is a sprinklered mercantile suite of greater than 150 m2 in area and requires two means of egress. One of the means of egress is an exterior door also being the principal entrance to the suite, the other proposed means of egress is a door that discharges the occupants into a storage garage which has access to 2 exits.

Applicable Code requirements

Sentence 3.3.1.3.(11) and Sentences 3.3.1.5.(1) and (2) of Division B of the British Columbia Building Code 2018.

 3.3.1.3.(11) Except as permitted by Sentences 3.3.4.4.(5) and (6), each suite in a floor area that contains more than one suite shall have

 a) an exterior exit doorway, or

 b) a doorway

i) into a public corridor, or

                        ii) to an exterior passageway.

 3.3.1.5.(1) Except for dwelling units, a minimum of 2 egress doorways located so that one doorway could provide egress from the room or suite as required by Article 3.3.1.3. if the other doorway becomes inaccessible to the occupants due to a fire which originates in the room or suite, shall be provided for every room and every suite

a) that is used for a high-hazard industrial occupancy and whose area is more than 15 m2,

b) intended for an occupant load more than 60,

c) in a floor area that is not sprinklered throughout, and

i) the area of a room or suite is more than the value in Table 3.3.1.5.-A, or

ii) the travel distance within the room or suite to the nearest egress doorway is more than the value in Table 3.3.1.5.-A, or

d) in a floor area that is sprinklered throughout and does not contain a high-hazard industrial occupancy and

i) the travel distance to an egress doorway is more than 25 m, or

ii) the area of the room or suite is more than the value in Table 3.3.1.5.-B.

 3.3.1.5.(2) Where 2 egress doorways are required by Sentence (1), they shall be placed at a distance from one another equal to or greater than one third of the maximum overall diagonal dimension of the area to be served, measured as the shortest distance that smoke would have to travel between the nearest required egress doors.

Decision being appealed (local authority’s position)

The local authority has determined that the proposed means of egress through the storage garage is not acceptable as it does not comply with the requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.3.(11).

Appellant's position

The appellant considers the proposed second means of egress required for the mercantile suite through the storage garage is compliant with the Code’s requirements.

Appeal Board decision #1866

It is the determination of the Board that the proposed design which has one means of egress as an exterior door and the other required means of egress through the storage garage is compliant with the Code’s requirements.

Reason for decision

Sentence 3.3.1.3.(11) does not apply to all required means of egress, rather the Sentence states ‘an’ exterior exit doorway (singular) is one option for compliance. In this case there is one exterior exit doorway provided as a means of egress.

The Board has assumed that all travel distances are compliant.

Lyle Kuhnert

Chair, Building Code Appeal Board