BCAB #1626 January 23, 2007


Re: Egress from Dwelling Units, Sentences 3.3.4.4.(3) (1998 Edition)

Project Description

The project includes side by side townhouses constructed over a commercial occupancy. Each townhouse unit is three levels, with the upper most level served by a balcony, and the lower level incorporating the only egress door. Each unit’s egress door opens onto it own patio/courtyard, approx. 3m x 3m. A stairway, of 13 risers, runs off each patio/courtyard down to a passageway which leads to a street. The passageway runs over the concrete roof of a common underground storage garage.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.3.4.4.(3) states: A single exit is permitted from a dwelling unit provided the exit is an exterior doorway not more than 1.5 m above or below adjacent ground level and the uppermost floor level opens to a balcony not more than 6 m above adjacent ground level.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contends the surface of the patio/courtyard should be considered as “adjacent ground” for the purposes of measuring the 1.5 m and 6 m distances referenced in Sentence 3.3.4.4.(3).

Building Official's Position

The Building Official considers the patio/courtyard as the roof assembly of the underground storage garage and should not be considered as “adjacent ground”. The top of the underground roof assembly should not be used to determine the 1.5 meters to the doorway nor the 6 meters to the upper floor balcony. The determination of those measurements should be calculated from the actual ground elevation along the exterior wall face.

Appeal Board Decision #1626

The Board considers the requirement for the proximity to adjacent ground is to ensure the occupants are able to move away from the hazards of the building and to facilitate rescue from the upper level balcony. It is the determination of the Board that the patio/courtyard cannot be considered as “adjacent ground” as referenced in Sentence 3.3.4.4.(3).

George Humphrey, Chair


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