BCAB #644 - Exterior Balconies, Sentence

BCAB #644

November 19, 1982

Re: Exterior Balconies, Sentence

With reference to your letter of October 14, 1982, regarding exterior balconies and the application of Subsection 3.2.6.

For Building Code purposes our understanding of what constitutes a "balcony" would be a projecting platform on a building, cantilevered, or supported from below, enclosed with a railing or balustrade.

Thus we could no longer consider such a feature, if completely enclosed, to be an exterior balcony, for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.6. This, we consider, has become a room, or part of a room.

Sentence of the Building Code permits the waiving of some requirements, subject to there being direct access to an exterior balcony possessing certain features.

To deal with the specific questions raised:

  1. With respect to enclosing the balcony, we consider that the Code relaxation is related to a "balcony" as outlined above. This provides temporary sanctuary, open to the outside air, visible from the ground, from which rescue is possible, and having a certain degree of protection from the effects of fire within the building. We would not consider any form of enclosure which nullified these benefits as being acceptable.
  2. In general we would agree, subject to the above. Also, of course, complete enclosure would remove the feature from being classified as a balcony.
  3. The Code refers to a balcony in the singular. If one conformed with the requirements indicated the other could be enclosed.

J.C. Currie, Chair