Code Edition Interpretation Number Title Date Keywords File
2018 18-0001 Fire Department Connections for High Buildings 19/02/2019 BC BUILDING CODE INTERPRETATION COMMITTEE A joint committee with members representing AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0001 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 19, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire Department Connections for High Buildings Keywords: Fire department connections, high buildings Building Code Reference(s): Div A -1.5.1.2., Div B - 3.2.5.8., 3.2.5.9.(1), 3.2.5.9.(6), 3.2.5.15. Question: Are high buildings required to be served with 2 separate fire department connections? Interpretation: Yes (unless the local fire department determines that the 2nd FDC is not necessary) Clause 3.2.5.8.(1)(a) requires a standpipe system in a building when the building height exceeds 3 storeys. Therefore all high buildings require a standpipe system. Sentence 3.2.5.9.(1) requires that standpipe systems be designed to NFPA-14-2013. Sentence 3.2.5.9.(6) requires that a fire department connection be provided for every standpipe system. This means that BCBC requires at least 1 fire department connection for every building that requires a standpipe system. Article 7.12.2. of NFPA-14-2013 requires that a high building be provided with 2 remotely located fire department connections unless the local fire department advises that a single fire department connection is acceptable within their jurisdiction (see excerpt from NFPA-14-2013 below: 7.12.2 High-rise buildings shall have at least two remotely located fire department connections for each zone, 7 .12.2.1 A single connection for each zone shall be permitted where acceptable to the fire department. It should be noted that NFPA 14 defines a high building as one being 75 feet (23m) high measured from the fire department access route to the uppermost floor, rather than 18m in the 2018 BCBC measured from grade to the uppermost floor. This is not considered to be a conflicting requirement as described in Division A -Article 1.5.1.2. because Sentence 3.2.5.9.(1) requires the standpipe system be designed to NFPA-14-2013, so the requirements of Article 7.12.2. and Sentence 7.12.2.1. would apply. Patrick Shek, P.Eng• cP. FEC. Committee Chair The views expressed are the consensus of the joint committee with members representing AIBC, EGBC and BOABC which form the BC Building Code Interpretation Committee. The Building and Safety Standards Branch. Province of BC and the City of Vancouver participate m the committee's proceedings with respect to interpretations of the BC Building Code. The purpose of the committee is to encourage uniform province wide interpretation of the BC Building Code. These views should not be considered as the official interpretation on of legislated requirements based on the BC Building Code, as final responsibility for an interpretation rests with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction. The views of the joint committee should not be construed as legal advice. Download
2018 18-0002 Cleanouts for Building Sewers 6" or Less in Size 26/03/2019 AlBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0002 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Cleanouts for Building Sewers 6" or Less in Size Keywords: Building Sewer, Cleanout Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.7.1.(5) What is the maximum change of direction permitted on a 6" (or less) building sewer? Sentence 2.4.7.1.(5) of the BCPC states; "A building sewer shall not change direction or slope between the building sewer and public sewer or between cleanouts, except that pipes not more than 6 inches in size may change direction a) by not more than 5° every 3 m, or b) by the use of fittings with a cumulative change of direction of not more than 45°." This means that a 6" (or less) building sewer would require additional cleanout fittings where a change of direction is accomplished by using 2 or more 45° fittings. If, for example, the change of direction was accomplished using 2 22° fittings, no additional cleanouts would be required. Many jurisdictions require an inspection chamber (IC) near the property line at the connection point to the municipal sewer. The IC can act as a cleanout, if it is a minimum 4" in size, and may be taken into consideration when applying the above Sentence since it provides for two-way rodding. An illustration of this situation has been provided on page 2. If there is more than a 45° change of direction in either the horizontal or vertical plane additional cleanouts are required. The intent statement attributed to Sentence 2.4.7.1.(5) in the 2015 National Plumbing Code (on which the 2018 BCPC is substantially based) states in part as follows; "To limit the probability that excessive direction or slope changes in small-diameter sewers will lead to an inability to clear system blockages, ". This intent statement lends support to the above interpretation. Download
2018 18-0003 Bevels at Door Thresholds 19/02/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0003 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 19, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Bevels at Door Thresholds Keywords: Door Threshold, Bevel Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.1.13.(11) Question: Where there is a door between a dwelling unit and an attached parking garage, with a beveled threshold in the doorway, which way should the bevel face? Interpretation: The direction of the bevel(s) depends on the elevation difference between the threshold and the adjacent finished floor. Sentence 3.3.1.13.(11) requires that where a doorway threshold is not flush with the floor, the threshold shall be no higher than 13 mm above the finished floor surface, and where it is higher than 6 mm it shall be beveled at a slope no steeper than 1 in 2. The purpose of the bevel is to reduce the potential tripping hazard of the change in elevation in the doorway. This applies regardless of the direction that a person will travel through the doorway. The finished floor elevations may be different on the opposite sides of the threshold. If the threshold is more than 6 mm higher than the adjacent finished floor on only one side, the threshold must be beveled on that side. If the threshold is more than 6 mm higher than the finished floor on both sides, the threshold must be beveled on both sides. Download
2018 18-0004 Guard at Backyard Retaining Wall 16/04/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0004 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 16, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Guard at Backyard Retaining Wall Keywords: Guard Building Code Reference(s): Division A, 1.1.1.1.(1) Question: In the backyard of a house, is a guard required at a two-tier retaining wall at the rear perimeter of the yard, where each tier has a drop of about 1.2 m? Interpretation: This issue is not addressed by the BC Building Code. Division A, Sentence 1.1.1.1.(1) refers to the various applications of the Building Code. A guard on a retaining wall that is not part of a building, and is not part of an exterior exit route for the building, is not within any of the applications of the Building Code. Therefore, the requirement for a guard in this location is not regulated by Building Code. The Building Code does not address all safety issues. Although the Code does not require a guard in this situation, the risk to persons using the areas near the retaining wall should be considered in assessing whether a guard should be provided. Download
2018 18-0005 Fixed Ladder and Hatch Location for Roof Area Access 19/02/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0005 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: February 19, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fixed ladder and hatch location for roof area access Keywords: Roof access, floor areas, fixed ladder, hatch, main roof areas, roof-top enclosures Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.5.3.(1)(b), NFPA 14 Question: Clause 3.2.5.3.(1)(b) requires all main roof areas of buildings over 3 storeys with a roof slope less than 1 in 4, to be provided with direct access from the floor areas immediately below by means of a hatch with a fixed ladder. 1. Is it the intent of Clause 3.2.5.3.(1)(b) to require the fixed ladder and roof hatch to be located within a floor area and not within an exit stair enclosure, given that the definition of floor area excludes exits? 2. Instead of a fixed ladder and hatch located in the interior floor area to access the roof from below; is it acceptable to locate a fixed ladder at the exterior to provide access from a main roof area to another main roof area over a roof-top enclosure accessed from the main roof? For example, the roof of a penthouse, partial storey, or amenity structure is accessed from a building main roof via a fixed ladder positioned at the exterior of these roof-top enclosures. 3. What is meant by "main roof area"? For example, is the roof over a penthouse or rooftop amenity roof-top enclosure also considered a main roof area? Interpretation: 1. No. The intent of the Building Code is to facilitate fire fighter access to a main roof area, and minimize delay in fire fighting. Therefore, a fixed ladder and hatch should be allowed to be placed wlthin an exit stair enclosure. It is common practice to place the fixed ladder and the hatch within an exit stairwell as it provides a protected place for firefighters to access a roof and run a firehose directly to the roof from a standpipe connection, if necessary for fire department operations. Locating the fixed ladder and hatch within the exit stair enclosure is considered to provide sufficiently direct access from the floor areas immediately below the roof areas. 2. Yes. A fixed ladder can be placed at the exterior of a roof-top enclosure to provide access from one main roof area to an upper main roof area as the roof exterior is open vented, thus providing a degree of safety for firefighter access intended by the Building Code. The location of the fixed ladder to the upper main roof area should be visually apparent or sufficient signage provided at the access to the first encountered main roof area. 3. The term 'main roof area' should apply to any roof over any floor area that is part of a storey. It should not be assumed that roofs above roof-top enclosures can be reached by firefighters using a portable ladder, as this could unnecessarily delay firefighter access. Roof-top enclosures exempted by Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1) from being considered a storey are not considered to require such facilitated fire fighter access to their roofs, unless such roof-top enclosures are of a significant size or occupy an area equal to the storey below. An example of this is a large service room at the top of a hospital or laboratory building. Download
2018 18-0006 Crawl Space Ceiling Height Maximum 26/03/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0006 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Crawl space ceiling height maximum Keywords: Crawl space, ceiling height, headroom, concealed space, basement Building Code Reference{s): 9.5.3.1., 9.10.8.9., 9.18., 3.2.2.9.(1) Question: For Part 9 buildings, Article 9.5.3.1. does not provide maximum ceiling height criteria for crawl spaces. Is a crawl space permitted to have a ceiling height of 2.4m or more? Interpretation: No, except in unusual circumstances. Article 9.5.3.1 does not address ceiling height of crawl spaces, because crawl spaces are not intended to be habitable or occupied spaces. In the absence of a formal definition of crawl space in the Building Code, dictionary meanings could be reviewed. The dictionary of Architecture and Construction by Cyril M. Harris, 4th edition, for example, indicates crawl space as: "1. Any interior space of limited height, but sufficient to permit workmen access to otherwise concealed ductwork, piping, or wiring. 2. In a building without a basement, an unfinished accessible space below the first floor which is usually less than a full storey in height; normally enclosed by the foundation wall. 3. A creep trench." Crawl spaces are therefore not intended to be spaces where normal functional headroom height is provided to accommodate normal use and occupancy. Sentence 9.10.8.9.(1) requires a crawl space to be considered a basement in applying the requirements of Article 9.10.8.1. (Fire-Resistance Ratings for Floors and Roofs), if it: exceeds 1.8m height, is used for any occupancy, is used as a plenum in combustible construction, or is used for the passage of flue pipes. Sentence 3.2.2.9.(1) similarly indicates that: "For the purposes of Articles 3.1.11.6., 3.2.1.4. and 3.2.1.5.• a crawl space shall be considered as a basement if it is a) more than 1.8 m high between the lowest part of the floor assembly and the ground or other surface below, b) used for any occupancy, c) used for the passage of flue pipes, or d) used as a plenum in combustible construction." Sentence 9.5.3.1.(1) and Table 9.5.3.1. indicates the minimum headroom for an unfinished basement including the laundry area therein must be 2m high. Sentence 9.9.3.4.(2) requires a minimum 2m headroom in storage garages. This implies that usable spaces with a height 2m or more are typically considered spaces that can be used and occupied for purposes not permitted for crawl spaces. Unoccupied spaces with a ceiling height in the range of 1.8m to 2m are considered concealed or void spaces but with inadequate headroom to satisfy Sentence 9.5.3.1.(1) and Table 9.5.3.1. Such concealed or inaccessible spaces are not typically considered crawl spaces, are not to be used for any use and occupancy (including storage), and must also comply with the fire resistance rating requirements of Article 9.10.8.1. for floor assemblies. However, there may be some full height spaces exceeding 2m, that could still be considered as 0 crawl spaces because the access or ground is difficult enough that they still are not usable as occupied basements or usable spaces. In more extreme cases involving steep sloping sites, there could be cases where a crawl space or concealed space exceeds typical maximum crawl space ceiling heights. These are special crawl space or concealed space situations not envisaged by the Building Code. Notwithstanding being probably the most significant variable, height is not necessarily the sole determining criterion for crawl space. Ease of access, levelness of floor or terrain, ground seal, whether heated/ conditioned or not, or general usability, etc, are other considerations. Zoning and Development Bylaws may have different criteria affecting crawl spaces. Download
2018 18-0007 Fire Blocking within Rain Screen Air Cavity of Wall Assemblies 26/03/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC FIie No: 18-0007 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire blocking within rain screen air cavity of wall assemblies Keywords: Rain screen air cavity, fire blocking Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.11.2.; 9.10.16.2. Question: 1. Should the requirement for fire blocks in wall assemblies include the rainscreen air cavity? Interpretation: 1. No. The rainscreen air cavity which is restricted to max. 25mm wide space, is excluded from the fire blocking requirement by Clauses 3.1.11.2.(2)(d) and 9.10.16.2.(2)(a). Note that this requirement stipulates that the wall is insulated and has only one concealed space. It is a good practice to provide through wall horizontal flashing on every floor level that at the same time does provide a break in the vertical cavity and allows for shrinkage and deflection movements at the wall/floor interface. Download
2018 18-0008 Application of Requirements of CSA 8651 and BCBC 3.8.8 26/06/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0008 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Application of Requirements of CSA 8651 and BCBC 3.8.3 Keywords: Accessible Design Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.3.1, Table 3.8.3.1 Question: Can the accessible design provisions as listed in Table 3.8.3.1 be applied on a line by line basis for the Building Code references in the Table? Interpretation: Yes. Sentence 3.8.3.1.(1) requires buildings or parts thereof that are required to be accessible to be designed in accordance with Subsection 3.8.3, or with the provisions of CSA B651 "Accessible Design for the Built Environment" listed in Table 3.8.3.1, in their entirety. Table 3.8.3.1 references all Building Code Articles from 3.8.3.2 through 3.8.3.21, and the corresponding sections of CSA 8651. The reference in 3.8.3.1.(1) to "the provisions of CSA 8651. listed in Table 3.8.3.1, in their entirety" is intended to refer to each provision individually and not to all of the provisions collectively. For example, ramp design could conform to all of the applicable requirements in sections 5.3 and 5.5 of CSA 8651 for the entire building, while the other accessible design provisions comply with the applicable Articles of Subsection 3.8.3 of the Building Code. It is not intended that some ramps could be designed to comply with CSA 8651 while other ramps in the same building would b designed to comply with Article 3.8.3.5 in the Building Code. Table 3.8.3.1 originated in the National Building Code (NBC). This interpretation has been confirmed with the BC Building & Safety Standards Branch, based on information from the National Research Council - Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, publishers of the NBC. Download
2018 18-0009 Construction Type in a 3.2.1.2 Storage Garage 26/11/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0009 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: November 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Construction Type in a 3.2.1.2. Storage Garage Keywords: Storage garage, separate building, combustible, noncombustible Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.4., 3.1.5., 3.2.1.2., 3.2.1.4., 3.2.2.15. Question: 1. If a basement storage garage is considered as a separate building per Article 3.2.1.2., and all the buildings above the storage garage are permitted to be combustible construction, must the entire storage garage be constructed as a noncombustible building per Subsection 3.1.5.? 2. Is exposed combustible piping permitted within such an underground storage garage? Interpretation: 1. No (with qualifications) Article 3.2.1.2. only requires the basement storage garage to have noncombustible construction for the following components: a. Floor assemblies above the basement storage garage (i.e. the Level 1 floor slab) b. Roof assemblies above the basement storage garage (i.e. the Level 1 roof deck slab) c. The perimeter exterior walls of the basement storage garage that are located above the adjoining finished ground level. d. Loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting the Level 1 noncombustible floor and roof assemblies as described in (a) & (b), or a noncombustible wall assembly as described in (c). All other components that form part of this basement storage garage could be designed to Subsection 3.1.4. using combustible construction. Note that Article 3.2.1.4. only applies to the floor assembly immediately above a basement (i.e. the Level 1 floor assembly). It does not regulate floor assemblies in multi-level basements below the Level 1 floor assembly. Since Article 3.2.1.2. is a more restrictive requirement than Article 3.2.1.4., Article 3.2.1.2. would govern the design of the floor assembly immediately above a basement using noncombustible construction constructed as a fire separation with a 2 hour fire resistance rating for the Level 1 floor assembly. Note that Article 3.2.2.15. does not have any requirements for the use of noncombustible construction for storeys below ground, but if there is more than 1 storey below the adjoining finished ground level, the floor assemblies would require a 2 hour FRR for basement storage garages. Sentence 3.2.2.15.(1) only applies to a building that is constructed entirely below adjoining finished ground level and is only one 1 storey below that ground level. For this condition, the construction requirements are determined by Articles 3.2.2.20. to 3.2.2.90. for a basement below a 1 storey building having the same occupancy and building area. Sente nce 3.2.2.15.(1) would not apply to buildings designed to Article 3.2.1.2. because there would be no buildings above the building that is entirely below adjoining finished ground level. Sentence 3.2.2.15.(2) applies to any portion of a building that is constructed entirely below adjoining finished ground level and is more than 1 storey below that ground level. Sentence 3.2.2.15.(2) is silent with respect to the use of noncombustible construction and there is no cross reference to apply the construction requirements of Articles 3.2.2.20. to 3.2.2.90. Yes Since only certain components of the storage garage are "required" to be noncombustible as described in Answer #1, the other components are permitted to be combustible. The restrictions for the use of combustible piping materials in Article 3.1.5.19. would not apply to this particular storage garage. Note that there are restrictions on transitioning from combustible piping in the below grade storage garage to noncombustible plumbing risers in the above grade storeys. Refer to previous BCIC Interpretations #98-0139 (revised June 21, 2011), #06-0070 and #12-0004. The BC Building Code Interpretation Committee will send a code change request to NRC to amend Sentence 3.2.2.15.(2) to require noncombustible construction and minimum construction requirements for below grade floor assemblies , bearing walls and columns. Download
2018 18-0010 Remoteness of Exit for a Single Office Suite per Floor 17/09/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0010 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Remoteness of exit for a single office suite per floor Keywords: exit, public corridor, suite, remoteness Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.2.3.(1) , (2) and (3), 1.4.1.2. Public corridor Question: Can a single office suite which extends across the entire floor plate and which is served by a corridor similar to a public corridor as described by Clause 3.4.2.3.(1)(a) be served by 2 exits that are remote from one another by not more than 9m? Interpretation: No. Public corridor is defined as a corridor that provides access to exit from more than one suite. A corridor that serves a single suite is not considered to be a public corridor. The 2 exits that serve a single office suite that extends across the entire floor plate must be remote from one another by minimum of ½ the maximum diagonal distance of the floor area, but not less than 9 m, as per Clause 3.4.2.3.(1)(b). Sentence 3.4.2.3.(2) waives the requirements of Sentence 3.4.2.3.(1) if the floor area is divided so that not more than 1/3 of the floor area is on one side of a fire separation wall and it is necessary to pass through this fire separation wall to travel from one exit to the other. It should be noted that the 9 m exit remoteness for public corridors serving multiple office suites may not be appropriate, particularly in sprinklered buildings, because Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) waives the requirement for a fire separation between an office suite and a public corridor if the conditions of Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) are met. The BCIC has sent NRC a request for a code change to address this anomaly. Some AHJ's may consider an alternative solution report to apply the 9 m exit remoteness between exits if the suite occupies an entire floor but includes a fire-rated corridor, similar to a public corridor, between the suite and the exit stairs. Download
2018 18-0012 Wet Venting of Fixtures with Trap Arms or Fixture Drains Larger than 2" 16/04/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0012 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: April 16, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Wet Venting of Fixtures With Larger than 2" Keywords: Wet Vent, Trap Arms, Fixture Building Code Reference(s): 2.5.2.1.(1)(e), 2.5.8.1.(2) Question: Can fixtures with traps and trap arms 3" in size (e.g. - floor sink, funnel floor drain) be wet vented by another fixture in light of Clause 2.5.2.1.(1)(e)? Interpretation: Yes. Clause 2.5.2.1.(1)(e) states that "trap arms and fixture drains connected to the wet vent do not exceed 2 inches in size, except for connections from emergency floor drains ". The intent of this being that where a wet vent is already established, i.e., the wet vent is serving other fixtures and the connection of the fixture with a trap arm larger than 2" is upstream of these fixtures. The above Clause restricts the connection of trap arms and fixture drains greater than 2" (other than emergency floor drains) to a wet vent. The 3" trap arm/fixture drain does not tie into a wet vent; the pipe serving the other fixture only becomes a wet vent once this connection is made since the trap serving the floor sink is required to be protected by a vent. In effect, the 3" trap arm/fixture drain does not connect to a wet vent, but rather, the wet vent connects to the trap arm/fixture drain and Clause 2.5.2.1.(1)(e) does not apply (see diagrams on page 2). Lending more support to this interpretation is the fact that, in accordance with Sentence 2.5.8.1.(2), the hydraulic load of this 3" floor sink is not taken into consideration when determining the hydraulic load on the wet vent. It should be pointed out that a wet vent is a preferable installation to an individual dry vent as the action of the fixture draining into the soil or waste pipe will result in keeping the vent for the floor sink clear, sometimes referred to as "scouring". Download
2018 18-0014 Public Washroom Lavatory Faucet Automatic Shut-off Devices 17/09/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0014 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Public Washroom Lavatory Faucet Automatic Shut-off Devices Keywords: Lavatory Faucet, Shut-offs, Automatic Shut-off Device Building Code Reference(s): BCPC - 2.2.10.6.(5) & BCBC 3.7.2.3.(4)(a)&(b) Question: Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5) of the BCPC requires each lavatory in a public washroom to be equipped with a device capable of automatically shutting off the flow of water when the device is not in use. Clause 3.7.2.3.(4)(b) in the BCBC permits manually controlled lavatory faucets. Are these two requirements in conflict with one another? Interpretation: No. Part 3 buildings that contain private bathrooms, such as hotels and condominiums, would not be subject to the requirements of Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5). The lavatory faucet in these bathrooms could be manually operated but would need to meet the accessibility requirements of 3.8.3.8.(1)(c). In any washroom deemed to be a public washroom, regardless of whether it is a Part 9 or Part 3 building, the lavatory faucet would be required to be equipped with an automatic shut-off device to satisfy the requirement of Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5). The Committee recognizes the fact that the word "public" in Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5) is not italicized and therefore is not a defined term. It would be reasonable to use the defined terms of "private use" and "public use" contained in the BCPC to determine which requirements of either Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5) and/ or Clause 3.7.2.3.(4)(b) are applicable. In addition, Clause 3.7.2.3.(4)(a) permits automatic operation of a lavatory faucet in a Part 3 building (both on and off) which would also comply with the requirement of Sentence 2.2.10.6.(5). Download
2018 18-0015 Stair Run Construction Tolerances for Public Stairs 26/03/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0015 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Stair run construction tolerances for public stairs Keywords: Stair, run, construction tolerances, public stairs Building Code Reference(s): Div A-1.5.1.2.(1), Div B-3.4.6.8.(1), 3.4.6.8.(4) Question: Can public stairs have a run that varies between 275 mm to 285 mm within a single flight? Interpretation: No Sentence 3.4.6.8.(1) requires that public stairs must have a run of not less than 280 mm between successive steps. There are no exceptions within this sentence, so the 280 mm is the absolute minimum run that is permitted. Sentence 3.4.6.8.(4) permits construction tolerances for uniformity of stair runs of 5 mm between adjacent treads, and a maximum 10 mm between the deepest and shallowest treads in a single flight. This would mean that the dimension of runs within a flight could vary from 280 mm to 290 mm, provided that the variance between adjacent runs does not exceed 5mm. It should be noted that Article 6.4.6.1. of the CSA A23.1 reference standard for the design and construction of concrete stairs permits plus and minus construction tolerances for concrete stairs. As stated in Division A Sentence 1.5.1.2.(1), where there is a conflict between a reference standard and the building code, the building code governs. Therefore, the wording of Sentence 3.4.6.8.(1) of the BCBC supersedes this reference standard, so minus tolerances below 280 mm are not permitted. Download
2018 18-0016 Accessibility Clearances for Dwelling Unit Entrance Doors in Apartment Buildings 26/11/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC FIie No: 18-0016 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: November 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Accessibility clearances for dwelling unit entrance doors, Subject: in apartment buildings Keywords: Apartments, accessibility, dwelling unit entrance, door clearances, power operated doors Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.2.1.(1)(a), 3.8.2.1.(1)(b), 3.8.2.1.(2),3.8.2.12, 3.8 .3.6.(6), 3.8.3.6.(11), 3.8.5.3.(1)(a), 3.8.5.3.(3). Question: 1. For apartment buildings, Clause 3.8.2.1.(1)(b) sets out the scope of required accessible path of travel from the building entrance(s). Are the unit entrance doors (typically swinging into the unit) also required to meet the accessible clearance requirements of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) for the following: a) Standard dwelling units (not designed to be accessible or adaptable) b) Adaptable dwelling units c) Sleeping Rooms other than Hotels d) Hotel suites e) Dwelling units within apartment buildings, that are designed to be accessible 2. If a dwelling unit entrance door does require the clearances of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11), and these cannot be provided, is it acceptable to provide a power operated door? 3. If the answer to question 2. above is yes, must the power operated door comply with all the provisions of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(6)? Interpretation: 1.a) No. Clause 3.8.2.1.(1)(b) requires an accessible path of travel from accessible entrance(s) of the building throughout common areas, to parking areas, and passenger loading zones. Elevation changes for the common areas are also addressed in this Clause. However, the dwelling unit entrances themselves are not required to be designed for accessibility, unless the units are required by other regulations or standards to be accessible or adaptable. The dwelling unit entrance doors are private and are not considered to be part of the common areas of the apartment building. Therefore the door clearance requirements of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) are not applicable for standard dwelling unit entrance doors, unless such dwelling units are required by other regulations or standards to be accessible or adaptable. 1.b) Yes. Subclause 3.8.2.1.(1)(a)(ii) indicates that adaptable units are subject to Section 3.8. Clause 3.8.5.1.(1)(a) requires 1 storey adaptable units in apartment buildings to comply with Subsection 3.8.5. Clause 3.8.5.3.(1)(a) and Sentence 3.8.5.3.(3) indicate Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) applies to the path of travel into the adaptable units, including the adaptable unit entrance doors. 1.c) Yes, to 1 in every 40 units or part thereof. As indicated in Subclause 3.8.2.1.(1)(a)(i) and Sentence 3.8.2.12.(2), where sleeping rooms and bed spaces are provided in residential clubs, schools and colleges, dormitories, 1 in every 40 units or part thereof are required to be designed to Articles 3.8.2.12 and 3.8.3.22. Sentence 3.8.2.12.(2) indicates that such designated units are subject to Subsection 3.8.3. This means the door clearance requirements of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) are applicable for the 1 in every 40 units. An illustration of this is provided in Division B Notes to Part 3, A-3.8.3.22 . 1.d) Yes, to 1 in every 40 units or part thereof. Subclause 3.8.2.1.(1)(a)(i) and Sentence 3.8.2.12.(2) indicate that hotel suites (1 in every 40 or part thereof) are subject to Section 3.8. and Subsection 3.8.3. This means the door clearance requirements of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) are applicable for the 1 in 40 units. An illustration of this is provided in Division B Notes to Part 3, A-3.8.3.22. 1.e) Yes. Within apartment buildings, dwelling units that are designed to be accessible pursuant to other regulations or standards, are required to be designed to Articles 3.8.2.12 and 3.8.3.22. Sentence 3.8.2.12.(2) indicates that such units are subject to Subsection 3.8.3. This means the door clearance requirements of Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) are applicable. An illustration of this is provided in Division B Notes to Part 3, A-3.8.3.22. 2. Yes. Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) references Sentence 3.8.3.6.(6) (power operated doors) as an alternative to compliance with Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11). 3. Yes. This is an overly onerous requirement for dwelling unit entrance doors, however there are no stated exceptions to the various detail provisions if power operated doors are used as an alternative to compliance with Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11). Reference 5.2 of CSA 8651-12 "Accessible design for the built environment" can be used an alternative. This however, will not achieve a significantly different result, or substantially reduce the requirements. As required by Subclause 3.8.3.6.(6)(a)(iv)operating controls must be adjacent to and centred on either the-leAgth er the-width-of-a clear.floor-speee of- 1-350mm by-800mm. The location of the door opening controls can be located on the wall along the path of travel as one approaches the door, but as required by Subclause 3.8.3.6.(6)(a)(iii), must be not less than 600mm and not more than 1500mm from the door swing. The explanatory notes A-3.8.3.6.(6) and (7) indicate that where security is required; a key, card, or radio transmitter, meet the intent of the requirement for the power operator to be actuated by a pressure plate. Download
2018 18-0017 Highrise Measures with a 3.2.1.2 Basement Storage Garage 16/04/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC FIie No: 18-0017 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: April 16, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Highrise Measures with a 3.2.1.2. Basement Storage Subject: Garage Keywords: High building, basement storage garage Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.1.2., 3.2.6. Question: This project consists of a 40m noncombustible high building plus a 3 storey combustible Part 3 building over top of the basement storage garage that is designed as a separate building per Article 3.2.1.2. 1. Must the basement storage garage be designed as a high building per Subsection 3.2.6.? 2. Must the 3 storey Part 3 combustible building be designed as a high building per Subsection 3.2.6.? 3. Do the requirements of Article 3.2.6.3. for "ConnectedBuildings" apply between the basement storage garage and the 40m noncombustible high bui!9ing? 4. Do the requirements of Article 3.2.6.3. for "ConnectedBuildings" apply between the basement storage garage and the 3 storey Part 3 combustible building? 5. Does the 3 storey Part 3 combustible building require a highrise fire alarm system c/w central alarm control facility and voice communication? Interpretation: 1. Yes Article 3.2.1.2. permits a basement storage garage to be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2. and Sentences 3.2.5.12.(2) and (3). It does not permit the basement storage garage, or the buildings located above the storage garage to be treated as separate buildings for the purposes of Subsections 3.2.4. (fire alarms) or 3.2.6. (highrise measures). The basement storage garage must be designed to the highrise measures per Subsection 3.2.6. 2. Yes - see answer #1, which also applies to the 3 storey Part 3 combustible building. 3. No Since the basement storage garage cannot be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.6., the basement storage garage and the 40m noncombustible high building are treated as a single building. Therefore, the requirements of Article 3.2.6.3. do not apply. 4. No Since the basement storage garage cannot be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.6., the basement storage garage and the 3 storey Part 3 combustible building are treated as a single building. Therefore, the requirements of Article 3.2.6.3. do not apply. For the purposes of Subsection 3.2.6., the entire project is treated as a single building (any height, any area). 5. Yes Since the basement storage garage cannot be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.4. or 3.2.6., the 3 storey Part 3 building would require a highrise fire alarm system c/w central alarm control facility and voice communication. It should be noted that the 1992 BC Building Code included a "unique to BC" code change to Article 3.2.1.2. that permitted a basement storage garage to be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsections 3.2.2., 3.2.4. and 3.2.6. Many design professionals and AHJs think that this is the true intent of Article 3.2.1.2. and is more appropriate when there is a combination of high buildings and low buildings above a basement storage garage. Many AHJs are accepting alternative solution reports to justify not treating a 3 storey Part 3 low rise building as a high building with a highrise fire alarm system. Refer to Interpretation 18-0008 regarding Part 3 and Part 9 buildings above a 3.2.1.2. basement storage garage. Download
2018 18-0018 Determination of Grade for Buildings above a 3.2.1.2 Basement Storage Garage 25/06/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0018 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: June 25, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Determination of Grade for Buildings above a 3.2.1.2. Subject: Basement Storage Garage Keywords: Grade, basement storage garage, superstructures Building Code Reference(s): Question: -3.2.-1.2. For buildings that are located above a basement storage garage per Article 3.2.1.2., is the grade of each building above the basement storage garage determined separately based on the definition of "grade"? Interpretation: Yes Article 3.2.1.2. permits a basement storage garage to be treated as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2. and Sentences 3.2.5.12.(2) and (3). Although not specifically stated in Article 3.2.1.2., this means that buildings that are located above the basement storage garage can also be treated as separate buildings for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2. and Sentences 3.2.5.12.(2) and (3). Subsection 3.2.2. includes the following aspects: • Major occupancy classification • Building height • Building area • Type of construction • Sprinklers or no sprinklers • Fire separations and fire resistance rating of floor assemblies • Fire resistance ratings of roof assemblies. • Fire resistance ratings of bearing walls, columns and arches Sentences 3.2.5.12.(2) and (3) permit the use of NFPA 13R or NFPA 130 for the superstructure buildings if the size and occupancy meet the conditions of their use. Since "building height'' is one of the aspects included in Subsection 3.2.2., the calculation of building height can be calculated separately for each building that is located above a basement storage garage that is designed to Article 3.2.1.2. Building height for each building is calculated using grade. Grade is defined in Article 1.4.1.2. as follows: Grade means the lowest of the average levels of finished ground adjoining each exterior wall of a building, except that localized depressions need not be considered in the determination of average levels of finished ground. (See First storey and Note A-1.4.1.2.(1).) Since Article 3.2.1.2. permits the building height to be determined separately for each building, grade can also be determined separately for each building as the lowest of the average level of finished ground adjoining each exterior wan of each building. Refer to the drawings below which illustrates some examples for calculating grade for each building Download
2018 18-0019 Motorized Fire/Smoke Dampers in High Residential Buildings 26/11/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0019 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: November 26,_2_019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 . t· Motorized fire/smoke dampers in high residential Subject: Motorized fire/smoke dampers in high residential buildings Keywords: Fire dampers, smoke dampers, high residential buildings Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.8.7.(1), 3.1.8.7.(2)(a), 3.1.8.9.(2)(a)(iii), 3.2.6.2.(6), 3.2.7.9.(1)(c), Question: Are combination smoke/fire motorized dampers required at the air-transfer openings on each floor of a high residential building for the public corridor air supply ducts? Interpretation: No (with conditions) Sentence 3.1.8.7.(1) requires a fire damper at air-transfer openings that penetrate an assembly required to be a fire separation. The vertical duct shaft that supplies air to a public corridor to separate floor areas is required to be a fire separation, so non-motorized fusible link fire dampers at the air-transfer openings on each floor level of a high building would satisfy this requirement. Except as permitted by Article 3.1.8.9., Sentence 3.1.8.7.(2)(a) requires a smoke damper at air­ transfer openings that penetrate an assembly required to be a fire separation between a vertical duct shaft and a public corridor. Sub-clause 3.1.8.9.(2)(a)(iii) waives the requirement for a smoke damper for ducts or air­ transfer openings that form part of a smoke control system. The ducts must be noncombustible branch ducts having a melting point above 760° C. Except as required by Article 3.2.4.12., Sentence 3.2.6.2.(6) requires that air-handling systems used to provide make up air to public corridors serving residential suites shall not shut down automatically upon activation of the fire alarm system so as to maintain corridor pressurization. Article 3.2.4.12. requires the corridor make up air fan that serves more than 1 storey to shut down if a duct-type smoke detector within the supply duct is activated. Since Sentence 3.2.6.2.(6) requires that air-handling systems used to provide make up air to public corridors serving residential suites remain running during a fire alarm, this air-handling system could be considered to be part of a smoke control system, provided that it meets the design requirements for smoke control systems including: • The fans must be provided with an emergency power supply from an emergency generator per 3.2.7.9.(1)(c) which is capable of operating under full load for not less than 2 hours, • The vertical corridor supply duct must be enclosed in a vertical service space which is constructed as a fire separation with a 2 hour fire resistance rating similar to a smoke shaft as described in Notes to Part 3 - A-3.2.6.6.(1) - (3)(a), and • The corridor supply fan must always remain running to maintain a positive pressure between the vertical duct shaft and the corridor. • A manual control switch for the corridor supply fan is provided at the central alarm control facility. Therefore, as per Sub-clause 3.1.8.9.(2)(a)(iii), motorized smoke dampers are not required at air-transfer openings between corridor supply duct shaft and a public corridor, provided the building is a high building, the corridor serves residential suites and the ducts are noncombustible having a melting point above 760° C. These air-transfer openings are required to be protected with non-motorized fusible link fire dampers per Sentence 3.1.8.7.(1) and Article 3.1.8.10. A duct-type smoke detector is also required within the duct per Article 3.2.4.12. The Intent Statement for Sentence 3.1.8.9.(2) Is as follows: To exempt certain branch ducts from the application of Sentence 3.1.8.7.(2), which would otherwise require smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers, on the basis that the lack of smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers in this case will not lead to a significant spread of smoke. The Intent Statement for Sentence 3.2.6.2.(6) is as follows: To limit the probability that smoke from a fire in a suite will spread into the public corridor, which could lead to delays or ineffectiveness in emergency response operations, which could lead to the spread of fire beyond its point of origin and delay evacuation or impede moving to a safe place, which could lead to harm to persons. It should be noted that motorized smoke dampers are required in low rise buildings at air-transfer openings..,2n each floor for the public corridor air supply ducts Download
2018 18-0020 Building Service Penetrations at Contiguous Stairs 26/06/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0020 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 6 Interpretation Date: June 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject Building Service Penetrations at Contiguous Stairs Keywords: Contiguous, stairs, service penetrations Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.4.4.(2) & (3), A-3.2.6.2.(2) Question: This project includes a below grade stair that discharges directly outside at Level 1. There is an above grade stair where its stair enclosure is directly above the below grade stair. The above grade stair also discharges directly outside at Level 1 via a shared exit corridor. Refer to Drawing #3 & #4 on Pages 5 & 6. 1. Does the ceiling assembly of the below grade stair at Level 1, which also acts as the floor assembly of the above grade stair create a "contiguous stair" between the above and below grade stairs? 2. Can a standpipe riser penetrate the ceiling assembly of the below grade stair at Level 1, which also acts as the floor assembly of the above grade stair? 1. No Although the term "contiguous stair" is not a defined term in the building code, it is generally considered to be either 2 scissor stairs or 2 side by side stairs with a common wall for the full height of the stair enclosures as illustrated on Pages 3 & 4. Also, 2 contiguous stairs generally serve the same floor area, so penetrations between the 2 exit stairs would compromise both means of egress from a floor area. 2. Yes Sentence 3.4.4.4.(2) requires that exits within scissor stairs and other contiguous stairs be separated from each other with a smoke-tight fire separation with a fire resistance rating not less than that required for the floor assembly through which they pass. Sentence 3.4.4.4.(3) prohibits penetrations through floor or wall assemblies that separate scissor stairs and other contiguous stairs such as doorways, ductwork or piping. Since the above and below grade stairs are not considered to be "contiguous stairs", the requirements of Sentence 3.4.4.4.(3) do not apply. Since the above grade stair in this example serves a different floor area from the below grade stair, any failure of the firestop system at the penetration through the shared floor/ceiling assembly would not compromise every exit from the floor area. · Notes to Part 3 - A-3.2.6.2.(2) clearly permits a below grade stair and an above grade stair to discharge through a common exit corridor to the exterior. As stated in A-3.2.6.2.(2) - 2a, the below grade stair cannot pass though the floor above the lowest exit storey. Obviously, the doors from the 2 stairs to this common exit corridor would compromise the integrity of the fire/smoke separation between the 2 exit stairs much more significantly than a standpipe riser penetration. This supports the interpretation that superimposed above and below grade stairs. are not intended to be treated as contiguous stairs for the purposes of Article 3.4.4.4. Refer to the following drawings: Drawing #1 - section of typical scissor stair which is one type of contiguous stair. Pipe penetrations are not permitted through the stair floor slabs that separate 2 separate exit stairs unless the vertical pipe riser is located with a fire rated shaft enclosure with a fire resistance rating equal to the exit stair wall fire resistance rating. Some AHJs may also accept an alternative solution utilizing an enhanced firestop system at the pipe penetration for standpipe risers. Drawing #2 - plan of back to back set of stairs which is a second type of contiguous stair. Pipe penetrations are not permitted through the common shared wall that separates the 2 adjacent exit stairs. Some AHJs may accept an alternative solution utilizing an enhanced firestop system at the pipe penetration through this shared wall for standpipe risers. Drawing #3 - ·plan of below grade exit stair beneath an above grade exit stair with a shared exit corridor serving both exit stairs. This configuration is not considered to be contiguous stairs for the purposes of Article 3.4.4.4. Drawing #4 - section of below grade exit stair beneath an above grade exit stair. This configuration is not considered to be contiguous stairs for the purposes of Article 3.4.4.4. Download
2018 18-0021 Firestopping at Noncombustible Outlet Boxes 26/06/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0021 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: June 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Firestopping at Noncombustible Outlet Boxes Keywords: Firestopping Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.9.4.(1) and (2) Question: 1. Is the reference in Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) to "a membrane forming part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating" intended to apply only to membranes of vertical fire separations? 2. Does the statement in Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) that "noncombustible outlet boxes are permitted to be waived" mean that the requirement for firestopping is waived if the outlet box installation meets the specified criteria. Interpretation: 1. No. Sentence 3.1.9.4.(1) requires FT firestopping at outlet boxes that penetrate the membrane of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating. Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) states that "... noncombustible outlet boxes that penetrate a vertical fire separation or a membrane forming part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating are permitted to be waived... " provided the installation meets the criteria stated in that Sentence. The waiver for noncombustible outlet boxes in fire separations is limited to vertical fire separations. However, the reference to membranes is not clear whether the waiver applies to membranes in any fire separations or only in vertical fire separations. Sentences 3.1.9.4.(1) and (2) contain new requirements that were adopted from the National Building Code 2015. Prior to adoption, these changes were circulated for public review and comment in fall 2013. In those proposed changes, the rationale for the new Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) includes the statement "A new Sentence for noncombustible electrical outlet boxes as per International Building Code is introduced." This is assumed to refer to the edition of the IBC that was current at the time, which was the 2012 edition. Sections 714.3.2 and 714.4.1.2 of the 2012 IBC specify protection of membrane penetrations of walls or horizontal assemblies, respectively, that are required to have a fire-resistance rating. The requirements to allow membrane penetrations by steel electrical outlet boxes are the same for membranes of both walls and horizontal assemblies, and are the same as adopted in Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) of the NBC 2015 except that the NBC allows a larger area for an individual outlet box. Since the NBC code change proposal references the IBC, and the IBC regulates penetrations of vertical and horizontal membranes in the same manner, it is interpreted that the waiver stated in Sentence 3.1.9.4 .(2) applies to membranes in both vertical and horizontal fire separations. 2. Yes. Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) states that noncombustible outlet boxes are permitted to be waived. However, it is not clear whether this waiver refers to the firestopping, or only to the FT rating of the firestopping. The NBC code change proposal referenced in the response to question 1 contains the following additional statement referring to Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2): N it establishes boundaries for the size of the openings permitted in a fire separation without the need for a fire stop". Also, there has been a revision to the NBC 2015 which is proposed to be adopted as a revision in the BCBC 2018. This revision clarifies the intent of Sentence 3.1.9.4.(2) by deleting the phrase "are permitted to be waived" and replacing it with "need not conform to Sentence (1)". Based on the code change rationale and on the NBC revision, a noncombustible outlet box that complies with the criteria of Sentence 3.1.9.4 .(2) does not require firestopping of any kind. Note that the requirement of Sentence 3.1.9.4.(3) for the protection between outlet boxes on opposite sides of a vertical fire separation, or the minimum distance between these outlet boxes, must also be satisfied. Download
2018 18-0022 Occupancy Classification of a Real Estate Presentation/Sales Centre 21/05/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0022 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 21, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Occupancy Classification of a Real Estate Subject: Presentation/Sales Centre Keywords: Occupancy, business and personal service Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.2.1.(1 ), Table 3.1.2.1., Note A-3.1.2 .1.(1 ) Question: 1. What is the occupancy classification for a real estate presentation/sales centre? Interpretation: Business and Personal Service, Group D Table 3.1.2.1. classified business and personal services occupancies as Group D occupancy. A real estate presentation/sales centre usually provides the developer with a venue to show potential buyers the eventual product with scaled architectural models, pictures, floor plans, finishing material display and/or suite mockup. Usually there are a few workstations/offices to complete the business transaction. The business operation, occupant load and combustible content are similar to offices. It is concluded that a real estate presentation/sales centre is classified as business and personal services, Group D occupancy. Download
2018 18-0023 Part 3 and Part 9 Buildings above Basement Storage Garages 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0023 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Question: 1. If a project has multiple Part 9 buildings above a basement storage garage and the storage garage exceeds 1 storey or exceeds 600 sq.m. in area, can the storage garage be considered a separate building in accordance with Article 9.10.4.3.? 2. If a project has both Part 9 buildings and Part 3 buildings above a basement storage garage, can the basement storage garage be considered a separate building in accordance with Article 3.2.1.2.? Interpretation: 1. Yes Sentence 9.10.1.3.(3) requiresa basement that is more than 1 storey, or more than 600 sq.m. in area to be designed to Part 3. Article 9.10.4.3. permits a basement storage garage to be considered as a separate building when all the buildings above it are Part 9 buildings. So the basement storage garage itself must be designed to Part 3, but the buildings above and the 2 hour fire rated slab above the storage garage can be designed to Part 9 based on Article 9.10.4.3. 2. Yes (with conditions) If some of the buildings above a basement storage garage are Part 3 buildings, the storage garage must be designed to Part 3. If the basement storage garage is considered as a separate building for the purposes of Subsection 3.2.2., it must be designed to Article 3.2.1.2. Sentence 3.1.10.3.(1) permits a firewall to terminate on top of a concrete slab which is constructed as a fire separation with a 2 hour fire resistance rating in accordance with Article 3.2.1.2. So if the Part 9 building is separated from the Part 3 building with a firewall, and if there are no direct connections between the Part 9 building and the basement storage garage, the Part 9 buildings can be designed to Part 9 for all aspects (i.e. not simply for construction requirements per Subsection 3.2.2.). This similar concept could also be used if the Part 9 and Part 3 buildings are spatially separated in accordance with Subsection 3.2.3. rather than separated with a firewall. If there are direct connections between the Part 9 building and the basement storage garage, there are many other fire and life safety provisions to consider, particularly if the Part 3 building is a high building per Subsection 3.2.6. This condition would likely require an alternative solution which addresses all the fire and life safety aspects. It should be noted that if the firewall that terminates on top of a concrete slab which is constructed as a fire separation in accordance with Article 3.2.1.2. is required to have a 4 hour fire resistance rating per Sentence 3.1.10.2.(1), then the floor assembly , roof assembly, bearing walls and columns that support this firewall also requires a 4 hour fire resistance rating. Refer also to a previous Interpretation 98-0136 as attached. Download
2018 18-0024 Smoke Venting for Basement Storage Garage Levels of a High Building 17/12/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0024 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: December 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Smoke venting for basement storage garage levels of a high building Keywords: Smoke venting, high building, basement, storage garage Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.6.6.(1), Note A-3.2.6.6.(1), 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i), Note A-3.2.6.7.(2), 3.2.7.9(.1)(d) Question: 1. Basement storage garage levels below a high building are typically interconnected by vehicle ramps as permitted by Sentence 3.2.8.2.(2). Is smoke venting in the basement storage garage of a high building required to be controlled on a floor by floor basis? 2. Is the smoke venting in the basement storage garage of a high building required to be actuated automatically? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Sentence 3.2.6.6.(1) requires means of smoke venting of each floor area to the outdoors to be provided by windows, wall panels, smoke shafts, or the building exhaust system - See Notes to Part 3, A-3.2.6.6.(1). Notes to Part 3, A-3.2.6.6.(9) indicates that the building air handling system may be used for smoke venting, provided the system can maintain an exhaust to the outdoors at the rate of 6 air changes per hour from any floor area, and emergency power is provided to the exhaust fans per Clause 3.2.7.9.(1)(d). 2. No. Assuming there is no continuously staffed auxiliary equipment control centre, Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i) requires that a high building central alarm and control facility provide means as appropriate to actuate auxiliary equipment identified in Article 3.2.6.6 (venting to aid in firefighting). This does not specify manual or automatic actuation. Manual controls should be provided so that the responding fire department are able to control the smoke venting system based on their specific assessment of conditions and firefighting operations. However, smoke control systems that are also actuated automatically are deemed to meet the intent of Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i). Notes to Part 3, A-3.2.6.7.(2) clarifies that "depending on the method of mechanical venting and air control that is selected for the building, additional controls may be required at the central alarm and control facility. These additional controls include those with a capability of opening closures to vents in shafts, stopping air-handling systems, and initiating mechanical air supply to stair shafts." Consultation with the local fire department is advisable on the smoke venting system design and controls. Refer also to past BC Building Code interpretation 12-0031 on controls for auxiliary equipment in a high building. Download
2018 18-0025 Required Relief Valves for Indirect Service Water Heaters 15/10/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0025 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: October 15, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Required Relief Valves for Indirect Service Water Heaters Keywords: Relief Valves, Indirect Service Water Heaters, Storage Type Service Water Heaters Building Code Reference(s): 2.6.1.7.(4). Question: What relief valves are required as safety devices for an indirect service water heater? Interpretation: An indirect service water heater derives its heat from a heating medium such as warm air, steam or hot water. It differs in this way from a storage-type service water heater which has the fuel (commonly either gas or electric), as an integral part of the appliance. Sentence 2.6. i .7.(4) requires an indirect service water heater to be equipped with a pressure-relief valve and any storage tank that forms part of the system to be equipped with a temperature-relief valve. It is quite common to have the heat exchanger and storage tank combined and therefore both of the above safety devices would be required. This situation is similar to the storage-type service water heater other that there is no fuel supplied directly to the appliance. Download
2018 18-0026 Schedule B - Item 2.1 - Seismic Restraint 15/10/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0026 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: October 15, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Schedule B - Item 2.1 - Seismic Restraint Keywords: Schedule B, structural components, seismic restraint Building Code Reference(s): QuestIon: 3.2.1.2., 9.10.4.3. Item 2.1 of Schedule B states "Structural capacity of structural components of the building, including anchorage and seismic restraint". Section 15 of the Guide to the Letters of Assurance in the BC Building Code 2006 dated December 2010, describes the approach for fulfilling the requirements for anchorage and seismic restraint for "non-structural elements in buildings, including architectural, mechanical, plumbing, fire suppression and electrical components" in Items 1.6, 3.6, 4.7, 5.9 and 6.5 of Schedule B. The Guide does not provide any guidance on Item 2.1 of Schedule B. Is Item 2.1 of Schedule B intended to apply to non-structural elements? Interpretation: No The structural engineer of record is responsible for the structural components as shown on their structural drawings and supporting documents that are submitted to the AHJ for a building permit. The anchorage and seismic restraint in Item 2.1 of Schedule B applies only to structural elements that are shown on their structural drawings and supporting documents. Download
2018 18-0027 Height Factor Ax in Table 4.1.8.18. 15/10/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0027 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 15, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Height Factor Ax in Table 4.1.8.18. Keywords: Height factor, Ax Building Code Reference(s): Question: 4.1.8.2.(1), Table 4.1.8.18. When a water storage tank is fastened directly to the slab on grade at ground level, is the Height Factor Ax = 1.0? 2. Is the maximum possible value for Ax = 3.0? 1. Yes Ax is defined in Sentence 4.1.8.2.(1) as the response amplification factor to account for type of attachment of mechanical/electrical equipment as defined in Sentence 4.1.8.18.(1). hx is defined in Sentence 4.1.8.2.(1) as the height above the base to level X, where the base of the structure is the level at which horizontal motions are considered to be imparted to the structure. Level i is defined as any level in the building, i = 1.0 for for first level above the base Level n is defined as the level that is uppermost in the main portion of the structure li.e. the main roof level). Level xis defined as the level that is under design consideration. Since the water storage tank is fastened directly to the slab on grade, the hx factor would = 0. Therefore Ax= 1 + 2 x (hx / hn) = 1 + 2 x (0 / hn) = 1.0 2. No If the water storage tank were located on the roof at a height of 30m above the ground, the hx / hn factor would= 1.0 Therefore Ax= 1 + 2 x (hx / hn) = 1 + 2 x (30 / 30) = 3.0 If the water storage tank were located in a service room above the roof level at a height of 33m above the ground, the hx / hn factor would = 33/30 = 1.1 Therefore Ax = 1 + 2 x (hx / hn) = 1 + 2 x (33 / 30) = 3.2 Download
2018 18-0028 Structural Fire Protection 26/11/2018 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0028 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: November 26, 2018 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Structural Fire Protection Keywords: Fire protection, steel members, wholly or partly Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.2.3.(1)(g) Question: If the loadbearing steel columns supporting a fire-rated assembly are located entirely within the un­ rated exterior wall, are they required to be fire-protected? Interpretation: Yes The intent of 3.2.2.3 is ''to exempt from the application of 3.2.2.1., which relates to fire protection, certain non-combustible building elements that are not critical to the stability of the building's structural framework." 3.2.2.3.(1)(g) exempts fire protection of loadbearing steel members that are wholly or partly outside a building face in a building not more than 4 storeys in building height and classified as Group A, 8, C, D or F, Division 3 major occupancy provided the members are not less than 1 m away from any unprotected opening in an exterior wall or shielded from heat radiation in the event of fire within the building by construction that will provide the same degree of protection that would be necessary if the member was located inside the building. An exterior wall that have no fire-resistance rating is considered as an unprotected opening. If the steel members are entirely within the exterior wall or less than 1 m. away from the exterior wall they are still required to have the fire-resistance rating as per 3.2.2. Download
2018 18-0030 Fire Protection of Distribution Panels and Conductors for Emergency Lighting 17/12/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0030 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: December 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Fire Protection of Distribution Panels and Conductors Subject: for Emergency Lighting Keywords: Emergency Lighting, Emergency Conductors Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.7.10 Question: Do the requirements for protection of emergency lighting distribution panels and conductors as stated in Sentences 3.2.7.10.(10) and (11) apply only in high buildings? Interpretation: Yes. Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1) states that electrical and emergency conductors referred to in Clauses (a) to (c) shall conform to the requirements stated in Sentences (2) to (11). In those Clauses, emergency lighting is referenced only in Clause (a), which applies only to conductors located within buildings identified in Article 3.2.6.1, which are high buildings. Clauses (b) and (c) may apply to other buildings (non-high buildings), but they refer only to conductors for fire pumps and certain mechanical systems, not for emergency lighting. Sentence 3.2.7.10.(10) requires a 1 h fire separation for a service room containing a distribution panel that serves emergency lighting units on other storeys. Sentence 3.2.7.10.(11) requires fire protection in accordance with Sentence 3.2.7.10.(2) for conductors that serve emergency lighting units located on other storeys. Both of these Sentences are applicable as referenced in Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1), which is interpreted to mean that they are applicable only in high buildings. Download
2018 18-0031 Ventilation for Bedrooms in Dwelling Units 21/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0031 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: January 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Ventilation for Bedrooms in Dwelling Units Keywords: Passive, air vents, bedrooms Building Code Reference(s): 9.5.1.2.; Table 9.32.2.2.; 9.32.3.4.(6) Question: This project is a Part 9 sprinklered multi-family residential building with dwelling units that contain bedrooms that have no exterior windows. The dwelling units meet the requirements of Clause 9.32.3.4.(6)(a) to permit the use of natural ventilation. The bedroom has a 0.5 sq.m. permanent opening to the living room, and the living room is provided with passive vents to the outdoors for natural ventilation as described in Sentence 9.32.3.4.(6). Is it acceptable to provide natural ventilation to the bedroom using the passive vents located in the living room? Interpretation: No Subclause 9.32.3.4.(6)(b)(i) clearly states that dedicated inlets to supply air passively from the outdoors must be located in each bedroom and at least one common area. It is not acceptable to indirectly supply the outdoor air to the bedroom from the living room' s passive vents via the opening between the living room and the bedroom. Note that Table 9.32.2.2. does permit bedrooms that are part of a "combinationroom" to be provided with natural ventilation to the "combination room". These dwelling units do not meet the criteria for "combinationrooms" as described in Article 9.5.1.2. since the opening between the bedroom and the living room is less than 3 sq.m. and less than 40% of the area of the wall separating the bedroom from the living room. Therefore, indirect natural venting of the bedrooms is not permitted. Download
2018 18-0032 Guards for Exterior Stairs Adjacent to Windows in a Dwelling Unit 21/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0032 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Guards for Exterior Stairs Adjacent to Windows in a Dwelling Unit Keywords: Guard, height Building Code Reference(s): 9.8.8.1.(1),(6) & (7), 9.8.8.3.(3) & (4) Question: This project is a Part 9 residential building that contains an exterior stair that serves a single dwelling unit. This stair is adjacent to an exterior window of the dwelling unit. 1. Is a guard required between the exterior stair and the adjacent window? 2. If so, can the guard be 900 mm high? Interpretation: 1. Yes (with conditions) Clause 9.8.8.1.(1)(a) requires a guard on each side of a stair that is not protected by a wall when the difference in elevation between the walking surface (i.e. the stair tread) and the adjacent surface (i.e. the interior floor level of the dwelling unit adjacent to the stair) is more than 600 mm. If this difference in elevation exceeds 600mm, a guard would be required. Except as permitted by Sentence 9.8.8.1.(7), Sentence 9.8.8.1.(6) requires that when glazing is installed adjacent to a stair, ramp or landing, and the glazing extends lower than 1070 mm above the walking surface of the stair treads, the glazing must be protected with a guard that is 1070 mm high. Alternatively, the window itself can be non-openable and be designed to resist guard loading as required by Article 4.1.5.14. 2. Yes (with conditions) The exception to Sentence 9.8.8.1.(6) in Sentence 9.8.8.1.(7) states that "in dwelling units" the height of such a guard can be lowered from 1070 mm to 900 mm. The term "in dwelling units" implies that this exception only applies to interior stairs, which is not consistent with the requirements of Article 9.8.8.3. for height of exterior guards. Sentence 9.8.8.3.(3) states that exterior guards that serve a single dwelling unit can be 900 mm high when the potential fall is less than 1800 mm. Sentence 9.8.8.3.(4) states that, except for required exit stairs, the height of guards at flights of steps in both interior and exterior stairs can be 900 mm. In order to be consistent with the requirements of Articles 9.8.8.1. and 9.8.8.3. the protection of the glazing adjacent to an exterior stair with either a guard or a non-openable window that is designed to resist guard loading can be 900 mm high, provided that the exterior stair is not a required exit. Download
2018 18-0033 Protection of Exterior Fixtures From the Effects of Freezing 17/09/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0033 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Protection of Exterior Fixtures From the Effects of Freezing Keywords: Fixture, Piping, Freezing, Protection Against Building Code Reference(s): BCPC - 2.3.5.4.(1), 2.6.1.4.(1)(b) Question: Where a sink is installed exterior to a building, what is required to protect the piping from the effects of freezing in accordance with Sentence 2.3.5.4.(1)? Interpretation: There are a number of methods to protect the piping serving an exterior fixture such as a sink located on a deck adjacent to a building. The potable water lines (hot and cold) may be serviced by stop and waste cocks located inside the conditioned space of the building as referenced in Sentence 2.6.1.4.(1)(b). Another solution may be to heat trace and insulate the water distribution piping that supplies this exterior fixture. Protecting the drainage system serving this exterior fixture from the effects of freezing may be accomplished by either removing the p-trap or simply draining the water from the trap. If the exterior fixture or trap arm is located near an opening to the building, such as a door or window which may be opened, steps must be taken to prevent the entry of sewer gas into the building. Maintenance instructions should be provided to the homeowner in this regard. Download
2018 18-0034 Soil-or-Waste Pipe Serving as a Wet Vent 26/11/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0034 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: November 26, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Soil-or-Waste Pipe Serving as a Wet Vent Keywords: Wet Vent, Soil-or-Waste Pipe, Vent Pipe Building Code Reference(s): 2.5.2.1.(1), Division A - 1.4.1.2.(1) Question: Is the wet vent illustrated by Example A on page 2 compliant with BCPC provisions (assuming that it is sized appropriately)? Interpretation: No (considering the possible historical permission below). The only definition contained in the BCPC that is applicable to the dry vent in this diagram is the general defined term ''vent pipe". In light of this fact, there are no BCPC provisions provided to size this vent. Other than additional circuit vents, relief vents, offset relief vents, yoke vents, individual vents and dual vents, a hydraulic load and developed length is required to size a vent pipe. The vent in the diagram is not defined as any of the foregoing defined vent pipes. Clause 2.5.2.1.(1)(g) appears to imply that a wet vent requires a continuous vent, however, the continuous vent that serves a wet vented stack must also be named a stack vent. With this reasoning the only way to make the installation compliant with a literal interpretation of the BCPC would be to install a 45° elbow on the wet vent prior to the connection for the trap arm and vent connection (as illustrated by Example 8). This would then make the soil-or-waste pipe serving as a wet vent nominally vertical and the vent would then be defined as a continuous vent. Historically the wet vent installation as shown in Example A on page two has been accepted by local authorities. The vent pipe shown would be sized in accordance with Table 2.5.7.1., based on the size of the largest trap served by the wet vent. The Committee recognizes the fact that a Code change proposal is necessary and will be communicating this fact to the appropriate bodies. Download
2018 18-0035 Fire Protection of Emergency Electrical Conductors 17/12/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0035 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: December 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire Protection of Emergency Electrical Conductors Keywords: Emergency Power, Fire Separations Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.7.9, 3.2.7.10 Question: Sentence 3.2.7.9.(1) requires a minimum 2 h power supply from an emergency generator for certain building systems in some types of buildings. Is this intended to supersede the requirement of Sentence 3.2.7.10.(2) for a 1 h fire separation for emergency electrical conductors? Interpretation: No. Sentence 3.2.7.9.(1) requires an emergency power supply from a generator to operate under full load for at least 2 h for the systems specified in that Sentence. Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1) summarizes the different applications for emergency electrical conductors, in Clauses (a) through (c). Sentence 3.2.7.10.(2) requires the emergency conductors identified in Clauses 3.2.7.10.(1)(a) and (b) to either provide a circuit integrity rating of at least 1 h in conformance with CAN/ULC-S139, or to be located in a service space that is separated from the remainder of the building by fire separations of at least 1 h. Sentence 3.2.7.9.(3) refers to similar requirements for the emergency conductors identified in Clause 3.2.7.9.(1)(c), which are for mechanical systems that serve areas of refuge in hospitals and similar facilities, or contained use areas, but the required minimum circuit integrity rating or fire separation is 2 h instead of 1 h. Many of the conductors identified in Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1) are also part of the systems referenced in Sentence 3.2.7.9.(1) as requiring a 2 h emergency power supply from a generator. Since most of these conductors are specifically referenced in Sentences 3.2.7.10.(1) and (2) as requiring 1 h circuit integrity or 1 h fire separation, they do not require 2 h circuit integrity or 2 h fire separation. The generator is still required to supply emergency power for at least 2 h but this does not change the required circuit integrity rating or fire-resistance rating of the fire separation. Download
2018 18-0036 Prevention of Smoke Circulation 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0036 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Prevention of Smoke Circulation Keywords: Smoke, Duct-Type Smoke Detector, Fire Damper Building Code Reference(s): 9.32.3.2.(4)& (5), 3.1.8.10, 9.10.9.14.(4), 9.10.9.6.(14), 9.10.13.13.(1) & (2) Question: 1. Where a heating or ventilation duct system in a house with a secondary suite is required to be designed and installed to prevent circulation of smoke upon a signal from a duct-type smoke detector, is shut-down of the system fan sufficient to comply with this requirement? 2. Is a fire damper required in the duct described in question 1, where the duct penetrates the fire separation between suites in (a) an unsprinklered building? (b) a sprinklered building? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Sentence 9.32.1.2.(2) requires a self-contained heating season ventilation system serving a single dwelling unit or a house with a secondary suite to comply with Subsection 9.32.3. Sentence 9.32.3.2.(4) requires a heating or ventilation system in a house with a secondary suite to be designed and installed to prevent the circulation of smoke upon a signal from a duct-type smoke detector. There is no specific requirement for smoke dampers in this system. There is a similar requirement in Sentence 9.10.18.5.(1) that applies to other buildings regulated under Division B, Part 9, but it is applicable only to recirculating air-handling systems. Since Sentence 9.10.18.5.(1) does not address non-recirculating systems, there is no requirement for duct­ type detectors in those systems. Fans in non-recirculating systems could be off or on at any time. Therefore, the Code requirements do not address non-powered movement of smoke through a duct system in a Part 9 building. The condition where a fan shuts down on a signal from a duct-type smoke detector is similar, since there will be no powered air movement through the duct. (a) Yes, in most cases a fire damper is required in an unsprinklered building. Sentence 9.10.9.14.(4) requires a fire separation between dwelling units in a house with a secondary suite. The required fire-resistance rating of this fire separation varies depending on the installation of sprinklers or smoke alarms, with no fire-resistance rating permitted only if the building is sprinklered. With one exception, Sentence 9.32.3.2.(5) requires fire dampers installed in accordance with Article 3.1.8.10, at ducts penetrating fire separations. The exception refers to Sentence 9.10.9.6.(14) which waives the requirement for fire dampers in ducts in a house with a secondary suite but only where the ducts are noncombustible and serve only one fire compartment. If the duct serves both the secondary suite and the main suite, fire dampers are required except as noted below. Also, an additional waiver is permitted by Sentence 9.10.13.13.(2). A fire damper is not required where a noncombustible duct pierces a fire separation provided the duct has a melting point not below 760 C (i.e. a steel duct), the duct has a cross-sectional area less than 130 cm2, and the duct supplies only air-conditioning or combined air-conditioning and heating units discharging air at not more than 1.2 m above the floor. (b) No, a fire damper is not required in a sprinklered building. Sentence 9.10.13.13.(1) requires fire dampers at ducts penetrating fire separations only where the fire separations are required to have a fire-resistance rating. This Sentence is not cross-referenced from Sentence 9.32.3.2.(5) which otherwise requires fire dampers at fire separations [see the response to question 2(a)], but it applies to fire separations in general. Clause 9.10.9.14.(4)(d) states that, in a house with a secondary suite, the fire separation between suites does not require a fire-resistance rating if the building is sprinklered. Therefore, in accordance with Sentence 9.10.13.13.(1), fire dampers are not required at fire separations between dwelling units in a sprinklered house with a secondary suite. Some of the references in this Interpretation were part of a BCBC revision that came into effect in December 2019. In the BCBC revision, A-9.32.1.2.(2) in the Notes recommends that separate ventilation systems be provided for each dwelling unit in a house with a secondary suite, although it is noted that separate systems are more expensive and may be difficult to provide in an existing building. Download
2018 18-0037 Upgrade of existing building to Part 10 of BCBC 10/03/2020 AIBC, EGBC and BOABC File No: 18-0037 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 10, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Upgrade of existing building to Part 10 of BCBC Keywords: Alteration, rehabitilation, renovation, change in occupancy, NECB, ASHRAE 90.1, Step Code Building Code Reference(s): 1.1.1.1.(1)(d), 1.5.1.2.(1), 10.2.2.1., 10.2.2.2. Question: Will the requirements of NECB be triggered by building envelope improvements to an existing Part 3 building that was designed to comply with NECB? Interpretation: Maybe Division B, Part 10, Article 10.2.2.2. requires that alteration, rehabilitation, renovation or change in occupancy of an existing building the energy performance of the works shall comply with the original building design such as ASHRAE A90.1, NECB or the Energy Step Code. If the original building was designed to comply with NECB then the energy performance of the works shall comply with NECB. NECB 2015, Division A, Part 1, Sentence 1.1.1.1.(1) states that this code applies to the design and construction of all new buildings and to additions. Technically NECB does not apply to alteration of an existing building. Since Sentence 10.2.2.2.(2) of BCBC has the "nothwithstanding Article 1.1.1.1. of Division A of the NECB" clause that means NECB can be applied to alteration of an existing building. If the existing building was not designed to any of the standards mentioned above then the improvements shall comply with any one of those standards. The extent of upgrades required will depend on the scope of the works and this should be discussed with the AHJ at the earliest stage of the project taking Sentence 1.1.1.2.(1) and the Notes A-1.1.1.2. (1) into consideration. Download
2018 18-0038 Fish Farm Warehouse as a Farm Building 21/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC and BOABC File No: 18-0038 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Fish Farm Warehouse as a Farm Building ----- fish farm, farm building 1.4.1.2. - definition of farm building Is the 1995 National Farm Building Code the applicable code for the design of a 2-storey warehouse that contains fish rearing tanks for a salmon farming operation? Interpretation: Yes (with conditions) Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A defines a farm building as follows: Farm buUding means a building or part thereof that does not contain a residential occupancy and that is associated with and located on land devoted to the practice of farming, and used essentially for the housing of equipment or livestock, or the production, storage or processing of agricultural and horticultural produce or feeds. (See Note A-1.4.1.2.(1).) Note that "land devoted to the practice of farming" is determined by the local Zoning Bylaws. Notes to Part 1 - A-1.4.1.2. includes the following statement regarding Farm Buildings: Farm buildings as defined in Article 1.4.1.2. include, but are not Hmited to, produce storage and packing facilities, livestock and poultry housing, milking centres, manure storage facilities, grain bins, silos, feed preparation centres, farm workshops, greenhouses, farm retail centres, and horse riding, exercise and training facilities. Farm buildings may be classed as low or high human occupancy, depending on the occupant load. Examples of farm buildings likely to be classed as low human occupancy as defined in Article 1.2.1.2. of the National Farm Building Code of Canada are livestock and poultry housing, manure and machinery storage facilities and horse exercise and training facilities where no bleachers or viewing area are provided. Examples of farm buildings that would be classed as other than low human occupancy include farm retail centres for feeds, horlicultural and livestock produce, auction barns and show areas where bleachers or other public facilities are provided. Farm work centres where the number of workers frequently exceeds the limit for low human occupancy will also be in this category. It is possible to have areas of both high and low human occupancy in the same building provided that the structural safety and fire separation requirements for high human occupancy are met in the parl thus designated. A warehouse that contains fish rearing tanks would be considered as "housing of livestock" which meets the definition of farm building as well as the definition of low human occupancy. If there are any uses within the warehouse that could have higher human occupancy as described above, the warehouse would not be eligible for use of the 1995 Farm Building Code. It should be noted that NRG is proposing to update the 2020 NBC to include a new major occupancy classification Group G Division 2 for farm buildings that includes facilities for cultured fish and shellfish. It should also be noted that NRG is proposing to update the requirements for large farm buildings in the 2020 NBC and 2020 NFC as noted below: NATIONAL BUILDING CODE OF CANADA (NBC) Large Farm Buildings (Part 2) Introduces technical requirements for large farm buildings into Part 2 of Division B of the NBC. The four Sections introduced focus on general technical requirements and classifications, fire protection and occupant safety requirements, structural design requirements, and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) requirements, respectively. NATIONAL FIRE CODE OF CANADA (NFC) Large Farm Buildings (Parts 2 and 4) Introduces technical requirements for large farm buildings that address the inspection of mechanical and electrical equipment, the control of flammable gases and vapours, and the storage of flammable and combustible liquids. Download
2018 18-0039 Curb Ramps in Compliance with CSA B651 10/03/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0039 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 10, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Curb Ramps in Compliance with CSA B651 Keywords: Exterior Walks, Curb Ramps Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.3.1 Question: Sentence 3.8.3.1.(1) allows accessible design provisions of Subsection 3.8.3 to be designed instead in conformance with the applicable provisions of CSA 8651 "Accessible Design for the Built Environment" in their entirety, as stated in Table 3.8.3.1. (Also refer to Interpretation 18-0008 regarding the line by line application of Table 3.8.3.1.) The applicable provisions of CSA 8651 do not include Subsection 8.3.3 which deals with curb ramps. Since Table 3.8.3.1 does not reference the CSA 8651 requirements for curb ramps, does this mean that curb ramps must be designed in accordance with the BC Building Code? Interpretation: No. In the BC Building Code, curb ramps are regulated in Article 3.8.3.3 "Exterior Walks". For this Article, Table 3.8.3.1 refers to CSA 8651 8.2.1 to 8.2.5 and 8.2.7 as the alternative design provisions. In CSA B651, curb ramps are regulated in 8.3.3. "Curb ramps and blended transitions". This portion of CSA B651 is not referenced in Table 3.8.3.1. There are indirect references in 8.2.1 and 8.2.2 to pedestrian routes adjacent to curb ramps, and a reference in 8.2.2 to Figure 64 which is in 8.3.3, showing a pedestrian route and a curb ramp. It is clear from these references that the exterior accessible routes of CSA 8651 are intended to integrate with curb ramps where applicable. It is interpreted that. where exterior accessible routes are designed in their entirety in conformance with CSA 8651, the curb ramp requirements of 8.3.3 are applicable based on the references to curb ramps in 8.2.1 and 8.2.2. Download
2018 18-0041 Roof Drain Leader through an Exit Lobby 17/12/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0041 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: December 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Roof Drain Leader Through an Exit Lobby Keywords: Exit, Integrity of exit Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.4.4.(1)(b) Question: Is a leader serving roof drain over an exit lobby allowed to penetrate through the roof assembly and pass through the lobby serving as an exit? Interpretation: Yes. The lobby serving as an exit that has a roof assembly directly above can be penetrated with the noncombustible drainpipe and a rainwater leader serving this roof. The subject roof is serving only the exit lobby and as such is not a part of fire separation; therefore, the pipe is not penetrating the fire separation enclosure of the exit. In a case where there is another floor above the exit lobby with a different occupancy, rain water leader serving the roof over that floor must be redirected not to travel through the exit lobby or be enclosed in fire-rated shaft with fire-resistance rating equal to the one it penetrates. Download
2018 18-0042 Plastic Vent Pipe from Gas Venting Appliance, Located in Vertical Shaft 13/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0042 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 lnterpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Question: AIBC, EGBC, BOABC INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 January 13, 2020 BC Building Code 2018 Plastic vent pipe from gas venting appliance, located in vertical shaft Plastic vent pipe, vertical shaft, vertical service space 3.1.5.19.(1) 1. Plastic vent piping is sometimes used as part of a gas appliance venting system, used to discharge the products of combustion to the exterior. ls such plastic piping permitted to be located in a vertical shaft extending vertically through the building? 2. ls the plastic vent piping permitted to be located in a vertical service space containing other building services that penetrate the vertical service space enclosure? lnterpretation: 1. Yes. Plastic vent piping used as part of a gas appliance venting system is typically housed in a vertical shaft extending vertically through the building. Such a shaft is an extension of the space containing the vented appliance, and is not considered to be defined as a vertical service space, as supported by past Building Code Appeal BCAB #1654, provided the shaft is not interconnected with other storeys. Refer to diagram shown on next page. The plastic piping is also regulated by the Gas Safety Regulation and is required to comply with standards CSA 8149.1 'Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code' and ULC S636 'Standard for Type BH Gas Venting Systems'. However for noncombustible buildings, combustible piping is limited to a flame spread rating not exceeding 25. For high buildings there is an additional restriction of smoke developed classification not exceeding 50. 2. No. The Building Code addresses dedicated vertically oriented enclosures containing building services and defines these as vertical service spaces. Typically the Building Code does not intend that combustible piping be located in a vertical service spaces. This is indicated for example for combustible DWV piping in Clauses 3.1.9.5.(4)(b) and Sentence 3.1.9.5.(5) . Download
2018 18-0043 Acoustic Separation Application to Rooms or Suites not Defined as Dwelling Units 13/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0043 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: January 13, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Acoustic separation application to rooms or suites not defined as dwelling units. Keywords: Acoustic separation, dwelling units Building Code Reference(s): Division A, 1.4.1.2. "dwelling unit" definition, Division B 3.3.4.6.(1), 5.8, 9.11. Question: 1. Are individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses, and dormitories, considered dwelling units? 2. If not, are acoustic separation requirements applicable? Interpretation: 1. No, subject to conditions. Division A, Article 1.4.1.2 defines "dwelling unit" as "a suite operated as a housekeeping unit, used or intended to be used by one or more persons and usually containing cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities." Where individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses, and dormitories, do not fit this definition, (which is typically the case) they are not considered dwelling units. Rental or ownership does not have a bearing on the classification as to dwelling unit. If the guest rooms or suites contain cooking facilities such as a kitchen, they are typically considered dwelling units. 2. No. Only if individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses, and dormitories, are considered dwelling units by definition and by virtue of use and facilities provided, would the acoustic separation provisions of Sentence 3.3.4.6.(1), and Sections 5.8 and 9.11 be applicable. Refer to past BC Building Code Appeal #1621. Download
2018 18-0044 Width of Corridors Providing Access to Adaptable Dwelling Units 10/03/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0044 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 1O, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Width of Corridors providing access to Adaptable Dwelling Units Keywords: Width, corridor, adaptable, access, dwelling units 3.8.3.1.(1), 3.8.3.2.(1)(a), 3.8.5.3.(1)(a), 3.8.5.3.(2), Building Code Reference(s): CSA B651 - Section 5.1 Question: 1. If a designer elects to design the interior accessible routes to the requirements of Subsection 3.8.3 as permitted by Clause 3.8.3.1.(1)(a), is the minimum width of corridor that provides access to adaptable dwelling units 1220 mm as stated in Sentence 3.8.5.3.(2)? 2. If a designer elects to design interior accessible routes to the requirements of CSA B651 as permitted by Clause 3.8.3.1.(1)(b): a. Are corridors within a residential building that provide access to adaptable dwelling units considered to be low traffic areas? b. If so, is the minimum width of such corridor 920 mm as stated in Section 5.1 of CSA B651? Interpretation: 1. No Clause 3.8.5.3.(1)(a) requires that an accessible path of travel be provided to each adaptable dwelling unit in accordance with Subsection 3.8.3. Clause 3.8.3.2.(1)(a) requires an accessible path of travel to have an unobstructed width of not less than 1500 mm. Although Sentence 3.8.5.3.(2) states that a corridor providing access to adaptable dwelling units can be 1220 mm wide, this Sentence is superseded by the 1500 mm minimum width per Clause 3.8.3.2.(1)(a). Refer to Answer 2(b) for the application of the 1220 mm wide corridor. 2.(a) Yes The occupant load of residential floor areas is relatively small compared to other uses such as assembly and retail. Therefore, residential corridors are considered to be low traffic areas. 2.(b) No Clause 5.1.1. of CSA 8651 states that the minimum clear width of accessible routes is 920 mm. In high traffic areas, the minimum width is increased to 1500 mm. Most residential corridors are considered to be low traffic areas, based on the requirements of CSA 8651 , the minimum width of corridors that provide access for persons with disabilities would be 920 mm. Since Subsection 3.8.5. for Adaptable Suites is a "unique to BC" provision, Subsection 3.8.5. is not mentioned in Table 3.8.3.1. Therefore, CSA 8651 cannot be used as an alternate design approach for the requirements of Subsection 3.8.5. The minimum width for corridors and passageways providing access to adaptable dwelling units is 1220 mm as governed by Sentence 3.8.5.3.(2) with 1500 mm x 1500 mm clear floor spaces adjacent to the elevator entrance and at intervals not exceed 9m where the corridor or passageway exceeds 9m measured from the elevator entrance to the end of the corridor or passageway. Since there is some confusion in the industry regarding the appropriate width of corridors and passageways providing access to adaptable dwelling units, the BC Building Code Interpretation Committee has submitted a request for a building code change to BSSB to clarify the issue. Download
2018 18-0045 Soil-or-Waste Pipe Acting as a Relief Vent 13/01/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0045 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 13, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Soil-or-Waste Pipe Acting as a Relief Vent Keywords: Soil-or-Waste Pipe, Relief Vent, Sizing Building Code Reference(s): BCPC -2.5.3.1.(4), 2.5.7.3.(1), 2.5.7.3.(2), 2.5.8.1., Table 2.5.8.1., 2.5.4.5.(1) Question: 1. Sentence 2.5.3.1.(4) permits a soil-or-waste pipe having a hydraulic load of not more than 6 fixture units to act as a relief vent, does Sentence 2.5.7.3.(1) apply when sizing the soil-or-waste pipe acting as a relief vent? 2. Assuming the circuit vent is sized as 2", could an 1¼" soil-or-waste pipe, which drains a lavatory with an 1¼" trap, act as the relief vent for a circuit vented branch serving water closets? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Sentence 2.5.7.3.(1) would apply to a soil-or-waste pipe acting as a relief vent and the minimum size of this soil-or-waste pipe would need to be at least one size smaller than the circuit vent size and need not be larger than 2". Sentence 2.5.7.3.(2) must also be considered as below. 2. No. Sentence 2.5.7.3.(2) states that the soil-or-waste pipe acting as a relief vent in accordance with Sentence 2.5.3.1.(4) must be sized in conformance with Tables 2.4.10.6.A (Maximum Permitted Hydraulic Load Drained to a Soil-or-Waste Stack), 2.4.10.6.B (Maximum Permitted Hydraulic Load Drained to a Branch) or 2.5.8.1. (Hydraulic Loads Draining to Wet Vents), and Article 2.5.7.1. (Minimum Permitted Size of a Vent Pipe Based on Size of Trap Served), whichever size is the largest considering the load drained into the soil-or-waste pipe. Therefore, the first step is to consider Article 2.5.7.1. Since the relief vent serves the water closets on the circuit vented branch the minimum vent size must be 1½", based on the size of the trap served, therefore the 1¼" soil-or-waste pipe does not comply. Next, Article 2.5.8.1. must also be reviewed. Again, the circuit vented branch serves water closets, and since this relief vent is also defined as a wet vent serving water closets, the minimum size of this wet vented portion would be 2". This is the minimum size of a wet vent serving water closets in Table 2.5.8.1., considering the load on the wet vent of 1 fixture unit (the lavatory). The above Interpretation is further supported by the fact that Sentence 2.5.4.5.(1) permits fixtures to be connected to circuit vents or additional circuit vents (among other select vent pipes) with certain restrictions. One of these restrictions being that the minimum size of the section of the vent pipe that acts as a wet vent is minimum 2" in size (Clause 2.5.4.5.(1)(c)). This applies to any circuit vented branch regardless of the size of the fixture outlet pipes connected to it. Download
2018 18-0046 Power Door Operators for Industrial Occupancies 19/05/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0046 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Power Door Operators for Industrial Occupancies Keywords: Power door operators, industrial occupancies, accessibility, non-industrial uses Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.2.1.(1), Notes to Part 3 A-3.8.2.1, 3.8.2.7. Question: 1. Are power door operators required for the entrances of industrial occupancies, such as for medium and low hazard industrial suites? 2. Are power door operators required for the entrances where other non-industrial uses are part of, or associated with, the industrial suite? 1. No, with provisions. Sentence 3.8.2.7.(1) sets out the scope of application of power door operators. This Sentence does not apply to the entrances of industrial occupancies. Sentence 3.8.2.7.(2) and (3) are further exceptions to Sentence 3.8.2.7.(1). However, notwithstandingthe exemption for industrial occupancies, power door operators may be required if, for example, the door clearance requirements in Sentence 3.8.3.6.(11) are not provided. 2. In the case of non-industrial uses mixed with industrial occupancies within the same suite, there are 2 possible conditions: a) Non-industrial uses that are not considered a major occupancy. Non-industrial uses may be an integral, ancillary, or subsidiary use to the industrial major occupancies, to the extent that the non-industrial uses are not considered a separate major occupancy. For example, an industrial occupancy could have supporting integral office and/or training classroom uses. In such cases the occupancy is still considered industrial for the purposes of Article 3.8.2.7. Past BC Building Code Appeal 1478 illustrates such an example, including a case where the supporting non-industrial use itself exceeds 500m2 in area. Even though there may be an exemption from power door operators, other accessibility features are required within the non-industrial uses, and may also be required in the industrial areas, particularly if there are no industrial hazards and work functions can reasonably be expected to be performed by persons with disabilities. This accessibility aspect is further discussed in the Notes to Part 3, A-3.8.2.1. b) Non-industrial uses that are considered a major occupancy. There may be non-industrial uses that are an associated use to the industrial major occupancies configured and functioning to the extent that the non-industrial uses are considered a major occupancy. In such cases the non-industrial occupancy will be considered a major occupancy for the purposes of Article 3.8.2.7, and power door operators may be required depending on its specific use and size, in accordance with Sentence 3.8.2.7.(1). There may be cases where it may be difficult to ascertain into which of the 2 foregoing conditions the project falls, and as such will necessitate discussion with the Authority having Jurisdiction. Download
2018 18-0047 Uppermost Floor Level for Residential High Buildings 10/03/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0047 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 10, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Uppermost Floor Level for Residential High Buildings Keywords: floor level, storey, 18 meters, roof-top enclosure Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.1.1.(1), 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) Question: Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) states that a building containing a Group C major occupancy is considered to be a high building when it contains a "floor level" that is more than 18m above grade. 1. Is the term "floor level" intended to include the floor of a roof-top enclosure as described in Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1)? 2. Is the term "floor level" intended to include the floor of a mezzanine which is located within the uppermost storey as described in Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) or (4)? Interpretation: 1. No Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1) states that a roof-top enclosure that is used for no purpose other than service to the building is not considered to be a storey in calculating building height. Although Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) refers to "floor level" rather than "storey" when determining if a building must be designed to Subsection 3.2.6., it has been common industry practice for many years to waive the floor level of a roof-top enclosure when applying the 18m high building measurement. It should also be noted that, except for the purposes of calculating building height, the floor level of a rooftop enclosure is classified as a storey as defined in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A This means that Clauses 3.2.6.1.(1)(a), (b) and (c) that refer to "top storey" or "highest storey" could also be misinterpreted to include the floor level of the roof-top enclosure when measuring the 18 m for high building requirements. Note that in a mixed use building with Group C major occupancy in the lower portion of the building and Group Din the upper portion, provided that there are no floor levels containing Group C major occupancy more than 18m above grade, then Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) would not apply. 2. Yes If the uppermost storey includes a mezzanine, which is not considered to be a storey in calculating building height as described in Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) or (4), the floor level of the mezzanine must be included when applying the 18m high building measurement. In order to clarify the intent of Article 3.2.6.1., the BC Building Code Interpretation Committee has submitted a building code change request to both NRG and BSSB. Download
2018 18-0048 Combustible Ducts in Noncombustible Buildings 21/04/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0048 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: April 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Combustible ducts in noncombustible buildings Keywords: Combustible , duct s, horizontal run Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.5.18.( 1), 3.6.5 .1.(2)(d), 3.6.5.1.(5) Question: Sentence 3.1.5.18.(1) and Clause 3.6.5.1.(2)(d) permit the use of combustible ducts in buildings that are required to be noncombustible construction provided the ducts are only used in "horizontal runs". Does that mean that no portion of a combustible duct can be oriented vertically? Interpretation: No Combustible ducts as illustrated on Page 2 are permitted in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. The intent statement for Sentence 3.1.5.18.(1) is as follows: To exempt certain combustible materials from the application of Sentence3.1.5.1.(1) if certain conditions are met, on the basis that the materials are deemed to insignificantly contribute to fire growth and spread. The intent statement for Clause 3.6.5.1.(2)(d) is as follows: To exempt certain combustible materials from the requirements of Sentence3.6.5.1.(1), which would otherwise require the material to be noncombustible, if certain conditions are met. This is to limit the probability that the materials will contribute to the growth or spread of fire, which could lead to the spread of fire to other parts of the building by means of the air duct systems, which could lead to harm to persons. For the purposes of this interpretation, the term "horizontal run" is interpreted to mean a duct that is contained within a horizontal service space within a single fire compartment which does not penetrate a vertical or horizontal fire separation as per 3.6.5.1.(5). Combustible flexible ducts as illustrated below are permitted in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. Download
2018 18-0049 Minimum Water Pressure to Permit Using Table 2.6.3.4. 17/12/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC FIie No: 18-0049 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: December 17, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Minimum Water Pressure to Permit Using Table 2.6.3.4. Keywords: Water Pressure, Table 2.6.3.4. Building Code Reference(s): BCPC - 2.6.3.4.(5)(b) Question: Does the minimum water pressure of 200 kPa (30 psi) mentioned in Clause 2.6.3.4.(S)(b) refer to static pressure? Interpretation: Yes. For the purposes of Clause 2.6.3.4.(S)(b), 200 kPa is the minimum static pressure that would be required at the entry to a building to permit the use of Table 2.6.3.4. to size the water system. Further, in Note Aw2,6.3.4.(5), the word static is used in regard to this Clause. Download
2018 18-0050 Protection of Conductors for Firefighters' Elevators 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0050 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Protection of Conductors for Firefighters' Elevators Keywords: Firefighters' Elevators, Emergency Conductors Building Code Reference (s): 3.2.6.5.(6), 3.2.7.10.(1), 3.2.7.10.(5) Question: In a high building, is protection from fire required for both normal and emergency conductors that provide power for the firefighters' elevator(s)? Interpretation: No. Article 3.2.6.5 includes requirements for an elevator for use by firefighters in a high building. Sentence 3.2.6.5.(6) states that electrical conductors for operation of this elevator shall be " (a) installed in service spaces conforming to Section 3.6 that do not contain other combustible material, or (b) protected against exposure to fire from the service entrance of the emergency power supply, or the normal service entrance of the normal power supply, to the equipment served...". Clause (b) provides the option of protecting either the emergency power supply or the normal power supply. However, Subclause 3.2.7.10.(1)(a)(iii) requires protection of electrical and emergency conductors serving emergency equipment within the scope of Article 3.2.6.2 to 3.2.6.8. Since the firefighters' elevator is required by Article 3.2.6.5, it requires the stated protection. Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1) refers to Sentences (2) to (11) for the required protection. Other than for exceptions that are not applicable to this question, Sentence 3.2.7.10.(5) states that the electrical conductors referred to in Sentence (1) are those that extend from the source of emergency power to (a) the equipment served or (b) the distribution equipment supplying power to the equipment served, if both are in the same room. This Sentence refers only to the conductors that extend from the source of emergency power. This protection will also comply with the specific requirement of Clause 3.2.6.5.(6)(b) for protection of either the emergency power supply or the normal power supply. Because the emergency power supply requires protection in accordance with Sentence 3.2.7.10.(1), there is no need to protect the normal power supply. This requires the voltage and frequency relays in the automatic transfer switch to initiate generator operation when those relays do not sense adequate characteristics of the required normal power supply source. As such, the emergency power system is required to activate if the normal power supply to the elevators is lost due to failure or destruction of the normal power cables, even if normal power is still available for other building systems. Download
2018 18-0051 Fire Alarm System Exemption for Single Family Dwelling 19/05/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0051 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire alarm system exemption for single family dwelling Keywords: Fire alarm system, residential, single-family dwelling, occupant load, sleeping accommodation, direct access to exterior Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.18.2.(2), 9.10.18.2.(5) Question: 1. When a proposed single-family dwelling has 6 bedrooms (sleeping accommodaiton for 12 persons), does such a home require a fire alarm system if one or more of the bedrooms has a door providing direct access to ground level? Interpretation: 1. No. Sentence 9.10.18.2.(2) indicates a fire alarm system is required where 10 persons sleeping accommodation is exceeded, however Sentence 9.10.18.2.(5) is provided as an exception to this. Sentence 9.10.18.2.(5) waives the requirement for a fire alarm system if an exit from a suite has direct access to an exterior exit facility leading to ground level. Such an exterior exit must not be obstructed in the direction of exit travel, by any intervening locked doors, including via a bedroom door. Download
2018 18-0052 Activation of Smoke Dampers 19/05/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0052 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Activation of Smoke Dampers Keywords: Smoke Dampers, Smoke Detectors Building Code Reference(s) 3.1.8.11.(3), 3.1.8.5.(3) Question: If a smoke damper activated by a smoke detector is installed in a building that does not otherwise require a fire alarm system, does the smoke detector installation mean that a fire alarm system must also be installed? Interpretation: No. Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) requires that, with one exception, smoke dampers and combination smoke/fire dampers shall be configured to close automatically upon a signal from an adjacent smoke detector located as described in CAN/ULC-S524 "Installation of Fire Alarm Systems". This requirement refers only to the location of the smoke detector, and does not mandate compliance with any other fire alarm system requirements. The applicable Code requirements for fire alarm systems are in Subsection 3.2.4, which does not require installation of a fire alarm system if a smoke detector is installed due to other provisions of the Code. In addition, Sentence 3.1.8.5.(3) requires smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers to be installed in conformance with NFPA 105 "Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives". NFPA 105 does not require smoke detectors used to control smoke dampers or fire/smoke dampers to be part of a fire alarm system. However, the Code defines a smoke detector as a type of fire detector, and a fire detector is defined as a device that "... detects a fire condition and automatically initiates an electrical signal to actuate an alert signal or alarm signal... ". An alert or alarm signal would require a fire alarm system. It would be onerous to install a fire alarm system because of a smoke damper, in a building where Subsection 3.2.4 does not require a fire alarm system. It is interpreted that the smoke detector referenced in Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) is intended to function as part of the damper, and not to trigger a requirement for a fire alarm system. Download
2018 18-0053 Seismic Restraint of Mechanical Equipment 10/03/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0053 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 10, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Seismic restraint of mechanical equipment Keywords: Se ism ic , restra int, m echanical , equipment Building Code Reference(s): 2.2.7.3. of Division C, Schedule B Question: Item 3.6 of Schedule B requires the mechanical engineer to take responsibility for "Structural capacity of mechanical components, including anchorage and seismic restraint". For mechanical equipment that is mounted on the floor, is the extent of anchorage and seismic restraint limited to simply the design and field review of the equipment anchor bolts and anchor plates to resist the seismic loads? Interpretation: No The registered professional of record (RPR) responsible for the mechanical components (MER = mechanical engineer of record) must take overall responsibility for seismic restraint of mechanical components. This RPR commonly requires the mechanical contractor to retain a Specialty Engineer to undertake the design and field review associated with this seismic restraint. The excerpt below from the EGBC Guidelines for Mechanical Engineering Services for Building Projects indicates that the Mechanical RPR is responsible to advise the Structural RPR of the seismic loads imposed on the base building structure. The Structural RPR would then verify that the base building structure can accommodate such loads. 3.2.3.3 Unless otherwise noted, the MER is responsible to assure that the design and field review of any seismic restraint for mechanical elements is completed. This review may be by the Specialty Engineer. When a Specialty Engineer is retained to design the seismic restraint elements. the MER shall review the design details prepared by the Specialty Engineer for the seismic restraint elements for completeness. The MER shall provide the seismic restraint information to the Structural Engineer of Record for coordination with the building structural system. Download
2018 18-0054 Passive House Designer or Consultant 19/05/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0054 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Passive House Designer or Consultant Keywords: Energy Model, Passive House Institute Building Code Reference(s): 10.2.3.3.(3) Question: Sentence 10.2.3.3.(3) requires the energy model must be prepared by a Certified Passive House Designer, or Certified Passive House Consultant, who is approved by the Passive House Institute when the building must be designed to Step 4. 1) Some Passive House Designers and Consultants are not trained energy modellers. Is it acceptable to have a trained energy modeller prepare the model on behalf of the Passive House Designer or Consultant? 2) One pathway to becoming a Certified Passive House Designer, or Certified Passive House Consultant is the completion and certification of a Passive House project. Is it acceptable to have the energy model prepared by an individual in the process of obtaining their certification? Interpretation: 1. No. Sentence 10.2.3.3.(3) clearly stated that the energy model must be prepared by a Certified Passive House Designer or Consultant, who is approved by the Passive House Institute. It is not acceptable to have another energy modeller prepare the model unless the energy modeller is a Certified Passive House Designer or Consultant. 2. No If an individual is in the process of obtaining their certification from the Passive House Institute that individual has to wait till he or she obtains the certification before he or she can prepare the energy model to demonstrate the compliance with Part 10. Download
2018 18-0055 Firestopping vs Blocking in Floor/Wall Intersections in Conventional Wood Framinq 17/11/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0055 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: November 17 , 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Firestopping vs blocking in floor/wall intersections in conventional wood framinq Keywords: Continuity of fire separations with fire resistance rating up to 1h, fire blocking, fire stopping, service penetration through the fire separations. Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.8.3(1) ; 3.1.11.2.; 3.1.11 .7. Question: 1. Fire rated fire separation cavity wall intersecting with fire rated fire separation floor assembly. a. What material should be used to install fire blocking? b. What material should be used to seal openings through the fire blocking by building service penetrations? 2. Fire rated fire separation wall intersecting with unrated floor assembly. a. What material should be used to install fire blocking and what material should be used to provide continuity of fire separation? b. What material should be used to seal openings through the fire blocking by building service penetrations? 3. Unrated wall intersecting with fire rated fire separation floor assembly. a. What material should be used to install fire blocking and what material should be used to provide continuity of fire separation? b. What material should be used to seal openings through the fire blocking by building service penetrations? 4. Fire rated fire separation cavity wall intersecting with fire rated fire separation wall. a. What material should be used to install fire blocking? b. What material should be used to seal openings through the fire blocking by building service penetrations? 5. Fire rated fire separation cavity wall intersecting with unrated wall. a. What material should be used to install fire blocking and what material should be used to provide continuity of fire separation? b. What material should be used to seal openings through the fire blocking by building service penetrations? Interpretation: 1.a. Fire blocks as listed in Sentences 3.1.11.7.(1) to (3) and (5) Fire Block Materials. Rim joist provides this function. 1.b. Fire stop as per Sentence 3.1.11.7.(7) and Note A-3.1.11.7.(7). 2.a Doubled fire blocking 2x lumber as listed in Sentences 3.1.11.7.(1) to (3) and (5) Fire Block Materials. Second piece of lumber provides the char protection to complete fire rated fire separation. 2.b. Fire stop system listed for the rating of the fire rated fire separation wall assembly installed in the annual space of the penetrating services. 3.a. Top double plate provides adequate char protection and fire rating for the rated fire separation floor assembly above unrated wall. Bottom plate is less exposed to the heat in fire compartment and single plate will suffice. 3.b. Services installed in rated floor assembly do not need fire stopping when traveling above or below nonrated walls. Services that cross from the cavity of non-rated wall through rated floor assembly need to receive fire stop system listed for the rating of the fire rated floor assembly. 4.a. 2x lumber studs installed at the junction in passing wall and 2x end stud in abutting wall divide cavities within fire rated fire separation wall assemblies. Fire caulking is required if the annular space of penetrating service is larger than 3mm. 4.b. Fire stop as per Sentence 3.1.11.7.(7) and Note A-3.1.11.7.(7) is required for penetration of services crossing the studs blocking the cavity wall. 5.1.a. Continuous GWB at the junction of fire rated, fire separation wall with non-rated wall provides required continuity of fire separation. (For ease of installation the stud of the non-rated wall is not nailed until rated GWB is in place). 5.1.b. Services that penetrate only fire blocking within rated wall do not need fire stop. The services travelling within the non-rated wall and cross a fire rated fire separation wall need to receive fire stop system listed for the rating of the fire rated wall. Doubled fire blocking 2x lumber in non-rated wall and multilayer stud pack in fire rated fire separation wall provide adequate char protection and fire blocking for this junction. 5.2.b. Services that penetrate only fire blocking within rated wall do not need fire stop. The services that travel along the non-rated wall and cross a fire rated fire separation wall need to receive fire stop system listed for the rating of the fire rated wall. Download
2018 18-0056 Use of Piping for Sanitary Force Main 19/05/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0056 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Use of Piping for Sanitary Force Main Keywords: Force Main, Sanitary Sewage Pump, Piping Building Code Reference(s): 2.2.1.5.(1), Note A-2.4.6.3., Table A-2.2.5., 2.2.6. and 2.2.7. Question: What type of pipe and fittings is required on the force main piping serving a sanitary sewage pump (ejector)? Interpretation: Sentence 2.2.1.5.(1) states that the piping, fittings and joints used in pressure sewer, force main or sump pump discharge applications shall be capable of withstanding at least one and one-half times the maximum potential pressure. Further, Note A-2.4.6.3. indicates that the force main piping is approved pressure pipe and fittings. Table A-2.2.5., 2.2.6. and 2.2.7. indicates that PVC pipe approved to CAN/CSA-B.137.3 cannot be used for a drainage system above-ground inside a building. Notwithstanding this statement, in order to comply with the requirements listed above, this is one of the appropriate types of piping to use for the sanitary force main serving the sewage sump. The force main piping is considered part of the above-ground drainage system but it is not piping drained by gravity, but rather, is under pressure and any piping approved for pressure applications in the BCPC is in compliance with these requirements. ABS DWV pipe, approved to CAN/CSA B-181.1, and PVC DWV pipe, approved to CAN/CSA B181.2, cannot be used for piping under pressure and would not comply with Sentence 2.2.1.5.(1). Download
2018 18-0057 Minimum Distance of Air Intakes from Source of Contaminants 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0057 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: Subject: BC Building Code 2018 Minimum Distance of Air Intakes from Source of Contaminants Keywords: Air intakes, kitchen cooking exhaust Building Code Reference(s): Table 6.3.2.9., 6.3.1.1.(4) Question: 1. Do the minimum distances between "kitchen cooking exhaust" and "outdoor air intakes" only apply to commercial kitchen cooking exhaust? 2. If the answer to Question 1 is no, if operable windows are used for natural ventilation, are they considered to be "Outdoor Air Intake" for the purposes of Table 6.3.2.9.? Interpretation: 1. No The minimum distances between Source of Contaminants and Outdoor Air Intakes applies to all building types, including exhaust from conventional residential kitchen ranges. 2. No Operable windows in new construction that are used for natural ventilation are not considered to be "Outdoor Air Intake" for the purposes of Table 6.3.2.9. The 3m minimum distance between a conventional residential kitchen exhaust air opening and an operable window does not apply. Although the 3m distance between a residential a conventional residential kitchen exhaust air opening and an outdoor air intake is mandatory as required by Table 6.3.2.9., designers may be able to justify a shorter distance using an alternative solution based on Appendix F of ASHRAE 62.1-2010 which takes into consideration exhaust air volume, dilution factor and exhaust air discharge velocity. Note that for new construction, Sentence 6.3.1.1.(4) requires suites in buildings conforming to Subsection 9.36.6. or 10.2.3. to have outdoor air supplied directly to each suite by mechanical ventilation through ducting, so operable windows are not the only means of providing outdoor air to the suite. Download
2018 18-0058 Fire Block in SFD Attic over 20m 18/08/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0058 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: August 18, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire block in SFD attic over 20m Keywords: Concealed spaces, fire blocking Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.16.1.(S)(b) ; 9.10 .16 .1 .(6) Question: Does an attic in a single-family house with combustible attic roof require full fire stop partition when the distance is greater than 20 meters? Interpretation: Yes. As described in Clause 9.10.16.1.(5).(b) and Sentence 9.10.16.1.(6) the size of non-sprinklered combustible attic in the single family house with the lumber that the flame-spread rating is greater than 25 cannot exceed 300m2 and the maximum distance cannot be greater than 20m. Download
2018 18-0059 Occupant Load 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0059 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Occupant Load Keywords: Occupant load, overcrowding Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.17.1(1)(c), 3.1.17.1.(2), BCFC 2.7.1.3.(1) Question: Article 3.1.17.1. of BCBC states that the occupant load is to be calculated based on the floor area of the building. This seems to contradict with the Article 2.7.1.3. of the BCFC, which indicates that the occupant load is calculated on a per room basis. Is it possible to clarify this discrepancy? Interpretation: The occupant load in the BCBC is used in the design of washroom, egress, exit, fire alarm system and structural floor loading, etc. for the floor area or part of the floor area. Clause 3.1.17.1.(c) requires the number of persons for the area to be not less than that determined from Table 3.1.17.1 unless it can be shown that the area will be occupied by fewer persons. It can be designed with more occupants but the design of washroom, egress, exit, fire alarm system and floor loading, etc. must be designed to the higher occupant load. Sentence 3.1.17.1.(2) states that if a floor area or part thereof has been designed for an occupant load other than that determined from Table 3.1.17.1., a permanent sign indicating that occupant load shall be posted in a conspicuous location. Article 2.7.1.3. of the BCFC regulates the maximum permissible occupant load for each room based on the exit capacity or 0.4 sq.m. of net floor space per person to avoid overcrowding. The Appendix Note A-2.7.1.3.(1) explains that the net floor space excludes structural features and fixtures, such as tables, furnishings or equipment. In certain assembly occupancies, where the number and type of furnishings may change according to the nature of the function taking place, it may be appropriate to calculate maximum occupant loads for each of the different functions anticipated. The occupant load in Article 3.1.17.1. of the BCBC is the minimum occupant load of the floor area or part of the floor area for the design of washroom, exit, fire alarm system and floor structural loading, etc. but higher occupant load can be used as long as the floor area is designed for the higher occupant load but not to exceed 0.4 sq.m. per person as specified in the Article 2.7.1.3. of the BCFC to avoid overcrowding. Download
2018 18-0060 Capillary Break 23/06/2019 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0060 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 23, 2019 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Capillary Break Keywords: Metal siding, house wrap, capillary break Building Code Reference(s): 9.27.2.2., 9.27.2.3. Question: Is capillary break required with metal siding and house wrap? Interpretation: No. Clause 9.27.2.2.(1)(c) considers hollow-backed metal or vinyl and are horizontally oriented and loosely fastened to the backing substrate deem to have a capillary break between the cladding and the backing assembly. Download
2018 18-0061 Separate Signal Circuits for Fire Alarm Audible Devices Within Dwelling Units 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0061 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Separate Signal Circuits for Fire Alarm Audible Devices Within DwellinQ Units Keywords: Separate Signal Circuits, Audible Devices, Dwelling Units Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.4.18.(7), 3.2.4.18.(8), 3.2.4.18.(11) Question: Where the requirement for manual fire alarm signal silencing within a dwelling unit can be waived for devices that are on a separate signal circuit, is the term "separate signal circuit" intended to refer to a circuit that serves devices that are within a single dwelling unit? Interpretation: Yes. Sentence 3.2.4.18.(7) requires that audible signal devices within a dwelling unit must include a means for them to be manually silenced for up to 10 minutes, except as permitted by Sentence 3.2.4.18.(11). Sentence 3.2.4.18.(8) provides two options for the connection of audible signal devices within dwelling unit, to a fire alarm system. These devices can either be connected such that (a) a single open circuit at one device will not impair the operation of devices serving other dwelling units, or (b) the audible devices within a dwelling unit are on separate signal circuits that are not connected to devices in any other unit or public corridor (i.e. Class A wiring). Sentence 3.2.4.18.(11)allows audible devices within a dwelling unit to be silenced automatically for 10 minutes, with other conditions as stated in that Sentence, where the devices within the unit are on a separate signal circuit. The BCBC does not define "separate signal circuit". However, this term is also referenced in Sentence 3.2.4.18.(8) with respect to a circuit that serves devices within only one dwelling unit. This meaning is also consistent with the exception in Sentence 3.2.4.18.(7), which, in combination with Sentences (8) and (11) means that audible signal devices that are on circuits serving only one dwelling unit can be silenced automatically, while these audible devices that are on circuits also serving other units or areas must have a means for manual silencing. The conclusion is that a "separate signal circuit" means that the audible devices within a dwelling unit are on a circuit serving only that one unit. Download
2018 18-0062 Design for Wind Uplift on Green Roofs 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0062 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Design for Wind Uplift on Green Roofs Keywords: Wind uplift, green roofs, roofing materials Building Code Reference(s): 4.1.5.5.(1 ), A-4.1.5.5.(1) Question: Does the BCBC 2018 require that green roofs be designed to resist wind uplift? Interpretation: No The structural design of green roofs to resist wind uplift is not addressed in the BCBC 2018. Sentence 4.1.1.5.(1) states "Except as provided in Sentence (2), buildings and their structural members shall be designed in conformance with the procedures and practices provided in this Part". Sentence 4.1.7.1.(1) states "The specified wind loads for a building and its components shall be determined using the Static, Dynamic or Wind Tunnel Procedure as stated in Sentences (2) to (5)". Sentence 4.1.7.1.(5) states "For the design of cladding and secondary structural members, one of the following procedures shall be used to determine the specified wind loads." Green roofs are not considered to be" secondary structural members" so the requ ireme nt s of Subsection 4.1.7. for Wind Loads does not apply to green roofs. It should be noted that research is underway at NRC's Dynamic Roofing Facility in Ottawa with respect to wind uplift on green roofs using the NRC wind test chamber. This research may result in some future changes to the National Building Code to address this issue. Download
2018 18-0063 Location of Smoke Detectors to Close Smoke Dampers 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0063 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 4 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Location of Smoke Detectors to Close Smoke Dampers Keywords: Smoke detectors , motorized smoke dampers Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.8.11.(3) Question: This project utilizes combination motorized smoke/fire dampers that are located at an air transfer louvre that provides make up air to a corridor from a vertical duct shaft where the make up air fan is located on the roof. 1. Is the most suitable location to install a smoke detector on the ceiling of the corridor within 1.5m of the smoke/fire damper that, when activated, will close the adjacent smoke/fire damper? 2. Is it acceptable to automatically close all smoke/fire dampers upon activation of any fire alarm initiating device (e.g. sprinkler flow, manual pull, fire detectors)? Interpretation: 1. Yes (although this is the best location, a code change is required) Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) states: "Except as required by a smoke control system, smoke dampers and combination smoke/fire dampers shall be configured so as to close automatically upon a signal from an adjacent smoke detector located as described in CAN/ULC-S524, "Installation of Fire Alarm Systems," within 1.5 m horizontally of the duct or air-transfer opening in the fire separation a) on both sides of the air-transfer opening, or b) in the duct downstream of the smoke damper or combination smoke/fire damper" The Intent Statements for Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) are as follows: Intent 1: To limit the probability that smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers will not close when activated by fire conditions, which could lead to the spread of smoke from one fire compartment to another fire compartment through openings in the fire separation between the fire compartments, which could lead to harm to persons in the other fire compartment. Intent 2: To prevent the operation of all smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers in a building when only the smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers in a fire compartment, where the fire conditions occur, need to close. Intent 3: To prevent the reset of all smoke dampers or combination smoke/fire dampers in a building upon every fire condition. Since the intent of Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) is to prevent the movement of smoke from one fire compartment that contains a fire to another fire compartment, the best location for the smoke detector that closes the smoke/fire damper is on one side of the smoke/fire damper on the ceiling of the corridor within 1.5m of the smoke/fire damper. It is not logical to also install a fire damper on the other side of the smoke/fire damper as suggested by Clause 3.1.8.11.(3)(a) because the only place to install it would be within the vertical duct shaft. A smoke detector within the vertical duct shaft could be activated by a fire on multiple floor levels, so it may close the wrong damper. It could be interpreted that installing the smoke detector on the ceiling of the corridor meets the intent of Clause 3.1.8.11.(3)(b) since it is located downstream of the smoke damper. The only difference is that it is not located within a duct because there is no duct which is downstream of the smoke damper. The BC Building Code Interpretation Committee has sent a request to NRC to amend the wording of Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) to allow a single smoke detector on the ceiling of the corridor which is within 1.5m of an air transfer louvre which is connected to a vertical duct shaft. See diagrams on Page 4. There are smoke/fire dampers that are provided with an integral smoke detector, so those would be another option since they comply with Clause 3.1.8.11.(3)(b) provided that the smoke detector is located on the corridor side of the smoke/fire damper. Note that Sentence 3.1.8.11.(2) allows the combination smoke/fire damper to the offset from the fire separation wall by 610 mm to accommodate the smoke detector on the downstream side of the damper. See illustration below. 2 . Yes (in certain circumstances) As stated in Intent 2 above, the requirements of Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) provide the ability to only close smoke/fire dampers that are near to the fire compartment that contains the fire, but does not mandate this as the only mechanism for closing smoke dampers. There may be certain circumstances where the management of smoke movement requires multiple smoke dampers to close simultaneously (e.g. a duct smoke detector near an exterior air intake louvre that detects smoke in the duct that originates from an exterior source). Refer also to Interpretation 18-0019 for waiving the requirement for smoke dampers in highrise residential buildings if the vertical shaft is designed as part of a smoke control system. Download
2018 18-0064 Structural Design Loads for Exterior and Interior Areas Subject to Vehicular Traffic 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0064 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Structural Design Loads for Exterior and Interior Areas Subject: Subject to Vehicular Traffic Keywords: Structural, design loads, vehicular traffic, fire trucks, physical barriers Building Code Reference(s): 4.1.5.5.(1), A-4.1 .5.5.(1) Question: 1. For exterior areas of a building that are accessible to vehicular traffic, is it mandatory to install physical barriers at the entrances to these areas if the structure supporting these areas is not designed to carry the weight of firefighting equipment or other similar heavy vehicles? 2. For interior areas of a building that are accessible to vehicular traffic, is it mandatory to install physical barriers at the entrances to these areas if the structure supporting these areas is not designed to carry the weight of firefighting equipment or other similar heavy vehicles? Interpretation: 1. Yes Sentence 4.1.5.5.(1) states that exterior areas accessible to vehicular traffic shall be designed for their intended use, including the weight of firefighting equipment, but not less than the snow and rain loads prescribed in Subsection 4.1.6. A-4.1.5.5. in Notes to Part 4 states that in Article 4.1.5.5.," accessible" refers to the lack of a physical barrier that prevents or restricts access by vehicles or persons to the site in the context of the specific use. So if the vehicle entries to exterior areas of a building are not provided with physical barriers to prevent high trucks from entering the areas, the structure supporting these areas must be designed to carry the weight of fire trucks or other similar heavy vehicles. If a barrier is provided, highly visible signage is required on the barrier which clearly indicates the headroom clearances and the maximum gross vehicle weight. 2. No (except in certain circumstances) Table 4.1.5.3. describes 3 different live loads for "garages" of 2.4, 6.0, and 12.0 kPa depending upon the weight of vehicles that are anticipated within the garage, or portions of a garage which vary from less than 4000 kg to more than 9000 kg gross vehicle weight. A-4.1.5.3. in Notes to Part 4 states "A special study should be undertaken to determine the distributed loads to be used for the design of floors and areas used by vehicles exceeding 9 000 kg gross weight and of driveways and sidewalks over areaways and basements. Where appropriate, the designer should refer to CSA S6, "Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code." In most cases, the height of the garage itself will act as a physical barrier to prevent heavy vehicles from entering. Overhead signage is commonly provided at the entry to the garage to describe the maximum headroom available within the garage. In some cases, there may be interior areas with high ceilings that are accessible to vehicular traffic and could accommodate heavy vehicles. The structural engineer must assess the potential use of such spaces and select a live load that is consistent with the intended use. If the selected design load is less than 12 kPa, clearly visible signage is required to indicate the maximum gross vehicle weight permitted. If there is a risk of overweight trucks from entering these areas, physical barriers may be appropriate provided they do not compromise the height of vehicles for the intended use from entering the area. Download
2018 18-0065 Grade Requirements for Venting Systems 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0065 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Grade Requirements for Venting Systems Keywords: Vent Pipe, Grade Building Code Reference(s): 2.5.6.1.(1), 2.5.6.4. Question: Can a pipe in a venting system be installed with negative slope or must vent pipes grade upwards towards outside air? Interpretation: Sentence 2.5.6.1.(1) states that vent pipes shall be installed without depressions in which moisture can collect. With the foregoing in mind, this means that as long as the vent pipe is installed with grade downwards to a point that water will drain out (such as connecting to another vent pipe), the installation would be compliant with the BCPC. There is no BCPC requirement that pipes in a venting system grade upwards toward outside air. The BCPC only requires that the venting system is installed in a manner that does not trap water which would then prevent air from circulating in the drain, waste and vent (DWV) system. Download
2018 18-0066 Mezzanine access to exit via another Storey 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0066 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Mezzanine access to exit via another storey Keywords: Mezzanine egress, access to exit Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.1.1, 3.2.8.1, 3.2.8.2, 3.4.2.2 Question: Sentence 3.4.2.2.(1) requires mezzanines to be served by means of egress leading to exits accessible at the mezzanine level on the same basis as floor areas, unless Sentence 3.4.2.2.(2) can be met. If Sentence 3.4.2.2.(2) is not met, Sentence 3.4.2.2.(3) permits one of the means of egress to be via the stair providing access to the mezzanine level. Can the required second means of egress be via a door in a fire separation into another storey (different from the storey that contains the mezzanine) that happens to be located at the same level as such mezzanine, and from there, via the floor area access to the exit? Refer to the explanatory cross section Diagram below. Interpretation: No. Assuming the mezzanine is intended to be designed to Article 3.2.1.1, the required means of egress cannot be via a fire separation into another storey (different from the storey within which the mezzanine is located) and from there, via the floor area access to the exit serving that other storey; even if the other storey happens to be located at the same level as the mezzanine. Refer to the explanatory cross section Diagram below. The intent statement for Sentence 3.4.2.2.(1) indicates: "To limit the probability that egress routes from a mezzanine will become untenable in a fire situation during the time involved in reaching the exits accessible at mezzanine level, which could lead to delays in the evacuation or movement of persons to a safe place, which could lead to harm to persons". When the Building Code uses the term "floor area", consistent with its definition, it typically implies located on the same storey as the area, room, or mezzanine served (within the same fire compartment). Download
2018 18-0067 Fire Separation or Fire Rating of Roof over Elevator Hoistway 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0067 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 4 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire separation or fire rating of roof over elevator hoistway Keywords: Roof fire separation, roof fire resistance rating, elevator hoistway Building Code Reference(s): 3.5.2.1.(1), 3.5.3.1.(1), 3.2.2.14., 3.1.8.3, 3.6.3.1.(2) Question: Sentence 3.5.3.1.(1) requires that a vertical service space used as an elevator hoistway, be separated from all other portions of each adjacent storey by a fire separation having a fire rating in accordance with Table 3.5.3.1. In a building in which a roof is not required to have a fire resistance rating: 1. Is the roof immediately over an elevator hoistway required to be designed as a fire separation? 2. Is the roof immediately over an elevator hoistway required to have a fire resistance rating? Interpretation: 1. This will depend on the elevator hoistway enclosure wall to roof junction details. If the elevator hoistway vertical enclosure provides a continuous fire separation from the remainder of the building, such that the roof immediately over the elevator hoistway is also separated from the roof over the remainder of the building; then there is no requirement to design the roof over the elevator hoistway as a fire separation. Refer to cross section Diagram A below. If the building roof deck spans over and across an elevator hoistway vertical enclosure such that the elevator hoistway enclosure is carried up tightly fitted to the underside of the roof deck, or any gaps firestopped; then there is no requirement to design the roof over the elevator hoistway as a fire separation. Refer to cross section Diagram B below. If an unrated building roof assembly or attic space spans over and across an elevator hoistway vertical enclosure such that the roof assembly or attic space is common to both the remainder of the building and the elevator hoistway, it will be necessary at the roof assembly or attic space to maintain the required fire separation between the elevator hoistway and the adjacent storey. In other words, the portion of the roof immediately over the elevator hoistway must be designed as a fire separation to satisfy Sentence 3.5.3.1.(1), and in accordance with Sentence 3.6.3.1.(2), the roof immediately over the elevator hoistway must have a fire resistance rating not less than that of the hoistway enclosure . Refer to cross section Diagram C below. If the elevator hoistway does not extend to the roof assembly, it will be necessary at the top of the elevator hoistway, to maintain the required fire separation between the elevator hoistway and the adjacent storey. In other words, an enclosing assembly immediately over the elevator hoistway must be designed as a fire separation to satisfy Sentence 3.5.3.1.(1), and in accordance with Sentence 3.6.3.1.(2), this must have a fire resistance rating not less than that of the hoistway enclosure. Refer to cross section Diagram D below. The intent statements for Sentence 3.5.3.1.(1) indicates that a fire in an elevator hoistway or storey is not to spread to another storey by means of the hoistway, or fire is not to spread from a storey into an elevator hoistway. The intent statements for Sentence 3.6.3.1.(2) indicates that fire is not to spread from the vertical service space into the storey that is located at the top of the vertical service space. 2. This will depend on the elevator hoistway enclosure wall to roof junction details. In accordance with Sentence 3.6.3.1.(2), the roof immediately over the elevator hoistway must have a fire resistance rating not less than that of the hoistway enclosure, if the hoistway roof is a required fire separation as previously described in 1. above. Refer to cross section Diagrams C and D below. Note that Sentence 3.2.2.14.( 1) requ ires a roof-top enclosure for elevator machinery to be of the appropriate construction type required under Subsection 3.2.2. The elevator design and installation standard ASME A17.1-2016/CSA 844-16 "Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators", regulates construction at the top of the hoistway, in reference 2.1.2.1 which indicates: "The top of the hoistway shall be enclosed as required by the building code" Download
2018 18-0068 Applicable Requirements for Fabric-Covered Structures 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0068 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Applicable Requirements for Fabric-Covered Structures Keywords: Fabric-Covered Structures, Tents Building Code Reference(s) : 3.1.6, A-3.1.6, 3.2.2.2.(1) Question: Are the requirements of Subsection 3.1.6 for tents also applicable to fabric-covered structures such as yurts? Interpretation: No (except in certain situations). Subsection 3.1.6 applies to tents and air-supported structures. The Building Code Notes in A-3.1.6 state: "The requirements in this Subsection are intended to be limited to certain types of structure. For instance, the word "tent" as used in the Code is intended to refer to a temporary shelter which is used at an open-air event such as a fair or an exhibition. A tent will normally be constructed of a fabric held up by poles and attached to the ground by ties. The requirements for tents, however, are not intended to be applied to fabric structures located on buildings." A fabric-covered structure is assumed to be a long-lasting building, not a temporary installation such as a tent as described in the Note excerpted above. On this basis, it would be subject to the Code requirements for permanent buildings, as for any other type of building. However, there can be many different types of fabric-covered structures or tent-like structures. Structures such as yurts for residential use, including short-term rental accommodation, would be subject to the same requirements as any other permanent building. Fabric coverings that are provided only for weather protection such as for road salt or sand storage in municipal or highway maintenance yards, or for industrial equipment that would otherwise be exposed to the exterior environment, would in most cases not be considered as buildings. There are certain types of fabric-covered structures where it is appropriate to apply the provisions of Subsection 3.1.6., particularly when the structure poses minimal fire risk: • Storage warehouses with minimal combustible content, • Weather protection covering in lumber yards for lumber storage, provided the storage complies with the requirements of the BC Fire Code Section 3.3 - Outdoor Storage. • Farmer's Market tents • Golf cart storage tents There may be unusual or unique aspects of fabric-covered structures where it is appropriate to evaluate the building on the basis of alternative solutions as permitted by Article 1.2.1.1. of Division A, or as a special or unusual structure as described in Sentence 3.2.2.2.(1). The application of Subsection 3.1.6. to other types of structures should be discussed with the AHJ. Download
2018 18-0069 Height of Foundation Wall 21/07/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0069 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 21, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Height of Foundation Wall Keywords: Heig ht, foundation wall, laterally supported Building Code Reference(s): 9.15.4.2 ., Table 9.15.4.2.-A, Question: When applying Table 9.15.4.2.-A is the height of the foundation wall measured from the top of the footing, or from the top of the slab on grade? Interpretation: This depends upon whether the slab on grade can resist lateral loads induced by lateral earth pressures on the foundation wall. If the slab on grade has sufficient thickness and is poured tightly against the inside face of the foundation wall, the height of the foundation wall can be measured to the top of the basement slab on grade. If the slab does not exhibit those characteristics, the height of the foundation wall must be measured to the top of the footing. It is common practice to provide a thermal break between the slab edge and the foundation wall, so the slab could not be used to resist the lateral forces from the lateral earth pressures. Download
2018 18-0070 Exemption of Braced Wall Panels at Porches 15/09/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0070 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: September 15, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Exemption of Braced Wall Panels at Porches Keywords: Exem ption , braces wall panel, porches Building Code Reference(s): 9.23 .13.5.(3) Question: 1. Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3) waives the requirements for braced wall panels on porches provided they meet certain criteria. Does this waiver apply to all 3 exterior sides of the porch? 2. Subclause 9.23.13.5.(3)(c)(ii) requires the roof of such a porch to have roof framing not more than 400 mm oc and attached to the wall framing in accordance with Table 9.23.3.4. Does this mean that everv roof ioist must be attached to the side of everv wall stud? Interpretation: 1. Yes Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3) waives the requirements for braced wall panels in all 3 of the exterior sides of a porch provided that the porch complies with all the conditions described in Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3). Although the illustration on Page 20 of the BC Housing Illustrated Guide for Seismic Bracing (see illustration on Page 2) indicates the 2 end walls of the porch are solid walls, these end walls are permitted to be open per Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3). 2. No There are a variety of ways that the roof joists can be attached to the wall framing. Two variations are illustrated in the Notes to Part 9 Figures 9.23.13.5.(3)-A & B (refer to illustrations on Pages 2 & 3). Figure A indicates roof joists perpendicular to the wall with a wood ledger fastened to each wall stud, each roof joist attached to the wood ledger and the roof joists at each end of the porch to be extended to be attached to the side of the wall studs. Figure B indicates roof joists running parallel to the wall with beams at each end that are attached to the sides of the wall studs Note that the roof joists must be spaced at 400 mm oc. Download
2018 18-0071 Handrail Graspability 16/03/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0071 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Handrail Graspability Keywords: Handrail, Continuously, Continually Building Code Reference(s) 9.8.7.2.(1), 9.8.7.5.(2) Question: In a building regulated by Division B, Part 9, must a required stair handrail be continuously graspable? Interpretation: Yes. Sentence 9.8.7.2.(1) states that required handrails must be continuously graspable throughout the length of ramps and flights of stairs, with the exception of stairs or ramps serving a single dwelling unit where the handrail can be interrupted by a newel post on the bottom tread. This exception does not affect the requirement for the handrail to be continuously graspable. Article 9.8.7.5. is titled "Ergonomic Design". Sentence 9.8.7.5.(2) requires all handrails to be continually graspable along their entire length with no obstruction on or above them to break a handhold. Sentence 9.8.7.2.(1) uses the term "continuously" but Sentence 9.8.7.5.(2) uses "continually". The Note A-9.8.7.5.(2) describes the intent of the continual graspability requirement, to allow a person's fingers and thumbs to curl under part or all of the handrail. The continual graspability is part of the ergonomic design and is intended to ensure that all parts of the handrail are graspable. The requirement for continual graspability is not intended to modify the requirement of Sentence 9.8.7.2.(1) for a required handrail to be continuously graspable throughout its entire length. The sketch below indicates a handrail that is NOT acceptable, because the vertical pickets are the same width as the railing that serves as a combined handrail and the top of the guard, and the pickets interrupt the graspability. Download
2018 18-0072 Limiting Distance in Remote Areas 15/09/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0072 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 15, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Limiting Distance in Remote Areas Keywords: limiting distance Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.15.3.; 9.10.15.2.(2); 9.10.15.4.(3); 9.10.15.5.(3); 9.10.15.5.(11) Question: Article 9.10.15.3. requires using half the actual limiting distance for input when calculating the requirements of Subsection 9.10.15. with exceptions of three Sentences: 9.10.15.2.(2), 9.10.15.4.(3) and 9.10.15.5.(3). Sentences 9.10.15.5.(5) and (11) establish the requirements for combustible roof soffits in the exposing building faces of houses. Is it required to use half the actual limiting distance when applying Sentences 9.10.15.5.(5) and (11) Interpretation: No. Sentences 9.10.15.5.(5) and (11) do not mention limiting distance, so they are not affected by the firefighter response time. Download
2018 18-0073 Travel Distance to Fire Extinguishers on Typical Residential Floors 15/09/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0073 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 15, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Travel Distance to Fire Extinguishers on Typical Residential Floors Keywords: Fire extinguishers, travel distance, dwelling units Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.5.16.(1) of BCBC , 2.1.5 .1. of BCFC , 6.2.1.2.2 ., 6.2.1.4. & A-6.1.1 . of NFPA 10 Question: In a multi -family residential building with public corridors, is the travel distance to the nearest portable fire extinguisher measured from the residential suite entry door? Interpretation: Yes Sentence 3.2.5.16.(1) requires that portable fire extinguishers be provided and installed in accordance with the BC Fire Code. Sentence 2.1.5.1.(1) of the BCFC says that fire extinguishers must be installed in all buildings except dwelling units. Sentence 2.1.5.1.(2) of the BCFC says that fire extinguishers must be installed per NFPA 10. Sentence 6.2.1.2.2. of NFPA 10 says that fire extinguishers must be located so that the maximum travel distance shall not exceed 75 ft, except per Article 6.2.1.4. Article 6.2.1.4. deals with standpipe hose connections, so it is not relevant to the travel distance to portable fire extinguishers in residential buildings. A-6.1.1. in the Annex of NFPA 10 states that the intention of the portable extinguishers is to assist in evacuation. As such, in the context of the Fire Code, the portions of the building that form the evacuation route from the dwelling units are the public corridors that lead to the exits. There fore, the public corridors are the only portion of the building on typical residential floors that need to be provided with portable fire extinguishers and the 75 ft travel distance to the nearest fire extinguisher can be measured from the residential suite entry door. Download
2018 18-0074 L-Shaped Grab Bars in Accessible Showers 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0074 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: L-Shaped Grab Bars in Accessible Showers Keywords: Grab Bars, Accessible Showers Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.2.8.(10), 3.8.3.16.(1), CSA B651 Question: Can the L-shaped grab bar required in an accessible shower be provided by separate vertical and horizontal grab bars? Interpretation: The answer to this question depends on the approach to compliance with accessibility requirements, as described below. BCBC Sentence 3.8.2.8.(10) requires that, except within a suite of residential occupancy, where showers are provided in a building , at least one shower stall in each group of showers shall comply with Subsection 3.8.3. Clause 3.8.3.16.(1)(f) requires these accessible showers to have 2 grab bars. One of these bars is required to be vertical and located near the entrance to the shower, on the side wall where the seat is located. The other grab bar is required to be L-shaped and located on the wall opposite the shower entrance , with the vertical member near the side wall where the seat is located. (Refer to Clause 3.8.3.16.(1)(f) for dimensions.) Clause 3.8.3.16.(1)(f) refers only to 2 grab bars, one vertical and one L-shaped, so using 2 bars to simulate the L-shaped bar would not comply with this requirement. However, these grab bar requirements are significantly different from requirements in previous BCBC editions. There are reports that L-shaped grab bars of the dimensions required for accessible showers, which are different from the L-shaped grab bars required at water closets, are not readily available . Subject to agreement with the authority having jurisdiction, it may be acceptable to install separate horizontal and vertical grab bars that meet the dimensional requirements for the L-shaped grab bar. Alternatively, Table 3.8.3.1 allows bathing facilities, including showers and bathtubs, to comply with Section 6.5 of CSA B651 "Accessible Design for the Built Environment" instead of complying with BCBC Articles 3.8.3.16 (for showers) and 3.8.3.17 (for bathtubs). As required by provision 6.5.5.3 of CSA B651, the L-shaped grab bar is actually replaced by separate vertical and horizontal grab bars. However, in addition to these two grab bars and the vertical grab bar at the entrance beside the seat, B651 also requires another horizontal grab bar on the opposite side of the shower stall from the seat, so B651 requires a total of 4 grab bars for accessible showers. If this option is chosen, compliance with all of B651 Section 6.5 is required, and the BCBC shower and bathtub requirements in Articles 3.8.3.16 and 3.8.3.17 will no longer be applicable. The insert below indicates an acceptable roll-in shower stall in accordance with CSA B651 - 2012. Download
2018 18-0076 Openings near Unenclosed Exterior Exit 16/02/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0076 Interpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s) Question: AIBC, EGBC, BOABC INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 February 16, 2021 BC Building Code 2018 Openings near unenclosed exterior exit Unprotected openings, unenclosed exterior exit, wired glass, glass block, fire compartment 9.9.4.4.(1) Sentence 9.9.4.4.(1) requires unprotected openings in exterior walls to be protected with wired glass or glass block if an unenclosed exterior exit stair or ramp provides the only means of egress from a suite and is exposed to fire from unprotected openings in the exterior walls of another fire compartment or another dwelling unit, ancillary space or common space in a house with a secondary suite. Does the protection of unprotected openings only apply to those exterior walls that are exposing building faces? Interpretation: No. Sentence 9.9.4.4.(1) requires unprotected openings in exterior walls to be protected with wired glass or glass block if an unenclosed exterior exit stair or ramp provides the only means of egress from a suite and is exposed to fire from unprotected openings in the exterior walls of a another fire compartment or another dwelling unit, ancillary space or common space in a house with a secondary suite. The term "unprotected openings" in Sentence 9.9.4.4.(1) is italicized so it is a defined term. According to Division A, Part 1, Article 1.4.1.2. "unprotected opening (as applying to exposing building face) means a doorway, window or opening other than one equipped with a closure having the required fire protection rating or any part of a wall forming part of the exposing building face that has a fire-resistance rating less than that required for the exposing building face. There are two parts to the definition of unprotected opening. The first part is a doorway, window or opening that does not have the required fire protection rating. The second part is a wall forming part of the exposing building face that has a fire-resistance rating less than that required for the exposing building face. Throughout the code, the location of unprotected openings is specified such as in exterior walls of fire compartments or in exposing building faces. Clauses 9.9.4.4.(1 )(a) and (b) specify the locations of those unprotected openings and clearly they are not limited to those openings in the exposing building faces. Sentence 9.9.4.4.(1) only requires the unprotected openings in exterior walls to be protected with wired glass or glass block so the meaning of unprotected openings should be in accordance with the first part of the definition, i.e. doorway, window or opening of any exterior walls, not just those openings in the exposing building faces. Download
2018 18-0077 Application of CSA 8651 for Tactile Walking Surfaces 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0077 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Application of CSA 8651 for Tactile Walking Surfaces Keywords: Tactile Walking Surface Indicators Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.3.1.(1), 3.8.3.1.(2), 3.8.3.2, 3.8.3.9.(3), Table 3.8.3.1, CSA 8651, Division A 1.5.1.2.(1) Question: Where an interior accessible route will comply with CSA 8651 instead of the BCBC, are the tactile walking surfaces required to comply with CSA 8651? Interpretation: No. Clause 3.8.3.1.(1)(b) and Table 3.8.3.1 allows specific accessibility requirements to comply with CSA 8651 "Accessible Design for the Built Environment" instead of the applicable BCBC requirements. Sentence 3.8.3.1.(2) requires that each accessible application as listed on a specific line in Table 3.8.3.1 must comply entirely with either the BCBC or CSA 8651. However, the BCBC and CSA 8651 are not always aligned in the distribution of requirements within their respective documents. In the BCBC, the requirements for interior accessible routes are in Article 3.8.3.2. The applicable CSA 8651 provisions are 4.3 and 5.1, as stated in Table 3.8.3.1. There can be some confusion because the BCBC requirements for tactile walking surfaces are in Article 3.8.3.9, but the CSA 8651 requirements for tactile walking surfaces are in provision 4.3.5. Since 4.3.5 is within 4.3 it would also be applicable to interior accessible routes that comply with CSA 8651. However, Table 3.8.3.1 has a different line for the signage and indicators that are described in Article 3.8.3.9. The applicable CSA 8651 provisions for signage and indicators are 4.3.5, 4.5 and 9.4. This means that a design where the interior accessible routes comply with CSA B651 but the signage and indicators comply with the BCBC would require the tactile walking indicator surfaces described in both B651 4.3.5 and BCBC Article 3.8.3.9. These are different requirements and it would not be logical to apply both sets of requirements. Division A Sentence 1.5.1.2.(1) of the BCBC states "In case of conflict between the provisions of this Code and those of a referenced document, the provisions of this Code shall govern." The differing requirements for tactile walking surfaces, when both sets of requirements may be applicable, are a conflict between the BCBC and CSA B651. Therefore, in that condition, the BCBC requirements will govern. Clause 3.8.3.1.(1)(b), which permits the use of specific provisions of CSA B651, states that buildings can be designed in accordance with the applicable provisions of CSA B651. In this case, the tactile walking surface requirements of CSA B651 are not applicable, where they conflict with the BCBC requirements . It is interpreted that, where a specific accessibility application of the BCBC is addressed in Table 3.8.3.1, that application can individually comply with either the BCBC or CSA B651. For example, because tactile walking surfaces are addressed in BCBC Article 3.8.3.9, they are not required to comply with B651 4.3 which is referenced from BCBC Article 3.8.3.2. The designer can choose whether to follow the BCBC or the CSA B651 requirements Download
2018 18-0078 Combustible Exterior Soffits or Ceilings in a Noncombustible Building 20/10/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0078 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: October 20, 2020 (Revised March 16, 2021) Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Combustible Exterior Soffits or Ceilings in a Noncombustible Building Keywords: soffits, combustible , noncombustible build ing Building Code Reference(s): 3.1 .5.1., 3.1 .5.5., 3.1 .5.12.(3) & (4), 3.1.5.24. Question: 1. Are combustible exterior soffits or ceilings permitted in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction? 2. Can a combustible cladding material that meets the requirements of Article 3.1.5.5., including testing to CAN/ULC S134, be used as an exterior soffit or ceiling in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. 3. Can a material that meets the requirements of Sentences 3.1.5.1.(2) to (4) , including testing to CAN/ULC S 135 be used as an exterior soffit or ceiling in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. Interpretation: 1. No (with one exception) Except as described in Article 3.1.5.24., there are no provisions in Subsection 3.1.5. that permit the use of exterior combustible soffits or ceilings in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. Sentences 3.1.5.1 2.(3) & (4) permit some use of interior combustible ceilings, but there is no similar provision for exterior combustible soffits or ceilings. Article 3.1.5.24. permits the use of decorative wood cladding on exterior fascias and soffits of marquees or canopies on the building face of a storey having direct access to a street or access route. This wood cladding must be fire retardant treated and conditioned in conformance with ASTM D-2898 before being tested to CANIULC S102 for maximum flame spread rating of 25 as required by Sentence 3.1.4.5.(1 )(b). 2. No Article 3.1.5.5. permits the use of combustible cladding when tested to CAN/ULC S134, but this test is based on a vertical orientation of the cladding when the full-scale wall assembly is tested. Combustible soffits or ceilings in a horizontal orientation would be subjected to much higher temperatures under fire conditions, so CAN/ULC S134 is not the appropriate test for exterior soffits or ceilings. Note that alternative solutions must demonstrate that the measures in the alternative solution will achieve at least the level of performance required by Clause 1.2.1.1.(1 )(b) of Division A. Since the use of exterior combustible soffits or ceilings is not addressed in the building code, the level of performance has not been established within the building code itself, so alternative solutions may not be appropriate for use in this matter. Some authorities having jurisdiction may accept a comprehensive technical report to justify the use of combustible cladding that has been tested to CANIULC S134 in exterior soffits or ceilings. This report would have to demonstrate that the exterior combustible soffits or ceilings provide a level of performance that is safe for its intended use. 3. Yes Materials that pass the CAN/ULC S135 test and meet the additional requirements of Sentences 3.1.5.1.(2) to (4) are permitted to be used in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction. Therefore, they would be permitted to be used in exterior soffits. Download
2018 18-0079 Geotechnical Field Review on a Continuous Basis 17/11/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0079 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: November 17, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Geotechnical Field Review on a Continuous Basis Keywords: Field review, deep foundations, engineered fills, retaining structures, continuous basis Building Code Reference(s): 4.2.2.3.(1) and 4.2.2.3.(2)(a) Question: Sentence 4.2.2.3.(1) requires that geotechnical field reviews associated with excavation and foundation systems for buildings be carried out by the designer (i.e. the geotechnical engineer of record - GER) or by another suitably trained person to ascertain that the subsurface conditions are consistent with the design and that the construction is carried out in accordance with the design and good engineering practice. Clause 4.2.2.3.(2)(a) requires that such field review be provided on a continuous basis for the following aspects: 1. Deep foundation units, 2. Installation and removal of retaining structures and related backfill operations, and 3. Engineered fill that supports foundation units. Does the term "continuous basis" mean that the designer or by another suitably trained person must be present on the jobsite 100% of the time when these activities are underway? Interpretation: No, (except in certain circumstances). Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (the Association) is the regulatory and licensing body for the engineering and geoscience professions in British Columbia (BC). To protect the public, the Association establishes, maintains, and enforces standards for the qualification and practice of its members and licensees. The Association provides various practice resources to its members and licensees to assist them in meeting their professional and ethical obligations under the Engineers and Geoscientists Act. One of those resources is professional practice guidelines, which establish the standard of practice for specific professional activities. The Association works with experts in their fields to develop professional practice guidelines where additional guidance is beneficial or required. These Professional Practice Guidelines - Geotechnical Engineering Services for Building Projects provide guidance on professional practice for Engineering Professionals who carry out geotechnical engineering services related to building projects in British Columbia. This Guideline was originally published in March 1998 and was recently updated on September 17, 2020. The Guideline outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Geotechnical Engineer of Record (GER) and specifically addresses "field reviews on a continuous basis" in Subsection 3.3.4. on Page 16 of the Guideline as indicated below: Conduct Field Reviews, including construction observation and testing that the GER deems necessary to form a professional opinion about the geotechnical aspects of the work undertaken by the contractor, and to appropriately complete the Letters of Assurance for the Authority Having Jurisdiction. In cases where Field Review is required on a "continuous" basis as per Division B, Subsection 4.2.2.3(2) of the BCBC or VBBL, the GER must ensure that methods and techniques are defined and documented that meet the intent of continuous Field Review. This should include the identification of qualified person(s) who provide the necessary observations, the required records of such observations, and the nature of supervision provided by the GER. During Field Reviews, confirm that work quality is sufficient to support the design intent, promote safety, and limit movement, especially if any of these could affect off-site and/or vulnerable buildings. Provide observations, testing, advice, and recommendations to facilitate the successful completion of the geotechnical related aspects of the building. As described in the definition of field review, the frequency and extent of field review is at the professional discretion of the GER and can vary depending upon soil, groundwater & weather conditions, site & design complexity, expected performance, and contractor workmanship and efficiency. GERs may use various techniques to fulfill the intent of "field review on a continuous basis" which may rely upon a combination of prescriptive and performance specifications, field review by professional engineers and qualified technicians, field density testing by the GER's firm and third party agencies, and engineering photographs / videos from the site. Many GERs in their professional discretion do provide full-time field review during installation of deep foundations and permanent rock anchors relied upon for foundation support due to the critical importance of these foundation units. Foundations and earthworks are some of the most critical elements of projects, and the least accessible to remediate following construction, so the GER takes this into consideration when establishing the frequency and extent of field reviews. Download
2018 18-0080 Supported Joist Span 17/11/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0080 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: November 17, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Supported Joist Span Keywords: Joist span, footing widths Building Code Reference(s): 9.15.3.4.(2)(b) , A-9.15.3.4.(2) , Table 9.15.3.4. Question: Table 9.15.3.4. provides prescriptive values for the minimum width of footings when the supported joist spans (sjs) does not exceed 4.9m and the footing does not support masonry or flat insulated concrete. Clause 9.15.3.4.(2)(b) provides a prescriptive method to determine the incremental increase to the minimum footing width when the supported joist spans exceed 4.9m. Articles 9.15.3.5. and 9.15.3.6. provide prescriptive methods for the incremental increase to the minimum footing width when the footing supports masonry or flat insulated concrete. 1. For the purposes of the formula in Clause 9.15.3.4.(2)(b), is the supported joist span (sjs) equal to the sum of one half of the clear span of each supported joist that superimposes a load on the footing? 2. If the footing also support roof loads, does the supported joist span include roof joists or roof trusses? Interpretation: 1. Yes The support joist span used in the formula in Clause 9.15.3.4.(2)(b) represents the superimposed load from actual contributing area supported by the footing as illustrated in diagram 1 on Page 2. 2. Yes If the footing supports a roof load, the formula in Clause 9.15.3.4.(2)(b) must include the superimposed load from actual contributing roof area supported by the footing as illustrated in diagram 2 on Page 2. Download
2018 18-0081 Engineering Design of Guards 16/03/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0081 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Engineering Design of Guards Keywords : Guards, professional engineer Building Code Reference(s): Division B, Part 9; 9.8.8.2.(4) Question: There are typical guard designs that are frequently repeated in single dwelling units. Would it be reasonable to use these typical guards for a dwelling unit regulated under Part 9 without a professional seal of a registered professional with training and experience in structural design? Interpretation: Yes, with conditions. Sentence 9.8.8.2.(4) states that guards within a dwelling unit and exterior guards serving not more than two dwelling units need not comply with Table 9.8.8.2. for loads provided the guard construction used has been demonstrated to provide the effective performance. If the typical guard construction meets this criterion, it can be installed without the involvement of a structural engineer. Note that some authorities having jurisdiction may require guards to be designed by a registered professional with training and experience in structural design when the guards utilize glazing as the primary structural element (i.e. cantilevered structural glass guards). Download
2018 18-0082 Fixture Unit Load for a Wet Vent Serving a Water Closet 17/11/2020 AIBC , EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0082 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: November 17, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Fixture Unit Load for a Wet Vent Serving a Water Closet Keywords: Wet Vent, Fixture Unit Load Building Code Reference(s): 2.5.2.1., 2.5.8.1.(1), 2.5.8.1.(2), 2.5.2.1.(1)(f), Table 2.5.8.1. Question: When using a 3"x2" Double Y in the horizontal position where one side of the Y connects to a 2" shower drain and the other side of the Y is the wet vent connecting to the lavatory; 1. What is the fixture unit load used when determining the size of the wet vent? 2. Can a 2" branch with a load of 6 fixture units be connected to one side of the 3"x2" double Y in lieu of the 2" shower drain? Interpretation : 1. Sentence 2.5.8.1.(2) states "When determining the size of a wet vent the hydraulic load from the most downstream fixture or symmetrically connected fixture shall not be included." Therefore, since the 2" shower drain is symmetrically connected at the 3"x2" double Y the hydraulic load need not be included when sizing the wet vent. If the lavatory has an 1¼" p-trap the fixture unit load would be 1 and the minimumsize would be 2" in accordance with Sentence 2.5.8.1.(1), which directs the Code user to Table 2.5.8.1.. 2. No, Clause 2.5.2.1.(1)(f) limits the hydraulic load of separately vented branches or fixture drains connected to the wet vent to 2 fixture units. Since the branch which is connected to the 3"x2" double Yin this question has a hydraulic load of 6 fixture units it is not permitted. It is important to keep in mind that if the branch had a hydraulic load of 2 fixture units it would be permitted to be connected to the 3"x2" double Y, howeve r the load of 2 fixture units would need to be included in the load when sizingthe wet vent (if the lavatory is as above then the total load on the wet vent would be 3 fixture units). This Interpretation is consistent with a previous Plumbing Officials Association of British Columbia (POABC) Interpretation #5080 which is attached for reference. Download
2018 18-0083 Door Release Hardware at Exit Lobbies and at Exterior Doors from Exit Stair Shafts 19/01/2021 AIBC , EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0083 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Door Release Hardware at Exit Lobbies and at Exterior Doors from Exit Stair Shafts Keywords: Door release hardware, panic hardware, push paddles, exterior exit doors, exit stair shafts, occupant load, lobbies used as exits, entrance vestibules Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.6.16.(2)(b), 3.4.4.2. Question: Clause 3.4.6.16.(2)(b) requires special door release hardware at every door leading to an exit lobby from an exit stair shaft; and at every exterior door leading from an exit stair shaft in a building having an occupant load more than 100. 1. For an entrance lobby designed for use as an exit in accordance with Article 3.4.4.2., is the special door release hardware also required at all the doors along the path of travel through to the exterior, such as the lobby main entrance door and intervening vestibule doors? 2. For a building having a total occupant load over 100 persons, but having an adjoining portion of the building cut off from the remainder of the building such that that cut off portion only serves its own occupant load 100 or less; would such a cut off portion still require door release hardware at the exterior doors leading from its own separate exit stair shafts? 3. For exit stair shafts serving floor areas having a combined total occupant load 100 persons or less, but adjoining another portion of the building cut off from the remainder of the building such that that portion's occupant load increases the combined total building occupant load to more than 100 persons; would door release hardware still be required for the exit stair shafts in accordance with Clause 3.4.6.16.(2)(b) if the exit stair shafts do not serve such adjoining cut off portion? 1. Yes, if the building occupant load is over 100 persons. It is interpreted that "every exterior door leading from an exit stair shaft in a building having an occupant load more than 100" is intended to include all doors in the path of travel through to exterior open space, including such doors as the lobby main entrance door and intervening vestibule doors. Similarly, and to be consistent with this principle, if below grade and above grade exit stair shafts converge for a building having a combined occupant load over 100 persons, the jointly used interior doors in the path of travel to the exterior door must also have the required door release hardware. This is notwithstanding the below grade exit stairs could be serving below grade levels having a combined occupant load of 100 or less persons. Refer to the Diagram further on. It should be noted that for the purposes of Clause 3.4.6.16.(2)(b) the building occupant load includes basement parkade levels as well. The intent statement provided for Sentence 3.4.6.16.(2) indicates: "To limit the probability of delays in opening exit doors in an emergency situation, which could lead to delays in the evacuation or movement of persons to a safe place, which could lead to harm to persons." If a building has an occupant load of over 100, such that there is a potential for over 100 persons having to evacuate simultaneously through an exit stair shaft through to the exterior, the door release hardware provided at doors in the path ot exit travel will reduce the risk of delay due to the occupant load considered as high or necessitating queuing to evacuate. If the building occupant load is 100 persons or less, there is no requirement for door release hardware at the lobby main entrance door and intervening vestibule doors. 2. Yes. Clause 3.4.6.16.(2)(b) requires the exterior doors leading from an exit stair shaft to have door release hardware if the building total occupant load exceeds 100 persons. The Building Code does not address more complex situations where not all floor areas of the building are served by the typical minimum 2 sets of exit stair shafts. 3. Yes. Clause 3.4.6.16.(2)(b) requires the exterior doors leading from an exit stair shaft to have door release hardware if the building total occupant load exceeds 100 persons. The Building Code does not address more complex situations where not all floor areas of the building are served by the typical minimum 2 sets of exit stair shafts. Door release hardware includes any door hardware that will release the door latch and allow the door to swing wide open when using up to the maximum specified force applied to the device in the direction of exit travel; such as panic hardware or push paddles Download
2018 18-0084 Required RSI for Spray Foam Insulation applied directly to underside of roof sheathing within an attic with HRV Equipment 15/12/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0084 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: December 15, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Required RSI for Spray Foam Insulation applied directly to underside of roof sheathing within an attic with HRV equipment Keywords: RSI, effective thermal resistance value, spray foam insulation, thermal protection, cathedral ceiling, attic, HRV equipment. Building Code Reference(s): 9.36.2.6.(1), Table 9.36.2.6.-8, 9.36.3.9, 9.36.2.6.(3) Question: A Part 9 building located in zone 5 for heating degree-days, has an enclosed attic having heat­ recovery equipment conforming to Article 9.36.3.9, with a ceiling between the attic and the indoor spaces below. If, within the attic, spray foam insulation is applied directly to the underside of roof sheathing and the top chord of supporting engineered roof trusses above the attic, can the assembly thus insulated be considered as "cathedral ceiling" thereby only requiring minimum 4.67 RSI effective thermal resistance (instead of minimum 6.91 RSI effective thermal resistance required at ceilings immediately below attics)? Interpretation: No, unless the attic is fully conditioned as interior space, or if there is no ceiling between the attic and indoor spaces below. Tables 9.36.2.6.-A and 9.36.2.6.-8 set out the expected minimum RSI effective thermal resistance for various types of above-ground opaque assemblies in buildings based on what can be reasonably achieved for typical construction assemblies. Reduced minimum RSI values are given where it is acknowledged limited space is available for implementing increased minimum RSI values, such as for cathedral ceilings, flat roofs, exterior walls, and floors over unheated spaces. For example, a specific reduction to 3.52 RSI is also given for localized conditions such as in Sentence 9.36.2.6.(3) for ceiling assemblies under sloped roofs near the exterior wall where vertical space is restricted. Note A-9.36.2.6.(3) "Reduced Effective Thermal Resistance Near the Eaves of Sloped Roofs", indicates: "The exemption in Sentence 9.36.2.6.(3) recognizes that the effective thermal resistance of a ceiling below an attic near its perimeter will be affected by roof slope, truss design and required ventilation of the attic space. It is assumed that the thickness of the insulation will be increased as the roof slope increases until there is enough space to allow for the installation of the full thickness of insulation required." Therefore, where the attic volume allows for implementing higher RSI values directly above the ceiling, the Building Code expects higher minimum RSI values as compared to building assemblies where increasing the volume or thickness of insulation is not practical. Within an attic space, providing insulation directly to the underside of roof sheathing and top chord of roof trusses above the attic, whether sloped or flat; cannot reclassify these assemblies as cathedral ceilings or flat roofs for the purposes of applying minimum required RSI values. Building envelope integrity, durability, and compliance with Part 10 must also be reviewed when considering applying spray foam insulation directly to the underside of roof sheathing and the top chords of engineered roof trusses. If the attic space is fully conditioned and is effectively interior conditioned space, or if the ceiling between the attic and indoor spaces below is removed, it is not considered an attic space, and the RSI values used for cathedral ceilings could be implemented, subject to all the other building envelope requirements. Download
2018 18-0085 Exterior Foam Plastic Insulation 17/11/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0085 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: November 17, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Exterior Foam Plastic Insulation Keywords: Foamed plastic insulation, rain screen air gap Building Code Reference(s): 9.25.5.2. , 9.25.2.3.(3) , A-9.25.2.3.(3) Question: 1. Is foamed plastic insulation permitted to be installed outboard of an air space that is vented to the outdoors as per 9.25.5.2.(1)(c)? 2. If the foamed plastic is located as described in Question 1, can it be considered as thermal insulation for the building? 3. If the foamed plastic is located as described in Question 1, can it be considered when determining the ratio requirements of 9.25.5.2.(1)(b)? Interpretation: 1. Yes Clause 9.25.5.2.(1)(c) permits sheet and panel type materials described in 9.25.5.1. to be installed outboard of an air space that is vented to the outside. Foam plastic insulation is considered as a sheet and panel type material per 9.25.5.2. 2. No As stated in 9.25.2.3.(3) and A-9.25.2.3.(3), thermal insulation must have at least one full face to be in full and continuous contact with an element of low air permeance. As stated in the Notes to Part 9 - A-9.25.2.3.(3), for thermal insulation to be effective, it must not be short­ circuited by convective air flow through and around the material. The rain screen air gap provides this short circuit which prevent the foam plastic to perform as thermal insulation. 3. No As stated in Answer #2 above, since the foamed plastic cannot be considered as thermal insulation, it does not have any affect of the ratio of outboard to inboard insulation described in 9.25.5.2.(1)(b). Download
2018 18-0086 Plenums in Dwelling Units 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0086 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition : BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Plenums in Dwelling Units Keywords: Plenum, Heat-Recovery Ventilator, Heat Pump Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.4.3.(2), 3.1.5.18.(3), 3.1.5.21 .(2) ., 3.1.5.23.(2) 3.6.4.3, 3.6.5.1., 3.6.5.4. Question: In a building regulated by Division B, Part 3, where a dwelling unit has a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) or heat pump that draws return air through a dropped ceiling space within the dwelling unit such as over the kitchen and bathrooms, are those ceiling spaces required to comply with requirements for plenums? Interpretation: No, if the ceiling space is contained entirely within one dwelling unit. The widespread use of dropped ceiling spaces within dwelling units for return air is a relatively recent design development, and has become fairly common in major residential buildings with the extensive use of HRVs or heat pumps. In the past, in some buildings the return air had been drawn through the floor area of the dwelling unit, to a return air grille directly to an HRV or heat pump. Drawing the return from more than one intake point, through the ceiling space, allows better air distribution within the dwelling unit. The return air is at room temperature . A plenum is defined as "a chamber forming part of an air duct system." For buildings where combustible construction is permitted, Sentence 3.1.4.3.(2) requires optical fibre cables and electrical wires and cables in a plenum (with minor exceptions) to have an FT4 rating . For buildings where noncombustible construction is required , with some exceptions Sentences 3.1.5.21 .(2) and 3.1.5.23 .(2) require wires/cables and non-metallic raceways to have an FT6 rating when they are installed in a plenum. Sentence 3.6.4.3.(1) allows services and other material within a plenum to not be noncombustible, in a building where noncombustible construction is required , and to waive the provisions of Article 3.6.5.1 restricting the use of combustible ducts and fittings within a plenum, provided all materials with in the plenum have a flame spread rating not more than 25 and smoke developed classification not more than 50, except for electrical services that comply with Sentences 3.1.4.3.(2) or 3.1.5.21 .(2) as applicable, or for totally enclosed noncombustible raceways that have FT4 or FT6 ratings depending on whether combustible construction is permitted. The intent statements for Sentence 3.6.4.3.(1) refer to limiting the spread of fire and smoke from one fire compartment to another by means of the plenum. Sentences 3.6.5.1.(1) and (2) regulate the materials allowed for duct systems in plenums. Sentence 3.1.5.18.(3) waives the requirements of Sentences 3.6.5.1.(1) and (2) for ventilation air ducts that are contained entirely within a dwelling unit. Sentence 3.6.5.1.(3) makes a similar statement to allow combustible ducts within a dwelling unit. In other words, there is no need to apply Sentence 3.6.4 .3.(1) to ventilation ducts that are entirely within a dwelling unit. For both Sentences 3.1.5.18.(3) and 3.6.5.1.(3), the Building Code intent statement states that these materials are deemed to insignificantly contribute to fire growth and spread. However, Sentence 3.6.5.4.(2) still requires a maximum flame spread rating of 25 and maximum smoke developed classification of 50 for coverings, linings, adhesives and insulation for ducts and plenums. The intent statement for this requirement refers to limiting fire and smoke spread to other parts of the building by means of the air duct systems. The Building Code intent statements for the requirements in Subsection 3.1 that limit the electrical services in a plenum are similar to each other, and refer to limiting the spread of fire along the surface of electrical services. Sentences 3.1.5.18.(3) and 3.6 .5.1.(3) represent some recognition in the Building Code that services contained entirely with a dwelling unit pose a lower risk than in other service spaces. A dropped ceiling space within one dwelling unit is different from a typical plenum in most other buildings. The dwelling unit is required to be separated from the remainder of the building by 45 min . or 1 h fire separations, so that a Code-complying ceil ing space will have no openings for fire to spread to another fire compartment. Therefore, the intent of limiting fire spread along the services would be to limit the fire spread within one dwelling unit. Within a dwelling unit, fire spread along wiring, cables or raceways in a dropped ceiling is unlikely to be more hazardous than fire spread through the occupied areas of the unit. If the return air is drawn through the living area of a dwelling unit instead of the ceiling space, there would be no additional plenum requirements for the living area. The return air for a HRV or heat pump typically does not have any installed ductwork. The return air passes through the dropped ceiling to the HRV or heat pump. This is not a typica l plenum such as in an office or other commercial building , where air from a plenum is usually drawn from an entire floor area to a shaft that serves multiple fire compartments. Based on the related Building Code requirements and on the characteristics of the return air through an in-suite dropped ceiling , it would not be reasonable to apply the plenum requirements to a dropped ceiling space within one dwelling unit. Download
2018 18-0087 Measuring LO to an ROW or Crown Land 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0087 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Measuring LO to an ROW or Crown land Keywords: Limiting Distance, Crown land, ROW, Spatial Separation Building Code Reference(s): Division A 1.4.1.2.(1) definition of limiting distance Division B 3.2.3.1.(1), 9.10.15. Question: 1. Can the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) consider Crown land, bodies of water and right of ways (ROW) similar to a "public thoroughfare" in applying the Code definition of limiting distance? 2. Is there a difference in risk of exposure if the limiting distance extends onto land with a ROW vs Crown land or other legal parcel? 3. Does the AHJ have the authority to accept a design where the limiting distance is measured other than a property line, centre line of a public thoroughfare or to an imaginary line between two buildings on the same property? Interpretation: 1. Yes, with conditions. The Code requires that limiting distance is measured to a property line, centre line of a street, lane or public thoroughfare or to an imaginary line between two buildings on the same property. As a ROW, Crown land or bodies of water do not meet the definition of street, lane or public thoroughfare the limiting distance should be measured to the property line. However, as the objective of Subsections 3.2.3., 9.10.15 and 9.10.14 are to limit the probability of fire spread from building to building, it may be reasonable to extend the limiting distance beyond the property line, provided the AHJ: • agrees that the risk of development of the adjacent parcel is improbable, • a legal agreement is registered on title to bring the building into compliance should the site conditions change in the future. (note the covenant should be on the parcel of land under development, not the adjacent parcel). The legal agreement can be in the form of a fenestration covenant or a no-build covenant, and • The applicant prepares and submits the proposal as an alternative solution This is consistent with Building Code appeals 1562 and 1837 attached for reference. 2. No, The BC Building Code only prescribes measuring limiting to a property line, centre line of a street or to an imaginary line between two buildings on the same property. The Code does not take into account the ownership of the adjacent parcel (i.e. Crown land or ROWs). The level of risk should be reviewed by the local authority, and a legal professional. 3. This question is not appropriate for this Committee. Municipal authorities are granted under the Local Government Act and Community Charter, not the BC Building Code. This question should be brought to a legal professional. Download
2018 18-0088 Minimum Size for Building Drain Cleanout 16/03/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0088 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Minimum Size for Building Drain Cleanout Keywords: Cleanout, Building Drain, Size Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.7.1.(6), 2.4.7.2.(2), 2.4.9.4.(1), Table 2.4.10.6.-C, Table 2.4.10.9. Question: What is the minimum size cleanout for a building drain? Interpretation: Sentence 2.4. 7 .1.(6) requires a clean out be provided which conforms with Sentence 2.4.7.2.(2), minimum 4" in size, located as close as practical to the place where a building drain leaves a building. These are two distinct Sentences within the BCPC and Sentence 2.4.7.2.(2) would still apply to any other drainage system pipe defined as a building drain (i.e., storm or sanitary). This results in any pipe which is defined as a building drain requiring a cleanout fitting of minimum 4" in size. Sentence 2.4.7.2.(2) was a new requirement in the 2018 BCPC which has led to requiring a minimum 4" cleanout on all building drains regardless of building drain size. The Committee feels this may have been an unintended consequence of adding this Sentence, however a Code change request would be required to have this corrected. Download
2018 18-0089 Floor Drain Requirements in a Single Family Dwelling with a Secondary Suite 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC Fiie No: 18-0089 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Floor Drain Requirements in a Single Family Dwelling with a Secondary Suite Keywords: Floor Drain, Dwelling Unit, Secondary Suite Building Code Reference(s): 9.31.4.3.(1) Question: In a single family dwelling containing a secondary suite located in the basement of a building, where gravity drainage to a sewer is possible, is a floor drain required in the secondary suite in addition to a floor drain located in the mechanical room which forms a part of the main dwelling unit? Interpretation: No, Sentence 9.31.4.3.(1) requires a floor drain in a basement forming part of a dwelling unit where gravity drainage to a sewer is possible. The Code does not specify the location of the floor drain and does not require an additional floor drain in the secondary suite. As always, the BCBC provides for the minimum requirements for buildings and an owner may wish to consider the effectiveness of providing only one floor drain in the building described above. Download
2018 18-0090 Doorway emptying onto ramp, length of landing 15/12/2020 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0090 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: December 15, 2020 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Doorway emptying onto ramp, length of landing Keywords: Landing length, ramp, doorway, end wall Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.6 .4.(5) Question: For ramps not designed for use by persons with disabilities, Sentence 3.4.6.4.(5) requires that where a doorway empties onto a ramp through an end wall, a level area is required across the ramp width and for a 900mm length. Does this mean that a 900mm door at the end wall, emptying onto the ramp landing, can swing up to or even over the edge of the landing where it meets the sloping part of the ramp? Interpretation: Yes. For ramps not used by persons with disabilities, Sentence 3.4.6.4.(5) and its intent statements consider that a minimum 900mm long landing, where a doorway empties onto a ramp through an end wall, will provide sufficient space to avoid tripping and falling, congestion or delays during evacuation, or for emergency responders. Refer to the following diagram: Practically however, depending on whether the ramp slopes up or down, there may be conflict between the ramp surface and the edge of the door swing, if the door is wider than the landing length. This situation is not addressed by the Building Code. However, it is good design practice to allow the door to have its swing entirely over a level surface. Download
2018 18-0092 Power Actuated Fasteners and Drop-in Anchors 16/03/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0092 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Power Actuated Fasteners and Drop-in Anchors Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Question: Power actuated fasteners, drop-in anchors, tension loads 4.1 .8.18.(?)(d), Table 4.1.8.18. Can power actuated fasteners and drop-in anchors be used for connections to the structure of elements and components listed in Table 4.1.8.18. when they are subjected to very small tension loads in the range of 50N to 100N? Interpretation: No Clause 4.1.8.18.(?)(d) prohibits the use of power actuated fasteners and drop-in anchors for elements and components listed in Table 4.1.8.18. when they are subject to any tension load, particularly when the tension loading is cyclical imposed by seismic response. The only locations where power actuated fasteners and drop-in anchors can be used are as follows: • For elements and components that are not listed in Table 4.1.8.18., and • For fasteners and anchors that are not subjected to tension loads. Commentary J of the Structural Commentaries (User's Guide - NBC 2015: Part 4 of Division B) states in Item 237 for Sentence 4.1.8.18.(7) Clause (d) the following: Clause (d): Shallow drop-in-type a nd10rs described in ACI J55.2 and power-actuated fasteners, such ,1s nails and studs in concrete must not be used to resist cyclic tension loading imposed by seismic response, as these types of connections are unable to withstand this type of loading. Post-installed anchors are to be used for this application; they should be qualified for earthquake loading in acc0rdancc with /\Cl 355.2 or 1\CI 355.-t "Qualification of Post-Installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Commentary." Refer also to previous Interpretation 12-0020. Download
2018 18-0093 Firestopping of Outlet Boxes 19/01/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0093 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: January 19, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Firestoppi ng of outlet boxes Keywords: Firestopping, outlet boxes, combustible outlet boxes, noncombustible outlet boxes, FT rating Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.9.1., 3.1.9.2., 3.1.9.3., 3.1.9.4. Question: 1. Is firestopping required for combustible outlet box penetrations of a fire rated assembly? 2. Is firestopping required for noncombustible outlet box penetrations of a fire rated assembly? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Sentence 3.1.9.3.(5) permits combustible outlet boxes to be used in a fire rated assembly without being incorporated in the fire test referenced in Sentence 3.1.9.2.(1), provided the opening through the membrane is not more than 0.016m2. However, Sentences 3.1.9.1.(2) and (3) require FT rated firestopping for penetrations of firewalls, horizontal fire separations designed to Article 3.2.1.2, and fire separations designed to Sentence 3.6.4.2.(2). In addition, Sentence 3.1.9.4.(1)requires that FT rated firestopping be provided, based on CAN/ULC-S115, "Fire Tests of Firestop Systems", at outlet boxes penetrating a membrane forming part of a fire rated assembly. 2. Yes, except for certain situations. Sentence 3.1.9.1.(1) requires that penetrations of a fire separation or a membrane forming part of a fire rated assembly, be: a) Firestopped based on CAN/ULC-S115, "Fire Tests of Firestop Systems", b) Cast in place, or c) Tightly fitted. In addition, Sentences 3.1.9.1.(2) and (3) require FT rated firestopping based on CAN/ULC- S115, "Fire Tests of Firestop Systems", for penetrations of firewalls, horizontal fire separations designed to Article 3.2.1.2, and fire separations designed to Sentence 3.6.4.2.(2). Sentence 3.1.9.4.(1) further requires that FT rated firestopping be provided at outlet boxes penetrating a membrane forming part of a fire rated assembly, except for vertical fire separations, or a membrane forming part of a fire rated assembly, if the following limitations are met for the outlet boxes: - Maximum area 0.016m2 with an aggregate area of 0.065m2 in any 9.3m2 of surface area, - Annular space between the membrane and the noncombustible outlet box must not exceed 3mm. The following therefore summarizes the firestopping requirements for outlet boxes: Penetrated Assembly Outlet Box type Firestop Comments exceptions Code Reference Ceiling membrane Combustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(1) forming part of fire 3.1.9.4.(1l rated assembly, or Noncombustible FT rated Firestopping not required if: 3.1.9.1.(1) horizontal fire ■ Maximum area 0.016m2 3.1.9.4.(1) rated assemblies ■ Aggregate area 0.065m2 in any 3.1.9.4.(2) (except as 9.3m2 surface area provided further ■ Annular space between on) membrane and noncombustible outlet box _s 3 mm Ceiling membrane forming part of fire rated assembly designed to 3.6.4.2.(2) Combustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(3) Noncombustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(3) Floors / Roofs designed to Article 3.2.1.2. Combustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(2) Noncombustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(2) Vertical Fire Separations Combustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(1) 3.1.9.4.(1) Vertical Fire Separations (except for firewalls) Noncombustible FT rated Firestopping not required if: ■ Maximum area 0.016m2 • Aggregate area 0.065m2 in any 9.3m2 surface area ■ Annular space between membrane and noncombustible outlet box_:: 3mm 3.1.9.1.(1) 3.1.9.4.(1) 3.1.9.4.(2) Firewalls Combustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(2) Noncombustible FT rated 3.1.9.1.(2) Notes: 1. The Notes to Part 3, A-3.1.9.4 for Outlet Boxes indicates: For the purposes of Article 3.1.9.4, outlet boxes include, but are not limited to, electrical boxes, junction boxes, high and low voltage outlets, switches, enclosures for electrical equipment, laundry boxes, and shower diverters. 2. In addition to firestopping requirements, Sentence 3.1.9.4.(3) requires that outlet boxes at opposite sides of a vertical fire separation be separated by a minimum 600mm horizontal distance, or fireblocking conforming to Article 3.1.11.7. 3. Sound separation integrity requirements must also be considered for outlet box penetrations. 4. Refer also to previous BC Building Code Interpretation 18-0021. Download
2018 18-0095 Hold-Open Devices 16/02/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0095 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Hold-Open Devices Keywords: Hold-open, fusible link Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.8.14.(5) Question: Can a hold open device with a fusible link be used on a closure that is required to have a fire protection rating? Interpretation: Yes (with restrictions) Sentence 3.1.8.14.(5) permits hold-open devices to be used on closures, other than those described in Sentences 3.1.8.14.(3) & (4), which are released upon actuation of a heat-actuated device such as a fusible link. Hold-open devices with fusible links are not permitted on closures described in Sentences 3.1.8.14.(3) & (4). Download
2018 18-0096 Calculating the Hydraulic Load From Roofs with an Adjoining Vertical Surface 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0096 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Calculating the Hydraulic Load From Roofs with an Adjoining Vertical Surface Keywords: Roof, Hydraulic Load, Litres Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.10.4.(1 ), Figure A-2.4.10.-8, Figure A-2.4. 10.-C Question: Where a project consists of multiple buildings located on a podium, when calculating the hydraulic load on the area drains located on the podium would one-half the area of the largest adjoining vertical surface need to be considered, i.e., the building's vertical walls? Interpretation: No. The situation described above can be quite common with multiple buildings located above a common parking structure. The need to include the hydraulic load from adjoining vertical surfaces could be onerous considering that these buildings could be high-rise structures of considerable height. Figure A-2.4.10.-B illustrates how the hydraulic load for a storm drainage system is calculated when there are adjoining vertical surfaces on a roof which need to be considered. There may be situations which are very similar to Figure A-2.4.10.-B, such as where the podium slab is stepped, and these adjoining vertical surfaces should be accounted for when calculating the hydraulic load drained to the storm drainage system. However, it would be unreasonable to include adjoining vertical surfaces of a building given the irregular pattern of the building face. When calculating the hydraulic load on the roof of a building one-half the area of the largest adjoining vertical surface would need to be added to the hydraulic load when sizing the roof drains draining to a leader (as shown in Figure A-2.4.10.-C). Download
2018 18-0097 Site Grading for Surface Drainage 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0097 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 (revised) Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Site Grading for Surface Drainage Keywords: Site grading, surface drainage Building Code Reference(s): 9.14.6.1.(1 ), 9.1 6.3.3.(1 ), 5.6. 1.1., 5.7.1.2. Question: 1. For a building that is regulated by Part 9, can a slab on grade covered patio that is open to the elements on at least one side be sloped toward the building? 2. For a building that is regulated by Part 3, can a slab on grade covered patio that is open to the elements on at least one side be sloped toward the building? Interpretation: 1. No Article 1.3.3.3. of Division A describes the types of buildings that can be designed to Part 9. Sentence 9.14.6.1.(1) requires that a building be located, or the building site graded so that water will not accumulate at or near the building. This prescriptive requirement mandates the patio to slope away from the building because it could be subjected to surface water from driving rain. Sentence 9.14.6.1.(1) provides only 2 options for preventing the accumulation of surface water against the building: • building location, or • site grading For a Part 9 building the patio must slope away from the building. 2. No (with some exceptions) Article 1.3.3.2. of Division A describes the types of buildings that must be designed to Parts 3, 4, 5 and 6. Sentence 5.6.1.1.(1) states that where a building component or assembly is exposed to precipitation, the component or assembly shall: (a) Minimize ingress of precipitation into the component or assembly, and (b) Prevent ingress of precipitation into interior space. Article 5.7.1.2. states that: 1) The building shall be located, the building site shall be graded, or water shall be directed away from building assemblies so as to prevent or accommodate the accumulation of surface water against the building or adjacent buildings. 2) Drainage shall be provided to direct water away from assemblies separating interior space from the ground, except a) where the assembly is designed in accordance with Subsection 5.7.2. to withstand continuous hydrostatic pressure, or b) where it can be shown that the lack of drainage will not adversely affect i) the health or safety of building users, ii) the intended use of the building, or iii) the operation of building services. Sentence 5.7.1.2.(1) provides 3 options for preventing the accumulation of surface water against the building: • building location, • site grading, or • directing water away from the building For a Part 3 building it is best practice to slope the patio away from the building, but it is possible to meet the requirements of Sentence 5. 7.1.2.(1) by using a drainage system that directs the water away from building assemblies to prevent or accommodate the accumulation of surface water against the building or adjacent buildings. Download
2018 18-0098 Mezzanine Area, Stair Opening, Layout of Open Horizontal Plane, Visual Access 16/02/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0098 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Mezzanine area, stair opening, layout of open horizontal plane, visual access Keywords: Mezzanine, area, stair opening, open horizontal plane layout, visual access Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.1.1.(3) Question: 1. In calculating the area of a mezzanine, should the opening for the stairs serving the mezzanine be excluded? 2. Are there any restrictions in the layout of the required open horizontal plane adjoining a mezzanine. For example, with an L shaped open horizontal plane layout, some parts of the open horizontal plane may not be visually open to view from the mezzanine. Interpretation: 1. Yes. Clause 3.2.1.1.(3)(a) requires that not less than 60% of the horizontal plane separating the mezzanine from the room or floor space in which it is located is open. The opening for the stairs leading up the mezzanine should be included in this 60% open area. In other words, the area of the stair opening is excluded from the 40% of the horizontal plane permitted for the mezzanine area, subject to the restrictions on visual obstructions in Clause 3.2.1.1.(3)(b) and Sentence 3.2.1.1.(7). 2. No. Clause 3.2.1.1.(3)(a) requires that not less than 60% of the horizontal plane separating the mezzanine from the room or floor space in which it is located is open. There are no prescribed requirements for the layout of the horizontal plane. There are however performance expectations for the open horizontal plane. The Notes to Part 3, A-3.2.1.1.(3) indicates: "The space on the floor beyond the mezzanine, i.e. below the open portion of the horizontal plane, should, with discretion, be visually open to view from the mezzanine." Download
2018 18-0099 Fire Blocking in a Lowered Ceiling 16/02/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0099 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire blocking in a lowered ceiling Keywords: Fire blocking, compartmentation, fire separations, concealed spaces Building Code Reference(s): Division B, 9.10.16.1., 3.1.9., 3.1.11. Question: Is fire blocking required in a drop ceiling in a single family home that does not have any fire separations? Interpretation: Yes under certain conditions. Fire blocking is required to compartmentalize concealed spaces such as ceiling spaces, attics, and between wall and floor assemblies. The intent of these provisions is to limit the potential for fire to grow in spaces that are unoccupied which contain combustible material and do not have detection or sprinklers. The requirements for fire blocking in a lowered ceiling are based on the size of the compartment not on the presence of fire separations. The size limitations of a lowered ceiling space is prescribed in Sentences 9.10.16.1.(5) and (6) and outlined below: 9.10.16.1. 5) Unsprinklered concealed spaces of combustible construction created by a ceiling, roof space or unoccupied attic space shall be separated by fire blocks into compartments a) not more than 60 m in greatest dimension , and b) where such space contains exposed construction materials having a surface flame -spread rating greater than 25, not more than 300 m in area. 6) No dimension of the concealed space described in Clause (5 )(b) shall exceed 20 m. Download
2018 18-0100 Fire Separation of Rooftop Exit Enclosures 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0100 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 lnterpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire Separation of Rooftop Exit Enclosures Keywords: Exit, Fire Separation Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.7.3.(3), 3.2.1.1.(1 ), 3.4.4.1.(1) Question: Are the exterior walls of an exit stair enclosure at an occupied roof required to be constructed as fire separations? lnterpretation: No, provided the roof has no adjoining enclosures, and provided there are no applicable spatial separation conditions that would fire-resistance ratings for stair exterior walls. Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) requires an exit to be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation with a minimum fire-resistance rating not less 45 min and at least equal to the separation required by Subsection 3.2.2 for the floor assembly above the storey, or for the floor assembly below the storey if there is no floor assembly above. Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1) states that a rooftop enclosure for a stairway used for no purpose other than access or egress shall not be considered as a storey. Since an exit stair enclosure at a roof would be used for no purpose other than access or egress, it would not be considered as a storey. If there are no other rooftop enclosures that would be considered as a storey, the references in Sentence 3.4.4.1. (1) to the floor assemblies above or below the storey are not applicable to an exit stair at a roof. However, the minimum required exit fire separation of 45 min is not specifically related to the floor assembly above or below the storey. The intent of an exit tire separation is to protect the exit from a fire in the building, but an open rooftop is an exterior area of a building. The walls of the rooftop exit stair would be exterior walls, and Sentence 3.1.7.3.(3) states "Exterior walls shall be rated for exposure to tire from inside the building". Constructing exit stair exterior walls as tire separations rated from inside the exit would provide minimal protection to the exit. Therefore, it is interpreted that exit stair exterior walls at a roof are not required to be tire separations. This is applicable regardless of whether the roof is occupied or unoccupied, where the roof is not considered to be a storey. Note that this interpretation addresses only the exterior walls of a rooftop exit stair. The discussion above does not apply to a rooftop exit stair wall that is not an exterior wall, such as between the exit stair and a rooftop service room. A rooftop service room is not required to be considered as a storey i n calculating building height, as stated i n BCBC Sentence 3.2.1.1. (1 ). However, if such a room has a common wall with a rooftop exit stair, the required exit fire separation must be provided between the exit stair and the service room. Download
2018 18-0101 Maximum Size Increase for Trap and Trap Arm 16/02/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0101 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Maximum Size Increase for Trap and Trap Arm Keywords: Trap, Trap Arm, Size Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.9.3., Table 2.4.9.3. Question: What is the maximum size permitted for a trap and trap arm serving a fixture, such as a bathtub, with an 1½" fixture outlet pipe? Interpretation: The 2018 British Columbia Plumbing Code (BCPC) contains no provisions which limit the increase in size for a given fixture outlet pipe in Table 2.4.9.3. In the 1992 BCPC, Sentence 4.9.3.(4) limited the increase in size to one pipe size. This means a bathtub could have had a maximum 2" trap and trap arm. One of the reasons for this provision is to ensure the pipes in the drainage system are self-scouring. This requirement has since been deleted from subsequent BCPC editions with the move to objective based Codes. Given the above statement, discretion should be used when deciding on an increase in size of any drainage pipe and the possible negative impacts of this action on the performance of a drainage system. Download
2018 18-0102 Calculating Effective Thermal Resistance 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0102 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Calculating Effective Thermal Resistance Keywords: Effective, thermal resistance Building Code Reference(s): 9.36.2.4.(1 ), A-9.36.2.4.(1) Question: The formula for calculating the Effective Thermal Resistance of a Wood-frame Assembly in A- 9.36.2.4.(1) yields results that are different than might be expected. If a wall has 50% framing area with RSIF = 1 and 50% cavity area with RSlc = 5, the logical expected RSle11 would be the average of 1 and 5 which would be RSle11 = 3. Using the formula in A-9.36.2.4.(1) the result is RSI = 1.667. Is there something wrong with the formula? Interpretation: No The relationship between RSIF and RS le is not linear when calculating the effective thermal resistance. If 50% of the wall is solid wood framing, the thermal bridging has a much more significant impact on the effective thermal resistance which results in a much lower effective RSI. Download
2018 18-0103 Waterproof Finishes at Stand-alone Bathtub 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0103 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Waterproof Finishes at Stand-alone Bathtub Keywords: Bathtub, waterproof finishes, walls, floors Building Code Reference(s): 9.29.2.1.(1), 9.30.1.2.(1 ), A-9.30.1.2.(1) Question: For stand-alone bathtubs (not physically positioned immediately against or attached to adjoining walls), what are the waterproofing requirements for: 1) Walls, 2) Floors? Interpretation: 1. Sentence 9.29.2.1.(1) sets out minimum dimensions for adjoining wall finishes to be waterproofed, where the bathtub is immediately against adjoining walls. In the case of a bathtub without any shower, the minimum extent of waterproof finish required above the bathtub rim is 400mm; and for a bathtub provided with a shower, 1.2m above the bathtub rim. This gives some guidance as to minimum clearances that should be provided for stand-alone bathtubs if no waterproof finish is contemplated for the walls in the vicinity. In other words, if the bathtub has no shower and is positioned at least 400mm horizontally away from the wall, there should be an acceptable reduced level of risk of water posing a threat to the deterioration of the wall finishes or structure. This clearance should be increased to at least 1.2m horizontally if a shower is provided. However, since specific layouts, designs, and fixture specifications differ, judgement and prudence must be exercised for each specific situation to ensure the integrity and durability of walls in the vicinity are adequately protected. 2. Sentence 9.30.1 .2.(1) and related Notes commentary A-9.30.1.2.(1) addresses the expected performance of floors such as in bathrooms, susceptible to the presence of water escaping from use of showers or bathtubs. Measures are set out to prevent deterioration of finishes or supporting floor assemblies. Download
2018 18-0104 Spray Foam Insulation as Alternate to Roof Venting 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0104 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Spray Foam Insulation as Alternate to Roof Venting Keywords: Spray foam insulation, roof venting Building Code Reference(s): 9. 19.1.1., A-9.19. 1.1 Question: Sentence 9. 19.1.1.(1) requires that where insulation is installed between a ceiling and the underside of roof sheathing (roof space), vents and unobstructed air space between insulation and roof sheathing, must be provided to permit effective transfer of moisture from the roof space to the exterior; except where it can be shown to be unnecessary. Can spray foam insulation applied directly to the underside of roof sheathing be an acceptable alternate to providing the vents and unobstructed air space required by Sentence 9.19. 1.1.(1 )? Interpretation: Yes, under certain situations. The Notes to Part 9 commentary A-9.19.1.1.(1) indicates that the exception in Sentence 9.19.1.1.(1) recognizes that some specialized ceiling-roof assemblies such as those used in some factory-built buildings, have, over time, demonstrated that their construction is sufficiently tight to prevent excessive moisture accumulation. Any use of spray foam insulation applied directly to the underside of roof sheathing proposed as an alternate to required vents and unobstructed air space, must similarly be able to demonstrate performance that the system will not lead to deterioration of the roof assembly. This proposal submission is subject to review and acceptance by the Authority having Jurisdiction. This interpretation is supported by past BC Building Code appeals 1719, 1741 , and 1762. Download
2018 18-0106 Heating and Insulation of Crawl Space 16/03/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0106 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 16, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Heating and Insulation of Crawl space Keywords: Crawl space, floor on ground, Building Code Reference(s): 9. 16. 1.3.(1), 9.18.1.1.(1), 9.36.2.1., 9.36.2.8.(4) Question: Where a heated crawl space under a main floor of a single-family dwelling has been provided with a floor on ground and where a portion of this floor on ground exists above the frost line due to sloping exterior grade (see sketch) does this floor on ground of the crawlspace require slab insulation in the same fashion as a slab on grade? Interpretation: Yes Sentence 9.18.1. 1.(1) defines crawl space as having exterior walls less than 25% of their total area above exterior ground level open to the outdoors. The heated crawl space shown on the sketch has more than 25% of the exterior walls above exterior ground level so it cannot be considered as crawl space. It shall comply with all the requirements for heating and insulation as a slab on grade as per Sections 9.25, 9.33 and 9.36. Download
2018 18-0108 Fire Protection of Structural Steel in a Fire Separation 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0108 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 lnterpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fire Protection of Structural Steel in a Fire Separation Keywords: Fire-Resistance Rating, Fire Separation Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.7.1.(1), 3.1.8.1.(1) Question: Where a structural steel member with sprayed fire protection material is in the plane of a fire separation, with the steel member and the fire separation requiring the same fireresistance rating, can the steel member be considered as part of the fire separation? For example, if a fire-sprayed steel beam is located at the top of a framed wall and is parallel to the wall, can the beam maintain the continuity of the fire separation? lnterpretation: No, unless the steel member has been tested as part of the fire separation, including the temperature rise requirements. The fire-resistance rating of fire separations is determined in accordance with CAN/ULCS101 "Fire Endurance Tests of Building Construction and Materials". For a non-loadbearing fire separation, the failure criteria related to temperature rise on the unexposed surface are a maximum spot temperature rise of 180 °C and maximum average temperature rise of 140 oc. For a loadbearing structural steel member such as a beam exposed to the floor area, the failure during fire testing is typically determined by structural failure. This generally occurs when the steel has lost at least 40% of its initial strength, typically when the steel has reached a temperature of at least 550 °C. For the example of a beam with sprayed fire protection material, the sprayed material would have been tested to limit the temperature rise of the steel and thereby delay its structural failure. However, the structural failure temperature of the steel is much higher than the failure temperature on the unexposed side of the fire separation under the beam. If the beam is at the top of a fire separation wall, only one side of the beam would be exposed to a fire. If the beam is sprayed on all sides, the higher temperature at the steel would not be the same as the temperature on the unexposed side of the sprayed material on the steel. However, unless the sprayed beam has been tested as part of the fire separation, it cou Id not be confirmed that this temperature rise complied with the criteria for a fire separation. Alternatively, subject to agreement with the authority having jurisdiction, it may be possible to conduct a heat transfer analysis to estimate the temperature on the unexposed side of the sprayed material on the beam. Download
2018 18-0109 Cleanout for a 2" Wet Vent Serving a Bathroom Group 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0109 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book 11: Pl umbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Cleanout for a 2" Wet Vent Serving a Bathroom Group Keywords: Cleanout, Wet Vent, Bathroom Group Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.7.1., 2.4.7.4. Question: Can a 2" sanitary tee, installed to connect the trap arm / fixture drain of the lavatory, be used as the cleanout for a bathroom group? Interpretation: Yes, as long as it is installed in such a manner as to meet the following conditions; • The sanitary tee is installed to come straight out of the wall, i.e., it is not turned sideways in the wall cavity necessitating the installation of a fitting (a 45 or 90 degree elbow for example) to direct the trap / arm fixture drain back out of the wall. This is a requirement as access must be provided to the portion of the continuous vent up to the flood level rim of the lavatory, • In the case of a wall which is a fire separation having a fire resistance rating, the entire portion of the 2" connection for the trap arm / fixture drain of the lavatory is outside of the drywall and is rem ova bl e at this point. This is necessary to maintain the integrity of the fire separation, when this portion of the trap arm / fixture drain is serving as the cleanout, and it is used for maintenance purposes. Download
2018 18-0110 One Trap Serving Multiple Fixtures 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0110 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: One Trap Serving Multiple Fixtures Keywords: Trap, Fixtures, Continuous Waste Building Code Reference(s): 2.4.5.1.(2), 2.4.5.1.(3), 2.4.8.2.(1 ), Note A-2.4.5.1.(2) & (3), 2.6. 1.7.(1 0)(c) Question: Can the trap for a kitchen sink be used as a continuous waste for the connection of a pan drain serving a hot water tank? Interpretation: No, Sentences 2.4.5.1.(2) and (3) provide exceptions to Sentence 2.4.5.1.(1) which states that fixtures shall be protected by a separate trap. The situations mentioned in both of these Sentences are well illustrated in the Notes A-2.4.5.1.(2) and (3). In addition, Sentence 2.4.8.2.(1) limits the developed length of the fixture outlet pipe to 1200 mm. A number of Authorities Having Jurisdiction may accept the use of a single trap to protect a lavatory and hot water tank pan drain in certain circumstances. The most common application that this may be permissible is in the case of a multi-unit commercial occupancy where the plumbing is located in a remote location. One of the considerations is that the lavatory and pan drain only discharge waste that is predominantly clear. This is not the same condition as would be present with a food preparation sink in a kitchen or lunch room. This situation may be deemed as an acceptable location in conformance with Clause 2.6. 1.7.(1 0)(c). This Interpretation is consistent with POABC Interpretation #4106 (attached). Another option is to connect the hot water tank pan drain indirectly to the fixture outlet pipe which is consistent with BCBCIC Interpretation #98-01 14 (attached). Download
2018 18-0111 Protection of Structural Wood Elements from Moisture and Decay 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0111 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Protection of Structural Wood Elements from Moisture and Decay Keywords: Structural, wood, moisture, decay, protection Building Code Reference(s): 9.3.2.9.(3)(b) Question: An exterior rectangular deck with solid floor surface, is constructed in a community with a moisture index greater than 1.0 per Table C-2 in Appendix C of Division B. There is constant rain and wind exposure. This deck is structurally supported by beams, and posts which rest on saddle plates. There are asphalt shingles between the saddle plates and support posts. Most of the posts are located at the perimeter of the deck. The wood posts are not pressure-treated with preservative to resist decay. Will this comply with Clause 9.3.2.9.(3)(b)? Interpretation: No, unless moisture accumulation is adequately prevented. Clause 9.3.2.9.(3)(b) requires structural wood elements to be pressure-treated with a preservative to resist decay, where: i) the wood elements are not protected from exposure to precipitation, ii) the configuration is conducive to moisture accumulation, and iii) the moisture index is greater than 1 .00. The Notes to Part 9, A-9.3.2.9.(3) Protection of Structural Wood Elements from Moisture and Decay, indicates: "There are many above-ground, structural wood systems where precipitation is readily trapped or drying is slow, creating conditions conducive to decay. Beams extending beyond roof decks, junctions between deck members, and connections between balcony guards and walls are three examples of elements that can accumulate water when exposed to precipitation if they are not detailed to al low drainage." In this case if the support posts are not pressure-treated with preservative to resist decay, it needs to be demonstrated that measures and detailing (such as at the saddle plates and other junctions) will provide effective drainage, and moisture from precipitation will not accumulate. Download
2018 18-0112 Framing between Main Dwelling Unit and Secondary Suite 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0112 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Framing between Main Dwelling Unit and Secondary Suite Keywords: Wall framing, floor/cei ling assemblies, wood studs Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.3. 1.(3)(a) Question: When a minimum fire resistance rating of 30 minutes is permitted between a main dwelling unit and a secondary suite, Clause 9.10.3.1.(3)(a) permits the construction to be "walls and floor/ceiling assemblies with wood studs". 1. Is the term "wood studs" intended to apply to both the wall assemblies and floor/ceiling assemblies? 2. Can the floor/ceiling assemblies be constructed with engineered wood I-joists? Interpretation: 1. No The term "wall studs" is intended to apply to the wall assemblies only. It is not the intent to restrict the construction of the floor/ceiling assemblies to conventional wood framing such as 2 x 1 O wood joists. 2. Yes Engineered wood I-joists are an acceptable form of construction for the fire separation between a main dwelling unit and a secondary suite provided that all other provisions in Sentence 9.10.3.1.(3) are met. Download
2018 18-0113 Emergency Power for Fire Pump 20/04/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0113 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Emergency Power for Fire Pump Keywords: Emergency power, fire pump, separate electrical feed Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.5.7.(1) & (2), 3.2.7.9.(1 )(b), Question: If a building requires a fire pump to provide an adequate water supply for firefighting, and the pump is an electric fire pump with a separate dedicated electrical service from the local utility provider, is an emergency generator required to provide power in the event of a power failure? Interpretation: Yes Clause 3.2.7.9.(1 )(b) requires an emergency power supply be provided by an emergency generator capable of operating under full load for not less than 2 hours for water supply for firefighting as required by Article 3.2.5.7., if the water supply is dependent upon electrical power provided to the "building". It is interpreted that the fire pump is an integral part of the "building", so even though the electrical power to the fire pump is a separate service from the electrical service for the remainder of the building, this separate service is still electrical power provided to the "building". Download
2018 18-0114 Secondary Suite Second Means of Egress via Window 20/07/2021 File No: 18-0114 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: July 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Secondary Suite Second Means of Egress via Window Keywords: Secondary suite, means of egress, window Building Code Reference(s): 9.9.9. 1.(2), 9.9.9.2.(2), 9.9.9.3.(2) & (3), 9.9. 10.1 Question: With respect to means of egress from a basement secondary suite which is part of a single family dwelling: 1. Can a window with unobstructed opening not less than 1 m high and 0.55m wide, located so that the si ll is not more than 1 m above the floor; be used as the required second means of egress for the basement secondary suite, which is served by an egress door opening into exterior means of egress? 2. If the answer to question 1. is yes, are there any restrictions as to where the window can be located in relation to the egress door? In other words, is it intended that the window used for escape be located away from the egress door such as in at a bedroom, or can it be located close to the required egress door? Interpretation: 1. Yes. For an unsprinklered building, Sentence 9.9.9.2.(2) permits using an openable window sized and located in accordance with Clauses 9.9.9.1.(2)(a) and (b), to be used as a second and separate means of escape where it may not be possible to go in more than one direction from where the egress door opens onto an exterior means of egress (dead end condition). Such escape windows must be provided for each storey of each unit. If the building is sprinklered, the building code does not require the ability to go in more than one direction to an exit from the location where the egress door opens onto a public corridor or exterior passageway (dead end condition). In this case the windows used for escape are not required. Sentence 9.9.9.3.(2) requires that in a house with a secondary suite, if a dwelling unit is located above another dwelling unit or common space, the upper dwelling unit must be provided with a second and separate means of egress where an egress door from that dwelling unit opens onto an exterior passageway, that a) has a floor assembly with a fire-resistance rating less than 45 min, b) is served by a single exit stairway or ramp, and c) is located more than 1.5 m above adjacent ground level. Shared interior exits must be enclosed in accordance with Sentence 9.9.4.2.(2). Shared exterior exits must be protected for exit exposure protection in accordance with Subclause 9.9.4.4.( 1 )(a)(ii). 2. No. Where a window designed in accordance with Clauses 9.9.9. 1.{2)(a) and (b) is used as an escape window in accordance with Sentence 9.9.9.2.(2) in an unsprinklered building, there are no restrictions on the location of the window in relation to the egress door to the unit. However, considering that the window is intended to be a second means of escape, it is good design practice for the window to be remotely located from the egress door. Article 9.9.10.1 requires that if the unit is unsprinklered, each bedroom must have one outside window or exterior door to be used for escape. Download
2018 18-0115 Sizing of Principal Mechanical Exhaust Fan for a Dwelling Unit 15/06/2021 File No: 18-0115 Interpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Question: AIBC, EGBC, BOABC INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 June 15, 2021 BC Building Code 2018 Sizing of Principal Mechanical Exhaust Fan for a Dwelling Unit Ventilation, Exhaust, Heating Season 9.32.2.1., 9.32.3 If an exhaust fan is sized based on non-heating-season ventilation, can the same sizing be used for heating-season ventilation? Interpretation: No. Sentence 9.32.2.1.(1) requires natural or mechanical non-heating-season ventilation in rooms or spaces in dwelling units. Where mechanical ventilation is used, the system is required to supply or exhaust air at a minimum rate of half an air change per hour if the room or space is mechanically cooled, or one air change per hour if is not mechanically cooled. Sentence 9.32.3.1.(1) requires heating-season mechanical ventilation in every dwelling unit that has electrical power. Sentence 9.32.3.3.(1) requires this system to include an exhaust fan that conforms with Article 9.32.3.5, which includes Table 9.32.3.5. The heating system exhaust fan required by Article 9.32.3.5 is the principal exhaust fan in a dwelling unit, and it is required to run continuously. The required volume sizing for this fan is based on the area served and on the number of bedrooms. This is a different sizing method than the non-heating-season exhaust fan, which is sized based on air changes per hour. The fan size calculation must be done using both methods, and the larger calculated size will determine the required fan capacity. Download
2018 18-0116 Mechanical Ventilation in a Dwelling Unit Undergoing Renovations 15/06/2021 File No: 18-0116 Interpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: Keywords: Building Code Reference(s): Questions: AIBC, EGBC, BOABC INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 June 15, 2021 BC Building Code 2018 Mechanical Ventilation in a Dwelling Unit Undergoing Renovations Ventilation, Renovation 9.32.3, Division A 1.1 .1 .2.(1) 1. Do the requirements for heating season mechanical ventilation apply to the creation of a new bedroom within an existing single family dwelling unit that was constructed prior to the BCBC requirements for mechanical ventilation? 2. Do the requirements for heating season mechanical ventilation apply to the creation of, or legalization of, a secondary suite in a single family dwelling unit that was constructed prior to the BCBC requirements for mechanical ventilation? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Division B Part 9 of the BCBC does not provide any guidance for upgrading of existing dwelling units that are renovated. However, Division A Sentence 1.1.1.2.(1) states: "Where a building is altered, rehabilitated, renovated or repaired, or there is a change in occupancy, the level of life safety and building performance shall not be decreased below a level that already exists." The creation of a new bedroom can be assumed to increase the number of people sleeping in the dwelling unit. This would be a reduction in building performance because more people would be exposed to the existing non-conforming conditions. It may be impossible or impractical for an existing building to comply with all of the heating season ventilation requirements of the current BCBC. The Notes to Division A Sentence 1.1.1.2.(1 ) of the BCBC state: "The successful application of Code requirements to existing construction becomes a matter of balancing the cost of implementing a requirement with the relative importance of that requirement to the overall Code objectives. The degree to which any particular requirement can be relaxed without affecting the intended level of safety of the Code requires considerable judgment on the part of both the designer and the authority having jurisdiction." The authority having jurisdiction should be consulted with respect to determining an acceptable level of upgrading. 2. Yes. The rationale noted above for a new bedroom also applies to a new or newly legalized secondary suite. Download
2018 18-0117 Intermediate Handrails 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0117 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Intermediate Handrails Keywords: Intermediate, handrails, stairs Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.1.14.(1 ), 3.4.3.2.(8), Table 3.4.3.2.A., 3.4.3.3.(4), 3.4.6.5.(3), 3.4.6.5.(4) Question: 1. For an exit stair that seNes more than 2 storeys, in a building that does not contain Group B Division 2 or 3, is 1700 mm the maximum permitted width of an exit stair without an intermediate handrail? 2. For a very wide stair that seNes as an exit, are handrails required at each side of the stair plus 1 intermediate handrail? 3. For a very wide stair that does not seNe as an exit, are handrails required at each side of the stair with no intermediate handrail? 4. If an exit stair has an intermediate handrail, does the width of the handrail have to be deducted from the exit width when calculating the exit capacity of the stair? Interpretation: 1. Yes 3.4.3.2.(8) and Table 3.4.3.2.A. requires the minimum width of an exit stair to be 1100 mm. 3.4.3.3.(4) permits handrails and construction below handrails to encroach up to 100 mm on each side of the means of egress. 3.4.6.5.(3)(a) requires a handrail to be reachable within 750 mm from all portions of the "required" exit width. It is interpretated that "reachable" is measured from the centerline of a person's body to the closest portion of the handrail. So the maximum width of an exit stair without an intermediate handrails is determined as: 2 x (750 mm maximum distance to handrail+ 100 mm handrail encroachment)= 1700 mm Refer to illustration on Page 2. 2. Yes (with conditions) 3.4.6.5.(3)(a) requires a handrail to be reachable within 750 mm from all portions of the "required" exit width. Except as required by 3.4.6.5.(4), if the "required" exit width is not more than 1700 mm, the stair could be served by handrails on both sides plus one intermediate handrail with the clear dimension between handrails not exceeding 1500 mm. 3.4.6.5.(4) requires the handrails to be located on the most direct path of travel from the exit. If the direct path of travel does not coincide with one of the 2 sides of the wide stair, then 2 intermediate handrails would be required. The minimum clear distance between these 2 intermediate handrails would be the "required" exit width minus 2 x 100 mm for handrail encroachment. If the "required" exit width exceeds 1700 mm, additional intermediate handrails would be required to suit. 3. Yes 3.3.1.14.(1) requires stairs that do not serve as exits be designed to the requirements of 3.4.3.2.(8), 3.2.3.4. and 3.4.6.1. to 3.4.6.9. This includes the requirement for handrails as described in 3.4.6.5. 3.4.6.5.{2)(a) requires handrails on each side of the stair. A stair that does not served as an exit, does not have any "required" exit width. Since 3.4.6.5.(3)(a) only requires intermediate handrails to be reachable from all potions of the "required" exit width, intermediate handrails are not required for wide stairs that do not serve as exits. 4. No 3.4.3.3.(4) permits handrails and construction below handrails to encroach up to 100 mm on each side of the means of egress. This provision would apply to intermediate handrails as well as the handrails on each side of the stair. Download
2018 18-0118 Guards with Flexible Pickets or Horizontal Rails 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0118 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Guards with Flexible Pickets or Horizontal Rails Keywords: Guards, Openings in Guards Building Code Reference(s): Division B, Part 9; 9.8.8.2.; 9.8.8.5., 9.8.8.6.; Table 9.8.8.2. Question: Clause 9.8.8.5.(3)(a) requires that openings through guards must prevent the passage of a spherical object of 100 mm diameter. Is there a limit of applied force to resist this test? Interpretation: No (with provisions) Table 9.8.8.2. requires the pickets to withstand a horizontal load of 0.SkN applied over area of 100 mm by 100 mm in an outward direction on the guard (i.e. perpendicular to the guard). There is no requirement in Table 9.8.8.2. to apply a load on the picket in opposite directions in the plane of the guard. This prescriptive requirement only applies to buildings subject to Part 4. Due to the silence in Table 9.8.8.2., the Part 9 guard may not meet the performance requirements of Clause 9.8.8.5.(3)(a) to prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter of 100 mm through the guard. It is considered good design practice to use the requirements of Sentence 4.1.5.14.(4) of Part 4 for the in-plane forces on vertical pickets. Download
2018 18-0119 Determination of Fire Resistance Ratings 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0119 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Determination of Fire Resistance Ratings Keywords: Fire resistance rating, ceiling assembly, ceiling membrane Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.7.1.(1 )(, (2), (3) and (4) Question: Sentences 3.1.7.1.(3) & (4) are exceptions to Sentences 3.1.7.1.(1) & (2). Should the wording of Sentences 3.1.7.1.(1) & (2) be revised to acknowledge these 2 exceptions? Interpretation: Yes The BCBC Interpretation Committee has recommended to the Building and Safety Standards Branch that the wording of Sentences 3.1.7.1.(1) & (2) be revised as follows: 3.1.7.1.(1) Except as permitted by Sentences (2), (3) and (4), and Articles 3.1.7.2. and 3.6.3.5 ... . 3.1.7.1 .(2) Except as permitted by Sentences (3) and (4), a material Download
2018 18-0120 Type of Construction for Balconies 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0120 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Type of Construction for Balconies Keywords: Type of Construction, Noncombustible, Combustible Building Code Reference(s): Division B, Part 3; 3.2.2. 11 .(1 ); 3.2.2.20. to 3.2.2.90. Question: Is there a requirement for an exterior balcony to have a fire resistance rating if there is no floor area beneath the balcony? Interpretation: No. Exterior balconies do not have to have a fire resistance rating. Article 3.2.2.11. states that the type of construction must be determined by Articles 3.2.2.20. to 3.2.2.90. Type of construction is a term used in the code to determine if the materials are combustible or noncombustible. Download
2018 18-0122 Limiting Distance in an Area with a Volunteer Fire Department 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0122 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Limiting Distance in an Area with a Volunteer Fire Department Keywords: Limiting Distance, Fire Department Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.15.3, A-3.2.3.1.(8) Questions: Is the limiting distance for spatial separation purposes required to be halved for all unsprinklered buildings in areas where there is a volunteer Fire Department? Interpretation: No, this depends on the capability of the local Fire Department. Sentence 9.10.15.3.(1) requires the limiting distance to be halved where: a) the time from receipt of notification of a fire by the fire department until the first fire department vehicle arrives at the building exceeds 1 O min in 10% or more of all calls to the building, and b) any storey in the building is not sprinklered. There is a similar requirement in Part 3, and Sentence 9.10.15.3.(1) refers to Note A- 3.2.3.1 .(8). This Note mentions that the BCBC response objective is essentially consistent with NFPA 1710, "Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments", and the Note also mentions other response objectives from NFPA 1710. NFPA 1710 is a standard for professional Fire Departments, not volunteer Fire Departments. There is no equivalent NFPA standard for volunteer Fire Departments. However, the references to NFPA 1710 are in the Note, not in Part 3 or Part 9, and therefore they are advisory only. If a volunteer Fire Department can respond so that the first Fire Department vehicle arrives at the building within 10 minutes of receipt of notification of a fire, for at least 90% of all calls to the building, the limiting distance is not required to be halved. Download
2018 18-0123 Exit Enclosure Fire Separation Services Penetrations 15/06/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0123 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: June 15, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Exit Enclosure Fire Separation Services Penetrations Keywords: Exit, enclosure, fire separation, services penetrations Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.4.1, 3.4.4.4.(1 ), 3.1.7, 3.1.8, 3.1.9 Question: Article 3.4.4.1 requires fire separation enclosures of exits. Sentence 3.4.4.4.(1) restricts certain openings or services penetrations of enclosure assemblies of the fire separations required by Article 3.4.4.1. 1. Are building services other than those acceptable in Sentence 3.4.4.4.(1 ), permitted to be contained within the fire separation assemblies required by Article 3.4.4.1? 2. If building services are permitted to be contained within exit enclosure fire separation assemblies, are they permitted to penetrate the membrane of such fire separation assemblies on the outside face of the exit enclosure? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Building services other than those acceptable in Sentence 3.4.4.4.(1 ), are permitted to be contained within the fire separation assemblies required by Article 3.4.4.1, subject to installation in accordance with Subsections 3.1.7, 3.1 .8, and 3.1 .9. A "fire separation" is defined in Division A, Article 1.4.1.2 as "a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire". 2. Yes. Building services other than those acceptable in Sentence 3.4.4.4.(1 ), are permitted to penetrate the membrane of such fire separation assemblies on the outside face of the exit enclosure required by Article 3.4.4.1, subject to installation in accordance with Subsections 3.1.7, 3.1.8, and 3.1.9. A "fire separation" is defined in Division A, Article 1.4.1 .2 as "a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire". Examples of such services penetrations are: electrical outlet boxes located in the public corridor, manual stations, devices associated with permitted security locking systems, etc. This is consistent with past BC Building Code interpretation 06-0099. Download
2018 18-0124 Blocking for L-shaped Grab Bar 18/05/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0124 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 18, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Blocking for L-shaped Grab Bar Keywords: Grab Bar, Blocking Building Code Reference(s): Division B, Part 3; 3.8.5.5.(2); 3.8.3.1 1.(1 )(e) Question: For adaptable residential suites, is blocking for future L-shaped grab bar installation required on the side wall of a water closet? Interpretation: Yes (but there are other options) Subclause 3.8.3. 11 .(1 )(e)(i) clearly states that blocking is required on the side wall closest to the water closet. If there is no side wall, such as when the water closet is between the tub and the vanity, the blocking could be provided on the back wall to accommodate a future cantilevered L-shaped grab bar. Download
2018 18-0125 Sound Transmission Rating of Door in a Fire Separation, Secondary Suites 20/07/2021 File No: 18-0125 Interpretation Date: Building Code Edition: Subject: AIBC, EGBC, BOABC INTERPRETATION July 20, 2021 BC Building Code 2018 Sound Transmission Rating of Door in a Fire Separation, Secondary Suites Page 1 of 2 Keywords: Doors, Fire Separation, Sound Transmission Rating, Secondary suites Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.9.3., 9.10.13.2., 9.11.1 .1.(2) Question: In a house with a secondary suite, is a 45mm thick solid core wood door installed in a fire separation in accordance with Article 9.10.9.3, considered compliant for sound transmission rating when the fire separation in which the door is contained, complies with Sentence 9.11 .1.1 .(2)? Interpretation: Yes. Clause 9.10.9.3.(2)(a) permits use of a 45mm solid core wood door in a fire separation of not more than 3/4h fire resistance rating. Sentence 9.1 1.1.1.(2), which also makes reference to Sentence 9.10.3.1 .(2), requires that for a house containing a secondary suite, each dwelling unit must be separated from sound generating spaces by various options, as follows: a) construction having i) joist spaces filled with sound-absorbing material of not less than 150 mm nominal thickness, ii) stud spaces filled with sound-absorbing material, iii) resilient channel on one side of the separation spaced 400 or 600 mm o.c., and iv) not less than 12. 7 mm thick gypsum board on ceilings and on both sides of walls, or b) construction providing an STC rating of not less than 43, or c) a separating assembly and adjoining constructions, which together provide an ASTC rating of not less than 40. If Option (a) is selected, the 45mm solid core wood doors are deemed acceptable for acoustical performance. The building code does not specifically address the acoustical rating for doors. The referenced note A-9.11 .1.1.(2) indicates: "Controlling sound transmission between dwelling units is important to the occupants' health and well-being. Although this may be difficult to achieve in an existing building, it is nevertheless necessary that a minimum level of sound transmission protection be provided between the dwelling units in a house with a secondary suite. A somewhat reduced level of performance is acceptable in the case of secondary suites because the occupants of the house containing a secondary suite are only affected by the sound of one other unit and, in many cases, it is the owner of the house who will decide on the desired level of protection ..... " Download
2018 18-0128 Fuel Fired Appliances on Balconies 20/07/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0128 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: July 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Fuel Fired Appliances on Balconies Keywords: Fuel fired, appliances, balconies, rooof decks Building Code Reference(s): 3.6.1.5., 10.2.3.2.(1 )(a) & (i), 2.4.3.3. of BCFC Question: 1. Are fossil fuel fired barbeques, patio heaters and fire pits permitted on balconies and roof decks, including ones with natural gas connections? 2. If so, do the requirements of Article 3.6.1.5. regarding clearances to property lines and adjacent walls apply? Interpretation: 1. Yes (with some exceptions) Sentence 10.2.3.2.(1 ) regulates several devices, including space-heating equipment and appliances, with respect to "total energy use intensity", but this Sentence apples to "conditioned space". "Conditioned space" means any space within a building the temperature of which is controlled to limit variation in response to the exterior ambient temperature by the provision, either directly or indirectly, of heating or cooling over substantial portions of the year. Since exterior balconies and roof decks are not "conditioned spaces", the requirements of Sentence 10.2.3.2.(1) do not apply. The BCBC does not address the energy consumption of fossil fuel fired barbeques, patio heaters and fire pits permitted on balconies and roof decks. Many local fire departments consider fossil fuel fired appliances on balconies and roof decks to be a serious fire hazard, particularly in combustible buildings. NFPA's report entitled "Home Grill Fires" estimates that grills, hibachis and barbeques result in an average of 10,600 home fires per year in the USA with an average annual death total of 10 persons per year, 160 civilian injuries and $149,000,000 in direct property damage. 56% of such fires originated on exterior balconies, terraces and patios. As a result, many local fire departments discourage the use of fossil fuel appliances on balconies and roof decks. Article 2.4.3.3. of the BC Fire Code states that "Devices having open flames shall be securely supported in noncombustible holders and shall be located or protected so as to prevent accidental contact of the flame with combustible materials". Although this Article does not ban the use of fossil fuel appliances, it does provide a cautionary guidance on their use. It is good practice to have a fire extinguisher readily available in close proximity to the fossil fuel appliance. Section 2.2. of the BC Building Act provides the authority to local governments to make bylaws or other enactments with respect to conservation of energy and reduction of greenhouse gases. This means that local governments could enact bylaws to ban the use of fossil fuel appliances based on wasteful energy consumption. Designers should consult with the local authority having jurisdiction in this matter. It should be noted that the Article 10.2.2.22. of the Vancouver Building By-Law bans the use of fossil fuel fired exterior heating appliances. 2. No (with some exceptions) The requirements of the BCBC apply to equipment and appliances that are fixed in place. The BCBC does not regulate portable equipment and appliances, even those that are connected to a permanent natural gas outlet. The clearance requirements of Article 3.6. 1.5. do not apply to fossil fuel fired portable equipment and appliances, but does apply to fixed built in equipment and appliances that form part of the building. Download
2018 18-0129 Special Knowledge of Door Opening Mechanism 20/07/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0129 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 20, 2021 DRAFT Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018 Subject: Special Knowledge of Door Opening Mechanism Keywords: Door Hardware, Exit Door Building Code Reference(s): Division 8 , Part 9; 9.9.6.7. Question: Is it acceptable to use a deadbolt lock that requires one full turn or more to open to be installed on an exit door from a single dwelling unit or a house with a secondary suite? Interpretation: Yes. The deadbolt hardware with a separate operation is allowed in a single dwelling unit or a house with a secondary suite. The hardware must be openable from inside of the unit in direction of travel to an exit without keys, special devices or specialized knowledge of the door opening mechanism. Turning the lockset one or more times is not considered to be requiring a special knowledge. Many higher-grade deadbolts use two turns to provide deeper deadbolt extraction to prevent forced entry from outside. Contrary to this, special opening devices or special knowledge is not permitted if in order to open the door one must use a key, keypad, fob, voice control or wi-fi operating hardware that does not have a thumb turn mechanism at the door. Download
2018 18-0130 Expansion Joint Requirements for Dry Vents 20/07/2021 AIBC, EGBC, BOABC File No: 18-0130 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: July 20, 2021 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2018, Book II: Plumbing Systems (BCPC) Subject: Expansion Joint Requirements for Dry Vents Keywords: Expansion Joints, Building Shrinkage, Structural Settlement, Expansion / Contraction of DWV Piping Building Code Reference(s): 2.3.3.9.(1), Note A-2.3.3.9.(1), Figure A-2.3.3.9. Question: Are expansion joints required on dry vent piping systems or can the requirements of Sentence 2.3.3.9.(1) be satisfied by other means? Interpretation: Sentence 2.3.3.9.(1) states that "The design and installation of every piping system shall include means to accommodate expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes, movement of the soil, building shrinkage or structural settlement." This above Sentence is very broad and the requirements would vary depending on a number of factors such as; piping materials chosen, design of the piping system and the specific installation of the system. However, these requirements clearly apply to all piping in a drain, waste and vent (DWV) system. As stated in Note A-2.3.3.9.(1), expansion joints are one way to comply with the requirements of the above noted Sentence. Another consideration is the piping material chosen. As an example, Figure A-2.3.3.9. shows that cast iron pipe has a much lower linear expansion rate in comparison to ABS pipe. Building shrinkage and settlement is another important consideration to alleviate undue stress on the DWV system (including vents). For example, if a dry vent is installed in such a manner that the roof sheathing rests on the pipe in the attic, or a hole is drilled through a floor joist without sufficient space to allow for structural settlement, expansion joints may provide the best means to comply with the requirements of Sentence 2.3.3.9.(1). See attached POABC Interpretation #3072 for further guidance in regard to the installation of expansion joints. Download
2012 12-0001 Maximum width of Support Brackets for Handrails 19/03/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0001 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 19, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Maximum width of support brackets for handrails Keywords: Handrail, graspability Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.6.5.(3); 9.8.7.5.(2) Question: What is the maximum cross-section width of support brackets for handrails that is acceptable? Interpretation: There is no maximum cross section width for support bracket regulated by the Code. All supports for handrails will restrict continuity of graspability of handrails. The design of handrail supports should minimize those interruptions. Sentences 3.4.6.5.(3) and 9.8.7.5.(2) of the Building Code require attention to the ergonomic design of handrails and as a minimum stipulates the shape, minimum and maximum dimensions and circumference of acceptable handrails. These requirements together with the principal of continuously graspable handrail fulfill Objective Statements OS3.1 OS3.7 and protect public as per Functional Statements F10 and F30. The images below show commonly used designs that provide good balance between strong grip and firm support. The first three images are preferable. The fourth and the fifth are breaking the grip in much higher degrees, however are commonly used in many applications. Download
2012 12-0002 Travel Distances in Storage Garages 26/02/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0002 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: February 26, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Travel Distances in Storage Garages Keywords: Travel distance, storage garage Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.5.7., 3.4.2.4., 3.4.6.7., 3.8.3.3. Question: What is the appropriate method for measuring travel distances in an underground storage garage? Interpretation: Since there are many variations in designs of storage garages, the most appropriate method for measuring travel distances for a particular design is left to the discretion of the registered professional in consultation with the authority having jurisdiction. The following design criteria can be used as a basis for measuring travel distances in underground storage garages: 1. As described in Sentence 3.4.2.4.(1), travel distance in an underground storage garage is measured from the most remote location in the floor area to the nearest exit door that leads directly to an exit stair. 2. The travel distance is measured along the path of travel that an occupant would use to reach the exit stair door, assuming that all of the parking stalls are occupied with vehicles. 3. other than the egress path from an occupant's own vehicle, or between tandem parking stalls, the path of travel cannot traverse between 2 parked vehicles, unless there is an 1100 mm wide dedicated pedestrian walkway between such vehicles. This pedestrian walkway should be delineated to indicate the dedicated pedestrian walkway (refer to Labels B and E on the drawing on Page 3). 4. If the exit stair has a vestibule as required by Article 3.3.5.7., the travel distance is measured to the exit stair door rather than to the vestibule entrance door (refer to Labels C & Don the drawing on Page 3). If the vestibule is mechanically pressurized under fire alarm conditions, and there are no other rooms opening onto the vestibule, it may be appropriate to measure travel distance to the vestibule entry door rather than the exit stair door (refer to Labels A & B on the drawing on Page 3). This should be reviewed with the authority having jurisdiction. 5. As permitted by Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2), travel distance can be measured from a suite or room entry door, rather than from the most remote location within the suite or room, when the suite or room is separated from the remainder of the floor area with a fire separation having a fire resistance rating of not less than 45 minutes, AND the egress door from the suite or room opens onto an exterior passageway or a corridor that is separate from the remainder of the floor area. 6. Travel distance from rooms that open directly into the storage garage, such as service rooms or storage rooms, must be measured from the most remote location within the room to the nearest exit stair door along the path of travel used by an occupant. As noted in Item 5 above, the travel distance cannot be measured to the room entry door (refer to Label A on the drawing on Page 3). 7. If the internal layout of a room is fixed at the time of the design (e.g. an emergency generator room), the travel distance can be measured along the pedestrian walkway between the contents within the room. 8. If the internal layout of the room is not fixed or known at the time of the design, the travel distance is measured from the most remote corner of the room using 90° corners for the path of travel (i.e. you cannot travel diagonally across a room since it could be filled with furnishings or equipment - refer to Label A on the drawing on Page 3). 9. Travel distance within the storage garage itself can be measured diagonally across drive aisles because it is reasonable to assume that there will not be any contents within drive aisles which could obstruct the path of travel (refer to Labels B & C on the drawing on Page 3). 10. Drive aisles can be used as a means of egress, without any increase in the drive aisle width, provided that the ramp slopes do not exceed those described in Article 3.4.6.7. 11. It should be noted that if a floor area in a storage garage contains parking stalls for persons with disabilities, the slope of the drive aisle in the accessible path of travel cannot exceed 5% when no handrails are provided. If the drive aisle slope exceeds 5%, then dedicated accessible ramps are required in accordance with Article 3.8.3.3. Download
2012 12-0003 Continuity of Air and Vapour Barriers at Pot Light Penetrations 17/03/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0003 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 17, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 (Revised Dec 19, 2014) Subject: Continuity of Air and Vapour Barriers at Pot Light Penetrations Keywords: Air Barrier; Vapour Barrier Building Code Reference(s): 9.25.3.; 9.25.4.3.(2); A-9.25.3.1, 9.36.2.10.(7) Question: Subsection 9.25.3 Air Barriers and Subsection 9.25.4 Vapour Barriers, require thermally insulated wall, floor and ceiling assemblies to be constructed with air and vapour barriers so as to provide a barrier to leakage of air and diffusion of water vapour from the interior into wall spaces, floor spaces, attic or roof spaces. Are pot light assemblies permitted to penetrate the air/vapour barrier located in the floor/ceiling spaces? Interpretation: Yes. In conventional wood frame construction the air barrier and vapour barrier are combined as a single element. The Building Code acknowledges that building services (such as, for electrical, plumbing, mechanical systems) will penetrate the air/vapour barrier. However, the building code requires that penetrations through this membrane for these services (including pot light fixtures) be sealed as air­ tight as possible. In order to achieve this, the building code recommends that special care be taken in the design and construction of the wall, floor and ceiling assemblies to maintain the continuity of the air/vapour barrier. The objectives are to limit the quantity of moisture penetrating the assembly to a level that will dry sufficiently fast enough to avoid material deterioration and the growth of mold (refer to A-9.25.3.1.) and to limit energy losses caused by penetrations in the air or vapour barriers. Similar to other electrical service penetrations there are products available to facilitate sealing the service penetration through the air/vapour barrier. For example, polyethylene boots are available for electrical outlet boxes. The continuity of the air/vapour barrier is achieved by taping the polyethylene boot to the polyethylene sheet used on the wall or ceiling. Additional caution should be provided to the selection of the appropriate pot light assembly. Pot lights are listed for "insulated ceilings" (IC) and "non-insulated ceilings" (NIC). IC pot lights typically incorporate the air/vapour barrier into the pot light housing assembly. Some NIC pot lights can use a polyethylene boot to maintain the continuity of the air/vapour barrier for use in insulated ceiling applications. Care should also be taken to maintain the required clearances between pot lights and adjacent combustible materials. IC pots lights are typically designed for zero clearance to adjacent combustible materials, but NIC pot lights can present a fire hazard if they are in close proximity to adjacent combustible materials. Refer to the pot light manufacturer's installation instructions for guidance. It should be noted that Article 9.36.2.10. of the December 19, 2014 revisions to the 2012 BCBC has additional requirements for the construction of air barriers. Sentence 9.36.2.10.(1) requires that materials used for air barriers must comply with CAN/ULC-S741. Sentence 9.36.2.10.(2) requires that air barriers materials must be compatible with adjoining materials and must be free from holes and cracks. Provided that the installation of the pot lights meets these requirements by maintaining the continuity of the air barrier, they are permitted to penetrate the air/vapour barrier membrane. Download
2012 12-0004 Combustible & Non-combustible Pipe Transitions 21/05/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0004 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2. Interpretation Date: May 21, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Combustible & Non-combustible Pipe Transitions Keywords: Fire Stop Assemblies, Transitions Building Code Reference(s): 2.2.10.4.(2) ; 3.1.9.2.(1) ; 3.1.9.4.; 3.2.1.2.; 9.10.9.7. Question: As transitions of combustible and non-combustible DWV are permitted in Part 7 of the BCBC where can they take place when buildings are constructed above a common 3.2.1.2. concrete slab fire separation? Interpretation: Where a project consists of a single or multi storey building constructed on top of a common parking garage the concrete slab above the parking garage is constructed in accordance with Article 3.2.1.2.and the pipe penetrations must include a listed fire stop assembly with a minimum FT rating. Articles 3.1.9.4. and 9.10.9.7. require the fire stop assembly to be tested in accordance with ULC-S115-05 with a pressure differential of 50 Pa between the exposed and unexposed sides of the penetration , with the higher pressure on the exposed side. Also Sentence 3.1.9.2.(1) states that all combustible components of a fire stop assembly must be in place at the time of testing. Part 8 of ULC-S115-05 indicates that the testing apparatus for piping being tested through the fire separation must extend to the dimensions noted above and below the fire stop penetration being tested. This would mean that any pipe couplings, connectors or transition fittings must be in the testing apparatus and if the test successfully obtained the necessary rating the added fittings would be noted in the listing drawing. Such is the case where cUL-F-B-2009 received a 2HR-FT rating with combustible piping through the separation and a transition coupling to non-combustible pipe located at 12 inches above the concrete fire separation. Further information can be obtained in previous Interpretation 06-0070 that explains in detail where pipe transitions can occur above the 3.2.1.2.concrete slab fire separation where Part 3 multi storey buildings are constructed on top of the slab. Note that the 915mm dimension for transitions above the concrete slab is used because it would be above the required height of the fire stop assembly test apparatus indicated in ULC S115-05. Also, previous Interpretation 98-0160 shows the same 915mm dimension for pipe transitions where buildings without horizontal fire separations at the floor levels above the parking garage concrete slab are constructed on top of a 3.2.1.2.concrete fire separation. While a transition can be made anywhere above the noted 915mm any proposed transition below that point and the top of the slab must have a listed fire stop assembly that includes a transition fitting in the listing drawing for the chosen fire stop assembly through the concrete slab It is also noted that where transition fittings are installed Sentence 2.2.10.4.(2) of the BC Plumbing Code requires the mechanical couplings be certified in compliance with CAN/CSA -B602 Standard for Mechanical Couplings used with DWV piping. Download
2012 12-0005 Fire Separation around Service Room Serving one Suite 19/02/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0005 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 19, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire separation around service room serving one suite Keywords: Fire separation, service room, fuel-fired appliances Building Code Reference(s): 3.6.2.1.(2) Question: Is a 1h fire separation enclosure required for a service room containing a natural gas furnace, located in a one storey club building with 450m2 floor area, used as a seniors drop-in centre? The building is operated as a single tenancy, is of combustible construction, is unsprinklered and has a monitored fire alarm system. Interpretation: No. Sentence 3.6.2.1.(2) provides that except as required by Sentence 3.6.2.1.(3), a fuel-fired appliance that serves only one room or suite is not required to be installed in a service room separated from the remainder of the building. Therefore provided the natural gas furnace serves only the drop-in centre, and the drop-in centre meets the definition of a suite per the Building Code, then a fire separation enclosure is not required for the service room containing the natural gas furnace. Download
2012 12-0006 Smoke Alarms Locations within Dwelling Unit 19/02/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0006 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 19, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Smoke alarms locations within dwelling unit Keywords: Smoke alarms, storeys, split level, sleeping rooms, living areas Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.19.3.(1) Question: Subclause 9.10.19.3.(1)(b)(i) requires that smoke alarms be installed in every sleeping room within a dwelling unit. However the Division B Appendix 9.10.19.3.(1) commentary has no mention at all of this requirement. Is this consistent with Subclause 9.10.19.3.(1)(b)(i)? Interpretation: Yes. Subclause 9.10.19.3.(1)(b)(i) is the acceptable solution reference requiring that smoke alarms be installed in every sleeping room within a dwelling unit. The Division B Appendix 9.10.19.3.(1) commentary discusses only the smoke alarm location aspects outside of the sleeping room, as addressed in clause 9.10.19.3.(1)(a) and Subclause 9.10.19.3.(1)(b)(ii); and only clarifies the smoke alarm location criteria for the "living areas" that constitute the storeys of the dwelling unit. The commentary uses the example of split level configurations. This Appendix commentary does not discuss the interpretation of Subclause 9.10.19.3.(1)(b)(i) requiring the smoke alarms within the sleeping rooms, as the code reference is deemed to be sufficiently clear for that requirement. Download
2012 12-0007 Fire Detectors in Elevator Hoistways 19/03/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0007 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: March 19, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire detectors in elevator hoistways Keywords: Fire detectors, smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinklers, elevator hoistway, elevator machine room Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.4.11, 3.2.4.12 Question: If a sprinkler is provided to protect an elevator hoistway, is any other fire detection required inside the hoistway? Interpretation: No. However, this may still be required for certain types of elevator hoistways. Sentence 3.2.4.11.(4) requires fire detectors referenced in Sentence 3.2.4.11.(2), to be installed in an elevator hoistway, if a sprinkler is .not installed in the elevator hoistway. The referenced Sentence 3.2.4.11.(2) applies only to unsprinklered buildings in which case there would not be any sprinkler provided in the elevator hoistway anyway. However even in a fully sprinklered building there are situations where the elevator hoistway is exempt from having to provide sprinklers, for example under NFPA 13 references 8.15.5.2 and 8.15.5.5. It may also not be desired for various other reasons to provide sprinklers in the hoistway. This includes factors such as concerns of discharge of sprinkler water affecting electrical components of the elevator system and the added complexities and provisions of avoiding this, including by pre-emptive system shut downs. It might also be desired to eliminate sprinklers in the hoistway and related automatic elevator shutdown, in order to facilitate reliable use of the elevators under emergency conditions, such as for elevators designated for Firefighters Emergency Operation (FEO) or for firefighters elevators in high buildings. In such cases it is interpreted that in the absence of sprinklers in the hoistway, either heat detectors or smoke detectors are required to be provided in the elevator hoistway. However what is not clearly stated, is whether if sprinklers are provided in the hoistway, is any other fire detection required. Review of the various related regulations and standards, including NFPA 13, CSA B44-07, and good engineering practice considerations suggests additional fire detection may still be necessary in certain situations. Clause 3.2.4.12.(1)(g) requires smoke detectors to be provided in elevator machine rooms. The Building Code does not currently have any definition of elevator machine room, therefore it seems appropriate to refer to the definition provided in the elevator standard CSA B44-07. Definitions are provided therein for control rooms, control spaces and ·machinery spaces which consider the various machine-room-less (MRL) elevators that are now commonly available and used. Most references in the elevator standard to a "machine room" have been replaced with "elevator machine room, machinery space, control space, or control room". Most requirements of the elevator standard for machine rooms therefore apply also to control rooms, control spaces and machinery spaces. In some cases depending on the elevator type and configuration, the hoistway could contain components traditionally found in an "elevator machine room"; would also fall under this definition, and would therefore have to be provided with smoke detection. Depending on the type of levator and hoistway design therefore, it is possible that automatic sprinklers (if no sprinkler exemption available) and smoke detectors would both be necessary in an elevator hoistway. In such cases the benefit of smoke detection for example, would be at least to activate before the sprinklers, thereby initiating elevator recall before sprinkle s have an opportunity to activate and potentially cause damage. It is noted also that the forthcoming elevator standard CSA B44-2010 has been amended and will require smoke detection in machine rooms, control rooms, control spaces and machinery spaces whereas the current B44-07 standard only requires this in Canada for the "machine room" portion. It is currently considered good practice to have smoke detection in control rooms, control spaces and machinery spaces (some of these spaces may actually be located in the hoistway depending on the type and configuration of the elevator). If the Building Code were to interpret that fire detectors are not required if a sprinkler is present in the hoistway, then it will be in conflict with CSA B44-2010 when it comes to MRL type elevators, as CSA B44-2010 indicates a smoke detector is required in a machinery space, which is typically at the top of the hoistway. The appropriate CSA B44-2010 excerpt is as follows: "2.27.3.2.2 In jurisdictions enforcing the NBCC, smoke detectors, or heat detectors in environments not suitable for smoke detectors (fire alarm initiating devices), used to initiate Phase I Emergency Recall Operation, shall be installed in conformance with the requirements of the NBCC, and shall be located (a) at each floor served by the elevator (b) in the associated elevator machine room, machinery space containing a motor controller or electric driving machine, control space, or control room" (The phrase "jurisdictions enforcing the NBCC" is meant to distinguish Canadian jurisdictions as opposed to those in USA) Where fire detectors other than sprinklers are necessary, consideration also needs to be given to providing practical access for servicing, testing and maintenance of fire detection devices. Access doors in fire separations, used to facilitate such servicing, must be listed and have the appropriate fire protection rating. 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2012 12-0008 Area and Location of Exposing Building Faces (of Houses) 18/06/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0008 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 4 Interpretation Date: June 18, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Area and Location of Exposing Building Faces (of Houses) Keywords: Glazed openings, limiting distance, exposing building face Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.15.2; 9.10.15.4. Question: It is proposed to construct the exterior wall of a house such that it steps away from the property line in 3 segments (A, B & C) which will have limiting distances of 1.2 m, 2.0 m and 3.0 m, respectively; 1. How does Sentence 9.10.15.2.(2) apply to this stepped exposing building face? 2. Can EBF's with Limiting distances greater than 2.0 m be subdivided into smaller EBF's (such as segment C in this example)? Interpretation: 1. In conformance with Sentence 9.10.15.2.(2) since segments A & B have limiting distances of 2.0 m or less, no further subdivision of these EBF's are permitted and the EBF area is determined by adding the EBF area of segments A&B (Figure 1). The combined area of the exposing building faces of segments A&B are used in Table 9.10.15.4. Maximum Area of Glazed Openings in Exterior Walls (of houses), to determine the maximum area of glazed openings permitted in EBF's A & B. 2. Yes. For other than houses the code requires the EBF area to be determined by the exterior wall elevation coinciding with an interior fire compartment (Figure 2a). For houses the area of EBF's is not limited provided EBF's have limiting distances greater than 2.0 m (Figure 2b). Download
2012 12-0009 Exterior Egress and Exit Passageways 18/03/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0009 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: March 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Exterior Egress and Exit Passageways Keywords: Access to exit, Exit, Means of Egress, Exterior Passageway, Exterior Exit Passageway Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.3.13.; 3.3.1.15.; 3.4.1.5.(1); 3.4.4.1.(1); 3.4.4.3.; Question: 1. What is the difference between an exterior passageway leading to an exit per Article 3.3.1.15. and an exterior exit passageway per Article 3.4.4.3.? 2. In either case, if the criteria described in Article 3.4.4.3 to waive the requirements of Sentences 3.4.4.1.(1), 3.2.3.13.(1) and (3) are not met, is the passageway simply provided with a fire-resistance rating and exposure protection at windows between it and adjacent suites? Interpretation #1: Exterior Passageway The exterior passageway per Article 3.3.1.15. is an access to exit leading to a required exit. An example would be the elevated exterior corridor providing access for all the rooms of a motel to the exit stair at each end. Sentences 3.3.1.3.(8) and (9) requires each of those rooms of the motel shall have a doorway into that exterior passageway and at the point where the doorway enters the exterior passageway it shall be possible to go in opposite directions to each of the two separate exits. 3.4.2.4.(2)(b)(i) permits the travel distance from the motel room to be measured from the egress door of that room if it opens to an exterior passageway to the nearest exit. Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) requires an elevated exterior passageway such as those in a motel shall be constructed as a mezzanine with a fire-resistance rating as per 3.2.2. Although exterior passageway is an access to exit Sentence 3.3.1.15.(1) requires an exterior passageway to conform to the requirements of Section 3.4. for exterior exit passageways and that includes exit fire separations and exit exposure protection. However, Sentence 3.4.4.3.(1) exempts the exterior passageway from having to be fire separated from the remainder of the building (including the motel rooms) as per Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) and having to comply with exit exposure protection as per Sentences 3.2.3.13.(1) and (3) if not less than 50% of the exterior sides of the passageway is open to the outdoors and an exit stair is provided at each end of the passageway. The exit stair at each end is not exempted from the fire separations as per 3.4.4.1.(1) and exit exposure protection per 3.2.3.13. If the exit stair is an interior stair exit fire separations shall applied between the exterior passageway and the exit stair as well as between the exit stair and the remainder of the floor area. If the exit stair is an exterior stair it is not required to enclose the stair but to provide exit exposure protection from· the inside between the open stair and the exterior walls of the building as per BCAB#1687; however, the exterior stair would not be required to be separated from the open exterior passageway since the passageway is not considered as the exterior walls of the buildings. It is also permitted to have a 6 m dead end public corridor beyond the exit stair at end of the exterior passageway provided the public corridor fire separations are maintained between the dead end corridor and the suites served by that corridor. There is no separation required between the public corridor and the exterior passageway as per BCAB#1725. Exterior Exit Passageway The exterior exit passageway per Article 3.4.4.3. is within or part of an exit leading from an exit to an acceptable open space or a thoroughfare. An example would be the exterior walkway leading from an exit stair to the street along the side of a builc;ling. Sentence 3.4.1.5.(1) specifies that access to an exterior exit passageway from a floor area shall be through exit doors at the floor levels. re is no limit on travel distance within the exterior exit passageway or a requirement to travel in two directions to reach the street or open space. Exit fire separations and exit exposure protection shall apply to exterior exit passageway except as exempted by 3.4.4.3.(1). Interpretation #2 In the case of exterior passageway, such as the elevated exterior corridor serving motel rooms, if the criteria described in Article 3.4.4.3. are not met then the exterior passageway can be treated as 1. a public corridor and shall comply with all the requirements of a public corridor including fire separations between the exterior passageway and the rooms as per Article 3.3.1.4. and between the exterior passageway and the exit stairs at each end as per Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1), or 2. an exit corridor and shall comply with Section 3.4 including exit fire separations between the passageway and the rooms as per Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) and subject to exit exposure requirements as per Sentences 3.2.3.13.(1) and (3). In the case of exterior exit passageway, such as exterior walkway leading from an exit to an open space or a public thoroughfare, if the criteria described in Article 3.4.4.3. are not met then the exterior exit passageway shall comply with Section 3.4 including exit fire separations between the passageway and the adjoining building exterior walls as per Sentence 3.4.4.1.(1) and subject to exit exposure requirements as per Sentences 3.2.3.13.(1) and (3). Download
2012 12-0010 Protection of Roof Soffits 19/11/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0010 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: November 19, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Protection of Roof Soffits Keywords: Roof soffits Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.15.5.(10); A-3.2.3.6.(2) Question: Clause 9.10.15.5.(10)(a) requires that roof soffits projecting within 1.2 m from the property line shall have no openings. If the portion of the roof soffits projecting closer than 1.2 mis protected according to 9.10.15.5.(10)(b) are openings permitted in those portion of roof soffits that is further than 1.2 m from the property line? Interpretation: No Sentence 9.10.15.5.(10) states that where roof soffits project to less than 1.2 m from the property line, the centre line of a lane or public thoroughfare or an imaginary line between two buildings or fire compartments on the same property, they shall have no openings and shall be protected by material as stated in Clause (b). Appendix A-3.2.3.6.(2) explains that the reason to provide protection of soffits is to slow down the fire from inside the roof space of the subject building exiting the unprotected soffits and expose the adjacent building to flames as a result of unpredictable plume geometry/behavior. It is interpreted that the entire depth of the soffit along that exposing building face shall have no openings where any portion of that soffit is located closer than 1.2 m from the property line. The attached sketches explain the applications of this requirement. Download
2012 12-0011 Detached Carports 18/03/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0011 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: March 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Detached Carports Keywords: carports, exposing building face, spatial separation; glazed openings Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.15.1.(1); 9.10.14.1.(1); 9.10.14.4.(10), 9.10.14.4.(11); 9.10.14.5.(4); 9.10.14.5.(7); 9.35.2.1. Question: What requirements of spatial separation should apply to a detached carport serving a single family dwelling? Interpretation: Subsections 9.10.14 and 9.10.15. regulate requirements of spatial separation between buildings. Sentence 9.10.15.1.(1) states that "this Subsection applies to buildings that contain only dwelling units and have no dwelling unit above another dwelling u,nit", therefore, Subsection 9.10.15. only applies to a single family dwelling but does not apply to a detached carport serving that single dwelling unit. Sentence 9.10.14.1.(1) states that "this Subsection applies to buildings other than those to which Subsection 9.10.15. applies"; therefore, Subsection 9.10.14. applies to a detached carport serving a single family dwelling. There are five Sentences 9.10.14.4.(10) and (11) and 9.10.14.5.(4), (5) and (7) that regulate the requirements for garages or accessory buildings that serves a single dwelling unit. Though these five sentences do not mention carport but carport can be considered as a garage or an accessory building without any exterior walls; therefore, carport shall comply with these five sentences as follow: 9.10.14.4.(10): Except as provided in Sentence 9.10.14.4.(11) for carport that serve a single dwelling unit only and is detached from any building, the maximum aggregate area of glazed openings shall comply with the requirements for unprotected openings. BCAB #1707 ruled that the open side of an attached carport to a side by side duplex does not constitute glazed openings; therefore, a detached carport would comply with the maximum aggregate area of glazed openings. 9.10.14.4.(11): The limits on the area of glazed openings stated in Sentence 9.10.14.4.(10) need not apply to the exposing building face of a detached carport facing a dwelling unit, where a) the detached carport serves only one dwelling unit, b) the detached carport is located on the same property as that dwelling unit, and c) the dwelling unit served by the detached carport is the only major occupancy on the property. 9.10.14.5.(4): Except as provided in Sentence 9.10.14.5.(5), where a carport serves one dwelling unit only and is detached from any building, the exposing building face a) need not conform to the minimum required fire-resistance rating stated in Table 9.10.14.5.A, where the limiting distance is 0.6 m or more, b) shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min, where the limiting distance is less than 0.6 m, and c) need not conform to the type of cladding required by Table 9.1b.14.5.A, regardless of the limiting distance. 9.10.14.5.(5): The requirements regarding fire-resistance rating, type of construction and type of cladding need not apply to the exposing building face of a detached carport facing a dwelling unit, where a) the detached carport serves only one dwelling unit, b) the detached carport is located on the same property as that dwelling unit, and c) the dwelling unit served by the detached carport is the only major occupancy on the property. 9.10.14.5.(7): Except as provided in Sentences 9.10.14.5.(9) to (11), Sentence 9.10.14.5.(6) shall not apply to a) buildings containing 1 or 2 dwelling units only, and b) detached carports, where i) the detached carport serves only one dwelling unit, ii) the detached carport is located on the same property as that dwelling unit, and iii) the dwelling unit served by the detached carport is the only major occupancy on the property. It is interpreted that a detached carport serving a single family dwelling and is located less than 0.6 m from a property line the exposing building face of the carport shall be fully enclosed with a wall having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min. The roof soffits of a detached carport serving a single family dwelling shall comply with Sentence 9.10.14.5.(9) to (11). Download
2012 12-0012 Shared Laundry Room, Fire Separations for Single Family Dwelling with a Secondary Suite 18/02/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0012 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: February 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Shared laundry room, fire separations for single family dwelling with a secondary suite Keywords: Shared laundry room, secondary suite, fire exceptions Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.9.14.(1), 9.36.2.15.(1), 9.36.2.16.(1) Question: 1. Sentence 9.10.9.14.(1) requires that residential suites be separated from adjacent rooms and suites by 3/4h fire separations (1h for dwellings consisting of 2 or more storeys including basements). Does this include all walls between a shared laundry room and remainder of a building, containing a secondary suite, whether access into the shared laundry room is via the suites or via a shared egress / access corridor? 2. Secondary suites are required to comply with Part 9 except as permitted in Section 9.36. Does this mean that the exceptions or alternatives given in Sentence 9.36.2.15.(1) can be applied to the separation walls of a shared laundry room serving suites of a building containing a secondary suite? 3. Would the assembly above a shared laundry room be required to have the same fire separation requirements as indicated for the enclosing walls? Interpretation: 1. No. The Appendix B commentary A-9.36.1.2 indicates Part 9 requirements apply to the construction of a secondary suite, except as referenced under Subsection 9.36.2. For a building containing a secondary suite, Article 9.36.2.15 addresses the fire separation requirements for suites and Article 9.36.2.16 addresses the fire separation requirements for public corridors. The intent of these Articles is to provide for alternative methods of maintaining adequate fire separations between the suites. Often the shared laundry room can be considered an integral part of the main suite, as illustrated in the attached drawings #2 & #3. However if a shared laundry room is not considered part of a suite, such as when it is accessed only off a shared public corridor, then it must be separated froin the adjacent suites and public corridor. For this latter situation, there are 3 options available for the grade of fire separation quired for all the separating walls of the shared laundry room: a) 3/4h fire separation b) 1/2h fire separation if suites are equipped with smoke alarms in accordance with Article 9.36.2.19. c) Unrated fire separation if building is sprinklered. 2. Yes. Refer to the answer given to question 1. 3. Yes. If the construction assembly over the shared laundry room forms part of a required fire separation between the shared laundry room and the suites or shared egress space for the building, such assembly must be consistent with the requirements for the vertical fire separation enclosures. Note that effective December 19, 2014, Section 9.36 will be repealed and replaced with Section 9.37, in accordance with the Province of British Columbia Local Government Act, Ministerial Order No. M111. Download
2012 12-0013 Fastening of Wood Stair Stringers 15/10/2013 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0013 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: October 15, 2013 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fastening of wood stair stringers Keywords: Wood stair stringers, support, secure, fasten Building Code Reference(s): 9.8.9.4.(1)(b) Question: For buildings that are regulated by Part 9, Clause 9.8.9.4.(1)(b) requires that wood stair stringers be "supported and secured top and bottom". 1. Does this mean that the wood stair stringers must be mechanically fastened to the floor or stair landing assembly at both the top and bottom? 2. Is it acceptable to support the wood stair stringer at the bottom by simply resting the stringer on a concrete floor slab? Interpretation: 1. Yes - the requirement of Clause 9.8.9.4.(1)(b) that a wood stair stringer be "secured" at the top and bottom means that the wood stair stringer must be mechanically fastened to the floor or landing assembly. 2. No - the wood stair stringer must be mechanically fastened to the concrete floor slab. Download
2012 12-0014 Sway Bracing and Seismic Restraint for Piping 18/02/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0014 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: Feb 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Sway Bracing and Seismic Restraint for Piping Keywords: Sway Bracing, Seismic Restraint Building Code Reference(s): 2.3.4.1.(1); 2.3.4.2.(1); 2.3.4.5.(1)(2)(6) ; 2.3.4.5.(5)(a): 3.2.5.12(1); 4.1.8.18 Question: This project includes a long 12ft wide by 10ft tall tunnel for service piping. The piping consists of a 12 inch stainless steel fire and domestic water main, a 6 inch galvanized sanitary force main, as well as 10 inch and 14 inch System 15 PVC-DWV storm drains. What regulates the pipe hanger spacing, sway bracing, and seismic restraint for all of the noted piping systems? Sentence 2.3.4.5.(2) references Table 2.3.4.5. for the maximum hanger spacing for all types of piping and would include the storm drains and the sanitary force main. Sentence 2.3.4.2.(1) requires independent support for all such pipe hangers. Sentence 2.3.4.1.(1) requires supports to be capable of keeping the pipe in alignment and supporting the weight of the pipe and its contents Sentences 2.3.4.1.(1) and 2.3.4.5.(1)(2) make reference to providing some form of sway bracing for all piping systems but do not indicate any details on how to achieve an acceptable level of protection for the DWV piping and the sanitary sewer force main. However, while the placing of sway bracing would be site specific based on the diameters and length of the pipe hanger rods, sway bracing must be acceptable to the AHJ and, where applicable, a Professional Engineer of Record must be provided to ensure that it achieves adequate protection from misalignment of the piping that could cause pipe joint failures. Clause 2.3.4.5.(5)(a) indicates the minimum diameters for pipe hanger rods where used for pipe support in all buildings. Also, Sentence 2.3.4.5.(6) states that where a pipe hanger is attached to concrete or masonry it shall be fastened by metal or expansion-type plugs that are inserted or built into the concrete or masonry. Since this building has a combined fire protection and domestic water service it is a sprinklered building, so Sentence 3.2.5.12.(1) requires compliance with NFPA 13-2007 which includes ULC or cUL listing for the sprinkler pipe material and the detailed installation requirements for sway bracing and seismic restraint for the fire protection system. The requirements of NFPA 13 do not apply to the sanitary and storm piping systems. Where a building is subject to the structural requirements of Part 4, all supports for piping systems must be designed and installed in accordance with Article 4.1.8.18.. This would include seismic restraint considerations for the combined fire and domestic water service, the sanitary force main, and the storm drains as indicated in Table 4.1.8.18. One other issue with this question is that, at this time, the proposed use of stainless steel piping for the combined water service serving the fire protection and the domestic systems would not be permitted, since the BC Plumbing Code does not reference this as an approved material for use in a water system. Download
2012 12-0015 Fire Separation and Means of Egress from Roof-top Enclosure 19/05/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0015 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire separation and means of egress from roof-top enclosure Keywords: Roof-top enclosures, service room, fire separation, egress Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.8.3.(2)(c); 3.2.5.3.(1)(b), 3.3.1.3.(5)&(6); 3.3.1.14.(2); 3.6.2.1.(10) Question: This project is a one-storey building with multiple suites and multiple major occupancies (Groups A, D and E). The building has a roof-top enclosure that is less than 200 sq.m. which contains with fuel­ fired mechanical equipment. This roof-top enclosure straddles 2 separate suites below, so the fire separation wall between 2 adjacent suites is directly beneath the roof-top enclosure. Subsection 3.2.2. does not require the roof assembly to have any fire resistance rating for this building based on size and occupancy. 1. Is the walking surface of the roof-top enclosure required to be constructed as a fire separation with a fire-resistance rating to satisfy the requirements of Sentence 3.6.2.1.(1)? 2. Can the fire separation wall between the 2 adjacent suites terminate at the underside of the roof assembly below the roof-top enclosure? 3. Can the means of egress from a roof-top enclosure be via a roof access hatch and fixed ladder? Interpretation: The answer to these questions depends upon the type of roof-top enclosure. The term "roof-top enclosure" is not defined the building code, so it could take a variety of forms. For example it could simply be a weather protection cover over a roof-top appliance that is open on the sides (i.e. an umbrella). Alternatively it could be a fully enclosed "service room" containing fuel-fired mechanical equipment. The following answers apply to a weather protection cover: 1. No - Refer to previous interpretation 06-0046. The building code requirements for this issue have not changed from the 2006 BCBC to the 2012 BCBC. A vertical fire separation demising wall that separates 2 suites niay terminate at the underside of the roof deck as per 3.1.8.3.(2)(c) 2. Yes - There is no requirement to provide fire separation between a roof-top appliance and the building it serves - see 3.6.2.1.(10). 3. Yes - Access to and egress from a "roof' is permitted to be via a fixed ladder and a roof hatch as per Clause 3.2.5.3.(1)(b). The following answers apply to an enclosed rooftop service room: 1. Yes - The walking surface of an enclosed roof-top service room would be considered to be a floor rather than a roof deck. In order to maintain the continuity of the vertical fire separation wall between adjacent suites, the wall may terminate at the underside of a floor assembly, provided that the floor assembly is constructed as a fire separation with the same fire­ resistance rating as required for the demising wall between the 2 adjacent suites as per Clause 3.1.8.3.(2)(a) and Sentence 3.1.8.3.(4). 2. Yes - provided the roof assembly is constructed as a fire separation as noted in Item 1 above. 3. No - Clause 3.3.1.3.(5)(a) permits a roof-top enclosure to have an access to exit that leads to an exit that is located on the storey immediately below the roof. Sentence 3.3.1.14.(2) waives the stair rise and run requirements for "stairs" that serve service spaces that are intended for occasional use for servicing equipment and machinery. A vertical fixed ladder is not considered to be a "stair" for the purposes of Sentence 3.3.1.14.(2). Note also that access to service equipment is also subject to the requirements of WorkSafe BC and access to elevator machine rooms is subject to the requirements of the BC Safety Authority. Download
2012 12-0016 Fasteners for Membrane Roofs 18/02/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0016 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fasteners for membrane roofs Keywords: fasteners, membrane roofs, horizontal surface Building Code Reference(s): 9.26.2 Question: 1. Clause 9.26.2.1.(1)(i) references CGSB 37-GP-56M, "Membrane, Modified, Bituminous, Prefabricated, and Reinforced for Roofing." Are these roofing systems permitted to be fastened with fasteners such as referenced in Articles 9.26.2.2. and 9.26.2.3? 2. If these roofing systems can be fastened with fasteners such as referenced in Articles 9.26.2.2. and 9.26.2.3; can they be installed on minimum slope surfaces? Interpretation: 1. Yes. The referenced roofing systems are permitted to be fastened by nails as referenced in Article 9.26.2.2. Standard CGSB 37-GP-56M covers 3 methods of membrane installation: fully adhered, partially attached, and loosely laid. As indicated in the standard and its appendix guidelines, mechanical fastening may be used for the partially attached method and around the perimeter for loose laid systems, in accordance with the requirements of the selected systems and manufacturers' specifications. Sentence 3.26.2.2.(4) and Article 9.26.2.3 refer only to the use of nails or staples for shingles; these references are not applicable for membrane roof systems. 2. Yes. The referenced roofing systems are permitted to be fastened by nails as referenced in Article 9.26.2.2; however, there are minimum sloping requirements as set out in Article 9.26.1.1 and Subsection 9.26.3. Table 9.26.3.1 requires a minimum 1 in 50 slope for modified bituminous membranes. Sentence 3.26.2.2.(4) and Article 9.26.2.3 refer only to the use of nails or staples for shingles, and these references are not applicable for membrane roof systems. Download
2012 12-0017 Building Classification...withdrawn Download
2012 12-0018 Construction Sequencing...file closed, not an interpretation issue Download
2012 12-0019 Combustible Components in Exterior Walls in Noncombustible Buildings 18/02/2014 BC,APEGBC,BOABC,POABC File No: 12-0019, INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 7 Interpretation Date: February 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Combustible components in exterior walls in noncombustible buildings Keywords: Combustible components, noncombustible buildings, exterior walls, exterior cladding Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.4.2., 3.1.5.1.(1), 3.1.5.5., A-3.1.5.5., 3.1.5.12., 3.2.3.8. Question: This interpretation is an update to the previous Interpretation 06-0090 which was based on the 2006 BCBC. The 2012 BCBC has amended the wording of both Articles 3.1.5.5. and 3.2.3.8. with respect to the use of combustible components in exterior walls, including foamed plastic insulation. For Part 3 buildings that are required to be noncombustible construction: 1. Does Article 3.1.5.5. apply when an exterior non-loadbearing wall assembly does not contain combustible cladding? 2. Does Article 3.1.5.5. apply when an exterior loadbearing wall assembly does not contain combustible cladding? 3. If an exterior non-loadbearing wall assembly contains combustible cladding, does Article 3.1.5.5. apply to the entire exterior wall assembly? 4. Can minor combustible components be installed in an exterior non-loadbearing wall that contains combustible cladding even though such components were not included in the CAN/ULC-S 134 test assembly? 5. Are factory-assembled exterior wall panels that contain foamed plastic insulation as described in Sentences 3.1.5.12.(6) & (7) also subject to the requirements of Article 3.1.5.5.? 6. Is combustible cladding permitted on a loadbearing wall assembly? 7. For the purposes of Article 3.1.5.5., how is the term "cladding" defined? 8. Is foamed plastic insulation permitted in an exterior wall where the maximum permitted area of unprotected opening is not more than 10% of the exposing building face? Interpretation: 1. No The wording of Article 3.1.5.5. has been amended in the 2012 BCBC to clarify that it only applies to exterior walls that contain "Combustible Cladding". 2. No Article 3.1.5.5. only applies to non-loadbearing exterior wall assemblies. 3. Yes Appendix A-3.1.5.5. clarifies that the required test, CAN/ULC-S134, "Standard Method of Test of Exterior Wall Assemblies" is to be conducted on the entire exterior wall assembly in order to assess the performance of the entire assembly. That is, the performance of some exterior cladding systems may depend on the wall assembly to which they are attached. 4. Yes, with conditions Combustible components that would have a negligible impact on the results of the CAN/ULC­ S134 test can be installed in an exterior wall with combustible cladding, even though such components were not included in the test assembly. Refer to BC Building Code Appeal Board decision #1682. Combustible components that are described in Sentence 3.1.5.1.(2), Articles 3.1.5.2., 3.1.5.3., 3.1.5.6., 3.1.5.10.,, 3.1.5.11., 3.1.5.18., 3.1.5.19. and 3.1.5.20. are considered to have a negligible impact on the results of the CAN/ULC-S134 test. 5. No Factory assembled exterior wall panels that meet the requirements of either Sentence 3.1.5.12.(6) or (7) do not have to be tested to CAN/ULC-S134. 6. No, with the exception of gypsum board as permitted by Article 3.1.5.11. Sentence 3.1.5.1.(1) prohibits the use of combustible components in buildings that are required to be noncombustible construction, except as permitted by Sentences 3.1.5.1.(2) to (4) and Articles 3.1.5.2. to 3.1.5.21., 3.1.13.4. and 3.2.2.16. Article 3.1.5.5. permits the use of combustible cladding on non-loadbearing exterior wall assemblies, but none of the other exceptions to Sentence 3.1.5.1.(1) address the use of combustible cladding on loadbearing exterior walls. 7. Since there are innumerable types of exterior wall assemblies it is difficult to clearly define for all wall types which portion of an exterior wall assembly constitutes the "cladding" component. In principle, combustible components, particularly foamed plastic insulation, that are located near the exterior surface of a wall assembly could represent a fire hazard for fire spread up the exterior face of the building. If there is no thermal barrier between foamed plastic insulation and the exterior surface of the wall assembly, there is a potential for fire spread up the face of the building. Some examples of combustible cladding would include EIFS, metal or glazing spandrel panels with sprayed foamed plastic insulation immediately adjacent to the metal or glazing. 8. No The wording of Sentence 3.2.3.8.(1) in the 2012 BCBC has been amended so that it only applies to exterior walls where the maximum permitted area of unprotected opening is greater than 10% of the exposing building face. Sentence 3.2.3.8.(1) prohibits the use of foamed plastic insulation in an exposing building face in a building that is more than 3 storeys in building height, unless the foamed plastic is protected on the outside face with not less than 25 mm thick concrete or masonry, or a noncombustible material that meets the test requirements of CAN/ULC-S101, including the additional requirements of Sentence 3.2.3.8.(2). Sentence 3.2.3.8.(1) applies to combustible buildings, noncombustible buildings, loadbearing walls and non-loadbearing walls when the building height exceeds 3 storeys. When the maximum permitted area of unprotected opening is not more than 10% of the exposing building face, the provisions of Sentence 3.2.3.8.(1) do not apply, so foamed plastic insulation is not permitted anywhere within the exterior wall assembly. Similarly the provisions of Sentence 3.2.3.8.(3) do not apply, so the use of combustible cladding systems that meet the requirements of Article 3.1.5.5. is not permitted when the maximum permitted area of unprotected openings is not more than 10% of the exposing building face. This is further clarified in the new Sentence 3.1.5.5.(2) of the 2012 BCBC. It should also be noted that Article 3.1.4.2. (for combustible buildings) and Article 3.1.5.12. (for noncombustible buildings) require a thermal barrier to protect the interior face of wall and ceiling assemblies that contain foamed plastic insulation. Note: This Interpretation supersedes Interpretation 98-0012 which was based on the 1998 BC Building Code and 06-0090 which was based on the 2006 BC Building Code. Refer to the attached drawings for examples of acceptable use of combustible components in exterior walls in a building that is required to be noncombustible construction and where the maximum permitted area of unprotected opening is greater than 10% of the exposing building face. Download
2012 12-0020 Drop-in Anchors 18/03/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0020 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Drop-in Anchors Keywords: Power-actuated fasteners, drop-in anchors Building Code Reference(s): 4.1.8.18.(1), 4.1.8.18.(2), 4.1.8.18.(8)(d) Question: Can power-actuated fasteners or drop-in anchors be used to support elements and components of buildings listed Table 4.1.8.18. for seismic tensile loading? Interpretation: No. Sentence 4.1.8.18.(8) requires connections to the structure of elements and components listed in Table 4.1.8.18. be designed to support the component or element for gravity loads, to accommodate building deflections and the element or component deflections, and shall be designed for lateral force, Vp, as described in Sentence 4.1.8.18.(1). Clause 4.1.8.18.(8)(d) states that power-actuated fasteners and drop-in anchors shall not be used for tension loads. The NBC 2010 Structural Commentaries explained that "power-actuated connections, such as nails and bolts in concrete and shallow drop-in-type anchors, shall not be used for tension loading. This restriction is placed on these types of connections because of their inability to withstand the cyclic tensile loading imposed by seismic response." Sentence 4.1.8.18.(2) exempts Categories 6 through 21 of Table 4.1.8.18. from having to be designed for lateral force, Vp, for buildings in low seismic area, other than post-disaster buildings, where IEFaSa(0.2) is less than 0.35. It is interpreted that power-actuated fasteners and drop-in anchors cannot be used in post­ disaster buildings and buildings where IEFaSa(0.2) 0.35 if they are subject to cyclic tensile loading imposed by seismic response. Download
2012 12-0021 Graspability of Handrails 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0021 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Graspability of Handrails Keywords: Handrails, Ergonomic Design Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.6.5.(3); 9.8.7.5.(2); A-9.8.7.5.(2) Question: Is a handrail with a cross section of 140 mm x 38 mm an acceptable profile to satisfy graspability requirements of Sentences 3.4.6.5.(3) & 9.8.7.5.(2)? Interpretation: No. Sentence 3.4.6.5.(3) and 9.8.7.5.(2) and Table A-9.8.7.5.(2) in Appendix A describe the ergonomic requirements for the design of the handrail profile with provision of examples of acceptable shapes. It also notes that "Acceptable handrail sections include, but are not limited to, those shown... ". It implies that the main objective is to provide profile that is "graspable" and allows the fingers to wrap around the profile to increase holding grip and not relying only on friction and strength of the grip. The Appendix A clarification leaves open the detailed design options to the designers and AHJ, but requires that the design provides wrapping a handrail with the hand and fingers in order to increase the holding function for people with limited strengths. Profiles that allow wrapping the fingers around due to their size and shape are acceptable and the profiles that rely on "pinch" grip are unacceptable. Note, that Part 3 Sentence 3.4.6.5.(3) requirements are more stringent. Download
2012 12-0022 Loadbearing Wall 18/03/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0022 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: March 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Loadbearing Wall Keywords: Loadbearing wall, fire separation, fire-resistance rating, fire-rated ass mbly, fire stop, fire block Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.7.5., 3.1.9.; 3.1.11. Question: A wood floor assembly acting as a fire separation with a fire-resistance rating is supported . by wood-framed loadbearing walls having the same fire-resistance rating. 1. Should all penetrations of the loadbearing walls, such as ducts, pipes, wiring, etc. be fire stopped? 2. Should all openings of the loadbearing walls., such as electrical panels, doors and windows be protected with rated closures? Interpretation: 1. Yes If a floor or roof assembly is required to have a fire-resistance rating all loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting such floor or roof assembly shall have a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the supported floor or roof assembly as per Sentence 3.1.7.5.(1). Sentence 3.1.9.1.(1) requires all penetrations of a fire separation or a membrane forming part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating be sealed by a fire stop, cast in place or tightly fitted. Since the wood-framed loadbearing wall relies on the drywall membrane to achieve the required fire-resistance rating all penetrations of such a membrane shall be fire-stopped in order to achieve the required fire-resistance rating unless they are specifically exempted in Subsection 3.1.9. 2. No Assemblies required to having a fire-resistance rating, such as loadbearing walls, columns and arches only have to "withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat for the required time when exposed to fire ...." They are not fire separations acting as barriers against the spread of fire. Since the loadbearing wall is not required to act as fire separation, opening such as doors, windows, vents, electrical and communication panels, are not required to be protected with fire-rated closures as long as the fire-resistance rating of the loadbearing wall is not affected. In some situations, such as around windows and doors, it is appropriate to use fire blocks as per Subsection 3.1.11. to maintain the integrity of the fire-resistance rating. Download
2012 12-0023 Mechanical Joint Couplings Used in Non-Combustible Buildings 18/02/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0023 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 18, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Mechanical Joint Couplings Used In Non-Combustible Buildings Keywords: Mechanical Joint Couplings/Combustible Material Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.5.16.(1).; 3.1.5.2.(1).; 3.2.6.; Building Code Appeal Board (BCAB) Decision #1098; BC Building Code Interpretation Committee (BCIC) Interpretation #06-0071 Question: Are mechanical joint (MJ) couplings used in conjunction with cast iron soil pipes in noncombustible construction required to comply with Sentence 3.1.5.16.(1)? Interpretation: No, Sentence 3.1.5.16.(1). regulates the use of combustible piping and tubing and associated adhesives. Cast iron pipe, including the MJ couplings used to join the pipe and fittings, have historically been classified as non-combustible material. The limited amount of combustible material contained in an MJ coupling is acceptable under Sentence 3.1.5.2.(1). as a minor combustible component. This Interpretation is consistent with BCAB Decision #1098 and BCIC Interpretation #06-0071. Download
2012 12-0024 NAFFVA/Non-NAFFVA Appliance...file closed Download
2012 12-0025 Bicycle Storage Areas Opening Directly into Exits 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0025 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Bicycle storage areas opening directly into exits Keywords: Bicycle storage, opening, exits Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.5.4.(1), 3.3.5.7., 3.4.4.4.(8) Question: Can bicycle storage areas open directly into an exit? Interpretation: Yes, with exceptions Sentence 3.4.4.4.(8) prohibits storage rooms, washrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and similar ancillary rooms from opening directly into an exit. If bicycle storage areas are used exclusively for storing bicycles, then they represent a fire risk that is considerably less than a "storage room", and are permitted to open directly into an exit. If the bicycle storage area is located within an underground storage garage, then the requirements for vestibules between the storage garage and the exit would apply in accordance with Sentence 3.3.5.4.(1) and Article 3.3.5.7. If the bicycle storage area is located within an enclosed room, and the room has opaque perimeter walls, there is a high possibility that this room could be used for purposes other than bicycle storage. It this case, the enclosed room would be considered to be a "storage room" and could not open directly into an exit. Download
2012 12-0026 STC Rating...cancelled Download
2012 12-0027 NAFA & Exemption for Site Built Doors...referred to Victoria; Building Standards Branch Download
2012 12-0028 Fire Alarm Verification 15/04/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0028 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 15, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire Alarm Verification Keywords: Professional Schedules and CAN/ULC-S537 Building Code Reference(s): Sentence 3.2.4.5.(2) Question: Sentence 3.2.4.5.(2) requires fire alarm systems to be verified in conformance with CAN/ULC-S537 "Verification of Fire Alarm Systems" to ensure that they are operating satisfactorily. Is the fire alarm system verification covered by the registered professional schedules 8-1, 8-2 & C-8 under electrical section 6.3 functional testing of electrical related fire emergency systems and devices? Interpretation: Yes. The fire alarm system design and field review is covered by the registered professional's schedules. CAN/ULC-S537 requires the verification to be conducted by qualified personnel other than the installing contractor or designer. It is the responsibility of the registered professional to determine who is qualified to perform the fire alarm verification because the registered professional is taking responsibility for the fire alarm system. The registered professional will request a copy of the fire alarm verification which shows that the fire alarm system is functioning properly before issuing a schedule C-8. Download
2012 12-0029 Group B, Division 3, Care Occupancy 21/04/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0029 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 21, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Group B, Division 3, Care Occupancy Keywords: Care occupancy, residents' sleeping rooms, fire compartment, suites of care occupancy Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.3.5.(1), 3.3.3.5.(2), 3.3.3.5.(9), 3.3.3.5.(11), 3.3.3.5.(15) Question: For a Group B, Division 3, care occupancy, is it necessary to separate the floor areas containing residents' suites of care occupancy into at least 2 fire compartments as required by Sentence 3.3.3.5.(2)? Interpretation: Yes Floor area containing patients' or residents' sleeping rooms in a care or treatment occupancy where overnight sleeping accommodation is provided for more than a total of 10 patients or residents shall be divided into not less than 2 fire compartments, each not more than 1000 m2 in area as per Sentences 3.3.3.5.(1) and (2). These residents' sleeping rooms are required to be separated from the remainder of the floor area by fire separations without a fire-resistance rating as per Sentence 3.3.3.5.(9) but this requirement does not apply to sleeping rooms within individual suites of care occupancy according to Sentence 3.3.3.5.(11) since individual suites are separated from the remainder of the floor area by fire separations with a fire-resistance rating as per Sentence 3.3.3.5.(15). If a floor area containing suites of care occupancy with patients' or residents' sleeping rooms such floor area shall be divided into at least two fire compartments as per Sentence 3.3.3.5.(2). Sentence 3.3.3.5.(2) applies to all patients' or residents' sleeping rooms even if they are located within a suite. Download
2012 12-0030 Travel Distance along Stair Flights or Ramps 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0030 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Travel distance along stair flights or ramps Keywords: Travel distance, stairs, ramps Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.2.4., 9.9.8.1. Question: Should the travel distance along a flight of stairs or a ramp be measured as the horizontal dimension in plan view? Interpretation: No The travel distance along a flight of stairs or a ramp must be measured along the slope of the stair or ramp to replicate the actual distance that is traveled to reach an exit. Download
2012 12-0031 Central Alarm Control Facility 27/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0031 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 27, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Central Alarm Control Facility Keywords: Central Alarm Control Facility, auxiliary equipment, manual controls Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.6.2 .(2), 3.2.6.2.(4), 3.2.6.2.(5), 3.2.6.3., 3.2.6.6., 3.2.6.7.(2)(i) Question: Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i) requires that the central alarm and control facility (CACF) shall include means, as appropriate to the measure for fire safety provided in the building, to actuate auxiliary equipment. 1. What is considered auxiliary equipment? 2. Are all stair pressurization equipment in a high building, including ones that activate automatically, required to be provided with a control device at the CACF for manual operation (such as ON/OFF override switch)? Interpretation: 1. Appendix B-3.2.6.7.(2) states that "depending on the method of mechanical venting and air control that is selected for the building, additional controls may be required at the CACF. These additional controls .i nclude those with a capability of opening closures to vents in shafts, stopping air-handling systems, and initiating mechanical air supply to stair shafts. Sentence 3.2.6.2.(4) requires that measures shall be taken to limit movement of smoke from a fire in a floor area below the lowest exit storey into upper storeys. Further clarification in Appendix B-3.2.6.2.(4)(3)(c) requires that any closure provided for a vent opening for vertical shafts referred to in Sentence (2) must be openable by a control device located at the CACF. addition to the manual switches for the required smoke control system Sentence 3.2.6.2.(5) also requires manually operated switches at the CACF for all air moving fans in a system that serves more than 2 storeys except exhaust fans in kitchens, washrooms and bathrooms in dwelling units and except for fans used for smoke venting to aid firefighting. Currently there is a proposed code change to Clause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i) in 2015 NBC to clarify the intent of the code and refer to auxiliary equipment that manages smoke movement in high buildings in Articles 3.2.6.2., 3.2.6.3. and 3.2.6.6. It is interpreted that the auxiliary equipment specified in Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i) are all smoke control systems as required by Articles 3.2.6.2., 3.2.6.3. and 3.2.6.6 . 2. Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i) only requires means to actuate auxiliary equipment but it does not specify if the actuation should be manual or automatic. Smoke control systems that are activated automatically deem to meet the intent of Subclause 3.2.6.7.(2)(i)(i). Local Fire Department should be consult regarding means of actuation of auxiliary equipment. Download
2012 12-0032 Noncombustible Building: Combustible Exit Stair Treads Finish Floorinq 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0032 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 (Updated March 17, 2015) Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Noncombustible Building: Combustible Exit Stair Treads Finish Floorinq Keywords: Flame-spread rating, combustible flooring in exits Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.5.8.(4), 3.1.13.2., 3.1.13.7., 3.1.13.8.(1)(b) Question: Is it permitted to have noncombustible exit stair treads with combustible finish flooring in a building that is sprinklered throuqhout and that is required to be of noncombustible construction? Interpretation: Yes (with conditions) Noncombustible stair treads with combustible finished flooring are permitted in a noncombustible building that is sprinklered throughout, provided that the building is not classified as a high building that contains a Group B major occupancy. Sentence 3.1.5.8.(4) permits combustible finished flooring in a building required to be of noncombustible construction. " Sentence 3.1.13.2.(1) and Table 3.1.13.2. restricts the flame-spread rating to a maximum of 25 for wall and ceiling surfaces within an exit, regardless of the building being sprinklered or unsprinklered. Sentence 3.1.13.2.(1) and Table 3.1.13.2. does not limit the flame-spread rating of floor finishes within exits. " Clause 3.1.13.8.(1)(b) requires that the flame-spread rating for wall and ceiling finishes within exits maintain the maximum 25 flame-spread rating when the surface finish is cut in any direction with a knife. Again this requirement does not apply to floor finishes within exits. Sentence 3.1.13.7.(1) and Table 3.1.13.7. have additional requirements for flame-spread ratings and smoke development classifications for high buildings, including floor finishes, although Sentence 3.1.13.7.(2) waives these requirements when the building is sprinklered. This waiver does not apply to high buildings that contain a Group B major occupancy or for elevator cars within a high building. Although the 2012 BCBC requires all high buildings to be sprinklered, there are many existing high buildings that are unsprinklered. Existing unsprinklered high buildings would be subject to the additional requirements of Sentence 3.1.13.7.(1) and Table 3.1.13.7., so noncombustible stair treads with combustible finished flooring would not be permitted in such buildings. Download
2012 12-0033 Travel Distance when Corridors Contain Occupancies 17/06/2014 MBC,APEGBC,BOABC,POABC File No: 12-0033 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Travel distance when corridors contain occupancies Keywords: Occupancies in corridors, travel distance Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.1.9.(2) & (5), 3.4.2.4.(2) Question: If a room opens onto a corridor that is used by the public, and the corridor contains an occupancy, can the travel distance from the room to the nearest exit be measured from the room egress door? Interpretation: Yes, with conditions Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2) permits travel distance to be measured from an egress door of room with the following conditions: (a)(i) If the building is not sprinklered throughout - the room must be separated from the remainder of the floor area with a fire separation having a¾ hour fire resistance rating. (a)(ii) If the building is sprinklered throughout- the room must be separated from the remainder of the floor area with a fire separation with no fire resistance rating. (b)(ii) The corridor used by the public must be separated from the remainder of the floor area in conformance with the requirements in Article 3.3.1.4. for the separation of public corridors. The presence of an occupancy within the corridor does not affect the provisions of Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2). Note that minimum corridor widths described in Sentences 3.3.1.9.(2) & (5) must be maintained. Download
2012 12-0034 Travel Distance when Corridors are within an Interconnected Floor Space 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0034 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 (revised April 17, 2015) Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Travel distance when corridors are within an interconnected floor space Keywords: Corridors used by the public, travel interconnected floor space distance, Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.1.9.(2) & (5), 3.4.2.4.(2) Question: If a room opens onto a corridor that is used by the public, and the corridor is located in a building that contains an interconnected floor space conforming to Subsection 3.2.8., can the travel distance from the room to the nearest exit be measured from the room egress door? Interpretation: Yes, with conditions Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2) permits travel distance to be measured from an egress door of room with the following conditions: (a)(i) If the building is not sprinklered throughout - the room must be separated from the remainder of the floor area with a fire separation having a¾ hour fire resistance rating. (a)(ii) If the building is sprinklered throughout - the room must be separated from the remainder of the floor area with a fire separation with no fire resistance rating. (b)(ii) The corridor used by the public must be separated from the remainder of the floor area in conformance with the requirements in Article 3.3.1.4. for the separation of public corridors. The fact that the corridor is located in a building that contains an interconnected floor space does not affect the provisions of Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2), provided that the corridor is separated from the remainder of the floor area in accordance with Sub clause 3.4.2.4.(2){b)(ii) and Article 3.3.1.4. Note that minimum corridor widths described in Sentences 3.3.1.9.(2) & (5) must be maintained. Note also that if Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) is used to waive the fire separation between the room and the corridor, travel distance must be measured to "any part of the floor area" (i.e. within the room). Download
2012 12-0035 Braced Wall Panels Exemptions 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0035 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Braced Wall Panels Exemptions Keywords: Braced wall panel, braced wall band, roof framing Building Code Reference(s): 9.23.13.5.(3) Question: Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3) exempts porch with roof framing members spacing at 400 mm o.c. Does this exemption apply to porch with roof trusses at 400 mm. o.c.? Interpretation: YES Sentence 9.23.13.5.(3) exempts the braced wall panels for a single storey space where the roof of the space projects not more than 3.5 m from the nearest braced wall band and not more than half of the perpendicular dimension. The roof of such space is integral with the roof or the wall of the rest of the building with framing members not more than 400 mm o.c. With the absent of the braced wall panels the roof is acting like a braced wall transferring the shear forces to the roof or the wall of the building. The limitation of this exemption is for roof members spacing not more than 400 mm. o.c. Roof framing members spacing at 600 mm o.c. would have lower shear capacity. It is interpreted that this exemption also applies to roof framing with trusses spacing not more than 400 mm. o.c. Download
2012 12-0036 Silencing of Interconnected Smoke Alarms 27/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0036 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: January 27, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Silencing of Interconnected Smoke Alarms Keywords: Interconnected smoke alarm, silencing, dwelling unit, secondary suite Building Code Reference(s): 9.10.19.1., 9.10.19.5, 9.10.19.6.(1), 9.37.2.19 Question: All smoke alarms within a dwelling unit are required to be interconnected and each of the smoke alarm shall have an automatic resettable silencing feature (hush button). 1. When the silencing button of the activated smoke alarm is pressed, is it required to silence all the smoke alarms on that interconnection? 2. Can the alarm be silenced from any one of interconnected smoke alarms? 3. Should the interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms as required by Article 9.37.2.19 between the principal dwelling and the secondary suite be silenced from any one of the two? Interpretation: 1. Yes. Sentence 9.10.19.1.(1) requires that smoke alarms conforming to CAN/ULC-S531 shall be installed in a dwelling unit. Sentence 9.10.19.5.(1) requires all the smoke alarms within a dwelling unit be interconnected so that the activation of one alarm will cause all alarms within the dwelling unit to sound. Sentence 9.10.19.6.(1) requires each interconnected smoke alarm to have manually operated device (hush button) to silence the signal emitted by the smoke alarm for a period of not more than 10 minutes and after which the smoke alarm will reset and sound again if the level of smoke in the vicinity is sufficient to re-actuate it. f the smoke continues to build from a real fire while the alarm is in hush mode, the smoke will override the silence feature and the smoke alarm will resound. This is a convenient way to deal with nuisance alarms, such as those caused by burning toast or opening smoky ovens, and avoid having to disabling the alarm by disconnecting the power source. There is no language in the code to address the silencing of all the smoke alarms on that interconnection; however, the intent is to be able to silence all the smoke alarms on the same interconnection if the hush button of the activated smoke alarm is pressed. Generally the green LED on the smoke alarm is on constantly on standby mode. When a smoke alarm is activated by smoke the green LED will flash red and it sends a 9 volt signal to activate the alarm on all the interconnected smoke alarms. The remaining interconnected smoke alarms will sound but the green LED would not turn red. When the hush button is pressed on the activated smoke alarm the flashing red LED will turn green. The hush feature has the capability of temporarily desensitizing the smoke alarm circuit and the green LED will flash for about 10 minutes. It will silence the rest of the interconnected smoke alarms. When the unit returns to normal operation after being in hush mode, it will sound the alarm again if smoke is still present. 2. No. If the smoke alarm in the basement is activated by smoke pressing the hush button of the non-initiated smoke alarms on the interconnection (say at the top storey) would not silence all the alarms. This will prevent the occupants on the other floors away from the fire origin to silence the entire alarm system without knowing the fire situation. 3. No. The above interpretations should apply to the two interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in the principal dwelling and in the secondary suite as required by Article 9.37.2.19. If the photoelectric smoke alarm in the principal dwelling is activated the other photoelectric smoke alarm in the secondary suite will also sound. Pushing the hush button on the activated alarm located in the principal dwelling should silence both alarms. Pushing the hush button on the alarm in the secondary suite should not be able to silence both alarms since the occupants in the secondary suite would not know the fire condition in the principal dwelling. Download
2012 12-0037 Unsprinklered Electrical Room in an Interstitial Service Space not Considered a Storey 17/06/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0037 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 17, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Unsprinklered electrical room in an interstitial service space not considered a storey Keywords: Unsprinklered electrical room, interstitial service space Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.1.1.(8), 3.2.5.12.(1), NFPA 13 - 8.15.10.3 Question: Service spaces permitting entry for the purposes of maintenance and other operations relating to building services, are permitted to not be considered a storey if such space conforms to a series of fire and life safety measures, which also includes those covered by Article 3.2.5.14. This Article requires automatic sprinkler protection if the floor is other than catwalks. Can the provisions of NFPA 13 - 8.15.10.3 be then used to waive the automatic sprinklers inside an electrical room occupying partially or wholly the interstitial service space? Interpretation: Yes. Interstitial service spaces designed to 3.2.1.1.(8) are required to be sprinklered to 3.2.5.12.(1), 3.2.5.14, and NFPA 13. However NFPA 13- 8.15.10.3 allows sprinklers to be omitted from electrical equipment rooms subject to certain conditions: "8.15.10.3 Sprinklers shall not be required in electrical equipment rooms where all of the following conditions are met: (1) The room is dedicated to electrical equipment only. (2) Only dry-type electrical equipment is used. (3) Equipment is installed in a 2-hour fire-rated enclosure including protection for penetrations. (4) No combustible storage is permitted to be stored in the room." If all the above protection conditions are met, compliance with NFPA 13 would be achieved and the space would be deemed to be protected under NFPA 13. Note that this approach differs however, for example from that in Sentence 3.2.5.12.(6) for rooms or spaces immediately below a roof, where sprinklers are required notwithstanding any exemptions in the referenced sprinkler standards. Download
2012 12-0038 Elevator Car Minimum Inside Dimensions 21/04/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0038 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: April 21, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Elevator car minimum inside dimensions Keywords: Elevator car, minimum stretcher inside dimensions, patient Building Code Reference(s): 3.8.3.10, 3.5A.1.(1) Question: Article 3.8.3.10 provides 4 different options for connecting floors or levels at different elevations, to facilitate access for persons with disabilities. Limited-Use / Limited-Application (LULA) elevators are one such available option under Clauses 3.8.3.10.(1)(b) & (d), and are designed and constructed to ASME A17.1/CSA-844, "Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators"; but these do not fall under CAN/CSA-8355 "Lifts for Persons with Physical Disabilities" referenced in Clause 3.8.3.10.(1)(c). The LULA elevator is also acceptable under Clause 3.8.3.10.(1)(d) as another means acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction. If a LULA classified elevator is the only elevator provided for a storey, must such an elevator also comply with Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1), which requires elevator car minimum inside dimensions to accommodate a patient stretcher in the prone position? Interpretation: Yes; however further consideration is warranted for some situations as discussed below. The Elevating Devices Safety Regulation under the ASME A17.1/CSA-844 standard Section 5.2 allows an elevator classified as a Limited-Use/ Limited-Application (LULA) elevator to be used in buildings to facilitate access for persons with disabilities to different floor levels, consistent with Clauses 3.8.3.10.(1)(b) & (d). Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1) provides as an acceptable solution that if 1 or more elevators are provided in a building, all storeys must be served by at least 1 elevator that has inside dimensions that will accommodate and provide adequate access for a patient stretcher 2010 x 610mm held in the prone position. However a LULA elevator does not have the space requirements required under Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1) to accommodate a stretcher in the prone position. For smaller buildings or storeys and limited vertical rise conditions, designers have the option of choosing to specify a lift conforming to CAN/CSA-8355 "Lifts for Persons with Physical Disabilities". These would not be considered an "elevator" and would not be subject to Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1). However designers often consider using LULA elevators as a superior option to this. These elevators are designed and constructed to ASME A17.1/CSA-B44, "Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators" and not to CAN/CSA-B355 "Lifts for Persons with Physical Disabilities", but have similarities with lifts under the latter standard. A LULA elevator is defined in ASME A17.1/CSA-B44 Section 1.3 as "a power passenger elevator in which the use and application is limited by size, capacity, speed, and rise", and limited by reference 5.2.1.16 to max 635kg capacity and 1.67m2 area (typical dimensions are 1292 x 1292mm or 1065 x 1568mm); maximum vertical travel is 7.6m. fa.. LULA elevator is substantially similar to an enclosed platform lift conforming to CAN/CSA-B355, and is required by E-19 to meet E-1, and E-3 to E-17 of ASME A17.1/CSA-B44 Nonmandatory Appendix E "Elevator Requirements for Persons with Physical Disabilities in Jurisdictions Enforcing NBCC". For smaller buildings and storeys, provided the vertical travel of the LULA elevator is limited to a maximum vertical travel of 7m, and if such an elevating device would be used specifically to facilitate access for persons with disabilities, sufficiently similar to a lift under CAN/CSA-B355; such an elevator could be considered to not require the dimensional clearances in Sentence 3:5.4.1.(1). Although the LULA device is defined as an elevator, it essentially functions as a lift for accommodating persons with disabilities, with a limited vertical rise. Support for this approach is provided by Alberta's Standard Building Code Interpretation 06-BCl-028 of February 2010, and discussions with the BC Building and Safety Standards Branch. A proposed code change to clearly exempt LULA elevators from Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1) has been submitted to NRCC for consideration in the next edition of NBCC. Where multiple elevators are provided for a building or storey, at least one of the elevators must conform to Sentence 3.5.4.1.(1), which requires elevator car minimum inside dimensions to accommodate a patient stretcher in the prone position. Download
2012 12-0039 Clearance Beside a Door Latch of a Toilet Compartment 17/02/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0039 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 17, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Clearance beside a door latch of a toilet compartment Keywords: Door clearance, disability, accessibility, toilet compartment Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.1.13.(10)(b); 3.7.2.10.(2) Question: Does the door to an accessible toilet compartment as per Sentence 3.7.2.10.(2) need to conform to Clause 3.3.1.13.(10)(b) and maintain clearances of 300 mm and 600 mm beside the door latch? Interpretation: No. The toilet compartment door and hardware requirements specified in Sentence 3.7.2.10.(2) allow wheelchair access to control the door opening, closing and latching by specifying the location and a type of the pull handles, see Clauses 3.7.2.10.(2)(d, e & f). Download
2012 12-0040 Spatial Separation for C-shaped Buildings 16/09/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0040 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 16, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Spatial separation for C-shaped buildings Keywords: Spatial separation, limiting distance, C-shaped buildings Building Code Reference(s): Div A - 1.4.1.2.(1) (def'n of limiting distance), 3.2.3.14. Question: This project is a C-shaped building that is divided into separate fire compartments. Are 2 separate fire compartments that face one another in this C-shaped building subject to spatial separation requirements of Subsection 3.2.3. Interpretation: Yes, with exceptions The exposing building faces of 2 separate fire compartments that are located within the same building are subject to the requirements of Article 3.2.3.14. If the building is not sprinklered throughout, spatial separation requirements described in Sentences 3.2.3.14.(1) & (2) apply, and the distance "Do" is measured between the exterior building faces of the 2 separate fire compartments as shown in Figure A-3.2.3.14.(1)-8 of Division B - Appendix A. If the building is sprinklered throughout, Sentence 3.2.3.14.(3) permits unlimited unprotected openings in the exposing building faces in both fire compartments that face one another. The requirements of Article 3.2.3.1. do not apply to the exposing building faces of 2 separate fire compartments that are located within the same building. Download
2012 12-0041 Fire Separation of Service Room Containing Life Safety Equipment 16/09/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0041 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: September 16, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire Separation of Service Room containing life safety equipment· Keywords: Fire separation, service room Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.4.11.(2)(b), 3.6.2.1.(1) to (8) Question: If service equipment, such as sprinkler valves and fire alarm components, are located in a service room within a floor area that is sprinklered throughout, is a fire separation required for such a service room? Interpretation: No· Sentences 3.6.2.1.(1) to (6) determine when a service room is required, and when the perimeter walls of a service room require a fire separation based on the hazard presented by the equipment located within the service room. The requirements in these sentences apply to both sprinklered and unsprinklered floor areas. Sentence 3.6.2.1.(7) states that in a storey that is not sprinklered throughout, a fire separation with a 1 hour fire resistance rating is required around a service room containing equipment other than that addressed in Sentences (1) to (6); however, Sentence 3.6.2.1.(8) waives the requirement for such a fire separation if the service room contains a limited qua,ntity of service equipment, and the service equipment neither constitutes a fire hazard nor is essential tb the operation of fire safety systems in the building. Both sentences only apply to service rooms in a storey that is not sprinklered throughout. In a storey that is sprinklered throughout, a service room containing equipment essential to the operation of fire safety systems in the building, and such equipment is not _listed in Sentences (1) to (6), no fire separation is required. If the fire safety equipment is listed in Sentences (1) to (6), such as a diesel emergency power generator or dialectric liquid-filled electrical equipment, a 1 hour fire separation is required. It is concluded that in a floor area that is sprinklered throughout, the perimeter walls of a service room containing service equipment such as sprinkler valves and fire alarm components, need not be constructed as fire separations. If an electrical room is unsprinklered as permitted by NFPA 13, the following provisions are required: • The room is dedicated to electrical equipment only, • Only dry-type electrical equipment is used, • Equipment is installed in a 2-hour fire-rated enclosure including protection of penetrations, and • No combustible storage is permitted to be stored in the room. If such electrical room is unsprinklered, Clause 3.2.4.11.(2)(b) would require a fire detector within such room. This is commonly achieved with a smoke detector with separate annunciation at the fire alarm annunciator panel. Note -this is an update to Interpretation 06-0043 to specifically address unsprinklered electrical rooms. Download
2012 12-0042 Residential Mezzanine at the Top Storey 16/09/2014 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0042 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 16, 2014 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Residential Mezzanine at the Top Storey Keywords: Top storey, mezzanine, building height, high building Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) Question: If the top storey of a residential building contains a mezzanine, and the height of the top storey is less than 18m above grade, but the height of the mezzanine is more than 18m above grade, is the bufldit1@ considered to be a high building? Interpretation: Yes Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(d) clearly states that if a building contains a Group C major occupancy whose floor level is more than 18m above grade, such a building must be considered to be a high building. Although the mezzanine may not be considered to be a "storey", it is still considered to be a "floor level" for the purposes of Clause 3.2.6.1.(1)(d). This interpretation is consistent with the 2012 BCBC Errata for 6 storey combustible residential buildings Clause 3.2.2.50.(1)(c) which reads: "c) it has a maximum height of less than 18 m measured between grade and the uppermost floor level of the top storey''. The uppermost floor level of the top storey would be the mezzanine. Download
2012 12-0043 Limits for Exterior Openings for Dwelling Units with Secondary Suites 16/09/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0043 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: September 16, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 (after December 19, 2014) Subject: Limits for exterior openings for dwelling units with secondary suites Keywords: Windows, unprotected openings, limiting distance, dwelling units, secondary suites Building Code Reference(s): 9.37.2.18.(2)(b), 9.10.14.4.(3), 9.10.15.4.(3), 9.10.14.2, 9.10.15.2 Question: An unsprinklered dwelling unit which includes a secondary suite has a limiting distance to side property lines of over 1.2m, but less than 2m. 1. Which Subsection applies: 9.10.14, or 9.10.15? 2. Based on Clause 9.37.2.18.(2)(b), Sentence 9.10.14.4.(3) applies. Are the limits for individual unprotected openings applied in all cases of an exterior wall with varying limiting distances along its face, even if some of them are located over 2m away from the property line? 3. Are the limits in Sentence 9.10.14.4.(3) applied to both sides of the dwelling unit even if the secondary suite is located horizontally only on one side of the dwelling unit? 4. Are these restrictions applied even to existing dwelling units being renovated to accommodate a secondary suite? 5. Are the limits in Sentence 9.10.14.4.(3) applied even to an exterior door? Interpretation: 1. Subsection 9.10.15 should apply. It is recognized that it is intended that the spatial separation exposure protection approach for dwelling units with secondary suites should not be any different from that for individual dwelling units. It is expected that this will be better clarified in the next edition of the Building Code. Refer also to previous BC Building Policy Branch Bulletin No, B07-04 "Spatial Separation for Buildings Incorporating a Secondary Suite", copy attached. It is noted the NBCC 2010 explicitly includes a dwelling unit with a secondary suite in the scope of subsection 9.10.15. Note that per the definition of a secondary suite, Section 9.37 applies only to a building of residential occupancy having only one other dwelling unit. · 2. It is recognized that it is intended that the spatial separation exposure protection approach for dwelling units with secondary suites should not be any different from that for individual dwelling units. In this case the more appropriate reference should actually be 9.10.15.4.(3), and the Subsection 9.10.15 approach allowing separate portions of the exposing building face to be used for the purposes of separately determining percentages of openings permitted, would be appropriate. It is expected that this will be better clarified in the next edition of the Building Code. Refer also to previous BC Building Policy Branch explanatory bulletin No. B07-04 "Spatial Separation for Buildings Incorporating a Secondary Suite", copy attached. 3. Yes. Currently there is no distinction made in the Building Code as to which side of the building the secondary suite is located, for spatial separation or exposure protection purposes. In this case the more appropriate reference should actually-be 9.10.15.4.(3). 4. Yes. There is no distinction made between new or existing buildings in Section 9.37. 5. No. It is recognized that it is intended that the spatial separation exposure protection approach for dwelling units with secondary suites should not be any different from that for individual dwelling units. The more appropriate reference should be 9.10.15.4.(3). This sentence addresses "glazed openings" as opposed to "unprotected openings". It is expected that this will be better clarified in the next edition of the Building Code. Download
2012 12-0044 Water Pipe Sizing 27/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0044 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: Jan 27, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Plumbing Code 2012 Subject: Water Pipe Sizing Keywords: Velocities , Water Pipe Sizing Building Code Reference(s): Tables A-2.6.3.1.(2)A&F & 2.6.3.4. Question: 1. Considering the maximum fixture units permitted for various water velocities indicated in Table 2.6.3.4 would this apply to all types of water piping material regardless of the variation with internal diameter? 2. Do the hydraulic fixture unit loads shown in Table A-2.6.3.1.(2)A (Small Commercial Method) and A-2.6.3.1.(2)F (Average Pressure Loss Method) apply to the nominal pipe size of all types of water piping regardless of the actual internal diameter of the pipe and fittings? Interpretation: 1. No Table 2.6.3.4.was created to show the fixture units permitted for the velocities shown in each column using the internal diameter of copper tubing and other piping using iron pipe size internal dimensions which is consistent with most published engineering data including ASPE Data Books. One very important component in adequate water pipe sizing is the internal diameter of the chosen piping as it controls the actual velocity and ensures the system can supply water to the most remote water outlet. For example, where a pipe manufacturer indicates an acceptable maximum velocity for a product it must be the actual velocity based on the internal diameter being equal to or greater than the minimum internal dimensions used to create Table 2.6.3.4.velocity columns. The total fixture unit values indicated in each velocity column should be adjusted by a percentage amount that is equal to the actual variation with the internal diameter of the iron pipe dimensions used in Table 2.6.3.4. Therefore, the existing Table 2.6.3.4. for buildings containing one or two Dwelling Units and Row houses with separate Water Services should be used for copper tube, and PVC-Schedule 40 for cold water supply only, and other piping whose SOR dimensions are based on the O.D. of Iron Pipe. See the POABC Website for a Bulletin including tables that reflect the adjusted Total Fixture Units permitted for piping systems whose internal dimensions vary from copper tube or iron pipe. 2. No The Appendix contains the Small Commercial Method, the Average Pressure Loss Method and the One/Two Family Dwelling Method which provide simplified methods for the noted building types. The total fixture unit capacities indicated in Tables A-2.6.3.1.(2)A and Table 'A-2.6.3.1.(2)F were created using the same engineering data as Table 2.6.3.4.that includes iron pipe O.D. dimensions to determine the minimum internal pipe diameters. The Small Commercial Method uses the existing Table A-2.6.3.1. (2)A that indicates total permitted fixture units based on actual velocities and pressures available to supply water to the most remote outlet. This table should only be used for copper tube or PVC-Schedule 40 for cold water only and other pipe material with internal diameters that are equal to or larger than Type L copper or iron pipe size. The Average Pressure Loss Method uses Figure A-2.6.3.1.(2)A to establish the minimum pressure required for friction loss based on the total developed length of the installation, the adjusted pressure available at the entry of the water service and the actual velocity of the chosen pipe material. As noted in the other methods it is again very important for the internal diameter to be equal to or greater than the iron pipe dimensions because where the internal diameter is less than the iron pipe dimensions the system would not be able to provide adequate water supply to the most remote fixture supply pipe. The existing Table A-2.6.3.1.(2)F should be used only for Type L copper tube, or PVC-Schedule 40 for cold water only, and other pipe material whose SOR dimensions are based on the O.D. dimensions of iron pipe In order to ensure proper pipe sizing the permitted maximum fixture units that apply to each of the velocity columns must have the actual iron pipe minimum internal dimensions or have the maximum permitted fixture units adjusted by a percentage amount that is equal to the actual variation with the internal diameter of the iron pipe/copper tube used in all of the pipe sizing tables. Care must be taken to ensure the adjusted Fixture Unit Values are in accordance with the good engineering practice published in ASHRAE Handbooks and ASPE Data Books. See the POABC Website for a Bulletin including tables that reflect the adjusted Total Fixture Units permitted for piping systems whose internal dimensions vary from copper tube and iron pipe. An alternate to any of these quick methods for smaller buildings would be to use a Detailed Engineering Design Method although it would likely arrive at the same pipe size conclusion. Download
2012 12-0045 Washroom Counts for Exterior Ancillary Spaces 27/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0045 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: January 27, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Washroom counts for exterior ancillary spaces Keywords: Washroom counts, exterior occupancies ancillary spaces, assembly Building Code Reference(s): 3.1.17.1., 3.7.2.2. Question: Washroom counts are determined based on estimated occupant load which is typically derived from floor area size, as set out in Article 3.1.17.1. "Floor area" is a defined term and is typically assumed to refer to interior spaces bounded by exterior walls. Do the requirements for washroom fixtures apply to exterior ancillary spaces such as exterior patios and roof decks? Interpretation: Yes. Occupant load is determined from Sentences 3.1.17.1.(1) & (2). Sentence 3.1.17.1.(3) indicates that balconies are regarded as part of the floor area for the purposes of Article 3.1.17.1. Similarly exterior ancillary spaces if occupied should be con idered as part of the interior floor area for the purposes of Articles 3.1.17.1 and 3.7.2.2. However if it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that fewer persons will actually occupy simultaneously both interior and exterior spaces combined, then this would be consistent with Clause 3.1.17.1.(1)(c). Seating in an exterior space is typically seasonal; discussion and agreement with the Authority having Jurisdiction may be warranted. Download
2012 12-0046 Water Closet Calculations 17/02/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0046 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 17, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Water closet calculations Keywords: Water closets Building Code Reference(s): 3.7.2.2.; Table 3.7.2.2.A; 3.7.2.2.(7) Question: 1. Clarify the wording in Table 3.7.2.2.A (Assembly) for the over 400 persons in each sex 7, plus 1 for each additional increment of 200 males in excess of 400. 2. Clarify the wording in Sentence 3.7.2.2.(7) (Daycare and Primary Schools) "... at least one for each 30 males... ". NUMBER OF MALE WATER CLOSETS NUMBER OF FEMALE WATER CLOSETS 1. 351-400 6 water closets 351-400 12 water closets 401-600 7 water closets 401-500 13 water closets 501-600 14 water closets 601-800 8 water closets 601-700 15 water closets 701-800 16 water closets etc. etc. 2. 1-30 1 water closet 1-25 1 water closet 31-60 2 water closets 26-50 2 water closets 61-90 3 water closets 51-75 3 water closets etc. 76-100 4 water closets etc. Download
2012 12-0047 Roof Deck above a 3 Storey Townhouse Suite 17/03/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0047 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: March 17, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Roof deck above a 3 storey townhouse suite Keywords: Roof deck, townhouse, storey, single exit Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.4.4., 9.9.9.1.(3), 9.10.4.4. Question: This Part 9 building contains 3 storey non-stacked townhouse suites (i.e. no dwelling unit above or below another suite) that is served by a single exterior exit door at the 1st storey. 1. Is it permissible to have an occupied roof deck on the 4th level? 2. Is it permissible to have an internal stair that leads to this roof deck where the stair has a landing at the 4th level and has a rooftop enclosure at the 4th level? 3. Is it permissible to have screens and open trellises on the 4th level roof deck? Interpretation: 1. Yes Sentence 9.9.9.1.(3) permits the travel distance to a single exterior exit door at the 1st storey to exceed 1 storey when the floor level has direct access to a balcony. The 4th level roof deck would be considered as a "balcony" for the purposes of Sentence 9.9.9.1.(3). 2. Yes Although the wording of Sentence 9.10.4.4.(1) is somewhat ambiguous, the intent statements of both Sentences 3.2.1.1.(1) and 9.10.4.4.(1) are identical. It is interpreted that the intent of Sentence 9.10.4.4.(1) is to permit a rooftop enclosure for an internal access stairway to the roof deck without considering the rooftop enclosure as a storey in calculating the building height. Both the rooftop enclosure and the roof deck would not be considered as a storey, so the building would be classified as 3 storeys in building height as required for a Part 9 building. Note -the BC Building Code Interpretation Committee has submitted a proposed code change to NRC to revise the wording of Sentence 9.10.4.4.(1) to match that of Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1). 3. Yes Screens and open trellises would not result in the roof deck to be considered as a storey. Download
2012 12-0048 Minimum Size of Fixture Outlet Pipe for Laundry Tray 27/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0048 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: January 27, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Plumbing Code 2012 Subject: Minimum Size of Fixture Outlet Pipe for Laundry Tray Keywords: Laundry Tray, Clothes Washer, Fixture Outlet Pipe, Trap Building Code Reference(s): Table 2.4.9.3., 2.4.9.3.(3), Appendix A-2.4.9.3.(3) Question: What is the minimum size of the fixture outlet pipe and trap serving a laundry tray that receives the discharge from a clothes washer? Interpretation: A laundry tray that receives the discharge from a domestic clothes washer is permitted a minimum 1½" fixture outlet pipe and trap. Table 2.4.9.3 provides the minimum permitted size of a fixture outlet pipe for various fixtures. A laundry tray is permitted a minimum fixture outlet pipe of 1½". Additionally, the Table provides a footnote, (1), in relation to a domestic clothes washer directing the user to Appendix A. Appendix A-Table 2.4.9.3. states, "When determining the hydraulic load on a pipe, no allowance need be made for a load from a domestic clothes washer when discharged to a laundry tray since the hydraulic load from the laundry tray is sufficient". Further requirements for clothes washer standpipe installations are contained in Sentence 2.4.9.3.(3) which indicate that a difference exists when a clothes washer is drained to a laundry tray as opposed to having an individual connection point. The volume of liquid retention inherent to a laundry tray is clearly a factor to consider. It is also important to ensure that the clothes washer standpipe minimum length of 600 mm is maintained as illustrated in Appendix A-2.4.9.3.(3). Download
2012 12-0049 Materials in Air Duct and Plenum Systems 21/04/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0049 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: April 21, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Materials in Air Duct and Plenum Systems Keywords: Air duct systems, plenums, flame spread cavity, I-joist rating, joist Building Code Reference(s): 9.33.6.1.(1), 9.33.6.2.(2), 9.33.6.4.(2) Question: For Part 9 buildings, joist cavities formed by wood I-joists are sometimes used for air duct or plenum systems for heating systems with rated heat energy input not exceeding 120 kW and in which the air temperature does not exceed 120°C. Are the I-joists compliant with the materials characteristics required for this use; for example: flame spread rating, smoke developed classification, smoothness, etc? Interpretation: No. Sentence 9.33.6.2.(2) sets out the criteria for conformance of plenums containing combustible materials. One of these key criteria is conformance to Class 1 duct materials in CAN/ULC-S110-07, 'Tests for Air Ducts". In that standard, Class 1 duct materials are required to have a maximum flame spread rating of 25 without evidence of continued progressive combustion, and a maximum smoke developed classification of 50. The standard subjects test samples also to various durability tests such as for erosion. Sentence 9.33.6.4.(2) also requires that when combustible coverings and linings, including associated adhesives and insulation are used for plenums and other parts of air duct systems, they shall have a flame spread rating not exceeding 25 throughout the material, and a smoke developed classification not exceeding 50. Typically, wood I-joists can be expected to have surface characteristics with flame spread rating as much as 150 and smoke developed classification as much as 300, and if not specially treated, cannot meet a Class 1 standard. Note however, that there are exceptions in Sentences 9.33.6.2.(5) &(6) for such combustible plenum systems contained entirely within a dwelling unit. Where the rated heat energy input exceeds 120 kW and in which the air temperature exceeds 120°C, the system must conform to Subsection 3.6.5 and Part 6. Download
2012 12-0050 Potable Water Cross Connection - Premise Isolation 15/01/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0050 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: February 17, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Plumbing Code 2012 Subject: Potable Water Cross Connection - Premise Isolation Keywords: Cross Connection, Potable Water, Premise Isolation Building Code Reference(s): 2.6.2.6.(1), Appendix A, Intent Statement Question: 1. Is the intent of Sentence 2.6.2.6.(1) to require premise isolation when a potentially severe health hazard may be caused by backflow from a fixture or device? 2. If a building contains a trap primer, which is classified as a severe hazard, and this trap primer is protected by an air gap, would Sentence 2.6.2.6.(1) still require the potable water system to be provided with premise isolation by the installation of a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer (RPBP)? Interpretation: 1. No Sentence 2.6.2.6.(1) states, in part, "for buildings or facilities where a potentially severe health hazard may be caused by backflow, the potable water system shall be provided with premise isolation by the installation of a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer". This means that there are identified buildings or facilities which require premise isolation, (examples of these building types are given in Appendix A -A-2.6.2.6.(1)), not solely because a severe health hazard exists at a fixture or device. For example, a building that contains a boiler with a snow melt system presents a potentially severe hazard, but the protection provided by the RPBP on the potable water connection to the boiler would be adequate. On the other hand, a hospital which contains operating, mortuary or laboratory facilities would require premise isolation in addition to the required device(s) at the individual connection(s) to equipment or fixtures. The key part of Sentence 2.6.2.6.(1) is that it relates to "buildings or facilities where a potentially severe health hazard may be caused by backflow". This interpretation is further supported by the Intent Statement which reads 'To limit the probability that an inability to isolate portions of potable water systems in such buildings or facilities will lead to the spread of contaminated water beyond the premise of origin, which could lead to the spread of a potentially severe health hazard, which could lead to harm to persons". 2. No (see answer above) Download
2012 12-0051 Fire Separation Requirements for Various Types of Vestibules 09/12/2018 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0051 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 3 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2015 (revised December 9, 2018) Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire separation requirements for various types of vestibules Keywords: Fire separation, vestibules Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.6.2.(4), Appendix B-3.2.6.2.(4), (3.2.6.3.(1), Appendix B-3.2.6.3.(1), 3.2.8.5.(1)(b), 3.3.5.4.(1), 3.3.5.7., 3.4.4.4.(7),(8) Question: The building code requires the installation of vestibules for a number of different reasons, but it is often not clear as to the required fire-resistance rating (FRR) for the perimeter walls of these vestibules. Please clarify the required fire-resistance ratings for fire separation walls for the various types of vestibules. Interpretation: Except as noted below, when the building code requires a vestibule, the vestibule walls should be constructed as fire separations with no fire-resistance rating. All doors that open onto the vestibule must have self-closing devices and positive latching. For all building types: The wall between a vestibule and an exit stair requires the same FRR as required for the exit stair per Article 3.4.4.1. The wall between a vestibule and an elevator hoistway requires that same FRR as required for the elevator hoistway per Article 3.5.3.1. The wall between a vestibule and a room that requires a fire separation (e.g. a service room that contains fuel-fired equipment) must have the same FRR that is required for the room. For High Buildings per Subsection 3.2.6. When vestibules are required between the following components, vestibule perimeter walls must be constructed as fire separations with the following fire-resistance ratings: When an elevator hoistway penetrates a floor above the lowest exit storey (e.g. Level 2 floor slab when Level 1 is the exit storey) as well as the floor of the storey immediately below the lowest exit storey (e.g. Level 1 floor slab when Level 1 is the exit storey), elevator lobbies that are located below the lowest exit storey will be separated as follows: To a public corridor 45 min FRR App B-3.2.6.2,(4) To any stair or elevator shaft 2 hour FRR App B-3.2.6.2,(4) To any floor area other than public corridor 2 hour FRR App B-3.2.6.2,(4) High building connected to another building 2 hour FRR 3.2.6.3.(1), App B-3.2.6.3.(1) The wording of Sentence 3.2.6.2.(4} clearly states that "measures shall be taken to limit movement of smoke from a fire in a "floor area" below the lowest exit storey (i.e. Level P1J into upper storeys (i.e. Level 1J". Appendix B-3.2.6.2.(4) refers to an elevator hoistway that penetrates the "floor of the storey immediately below the exit storey". Note that the definition of "storey" means that portion of the building that is situated between the top of any floor and the top of any floor next above it. This means that the Level 1 floor slab is the floor of the storey immediately below the lowest exit storey when Level 1 is the lowest exit storey as describe is Appendix B-3.2.6.2.(4). Refer to the sketches on Page 3 for further clarification. Elevator 1 does not require a fire rated CO vestibule because it does not penetrate the Level 1 floor slab (the floor of the storey below the exit level. Elevator 2 does not require a fire rated CO vestibule because it does not penetrate the Level 2 floor slab (the floor of the storey above the exit level). Elevators 3 & 4 require fire rated CO vestibules because they penetrate both the Level 1 and Level 2 floor slabs (the floors of the storeys below and above the exit level). Download
2012 12-0053 Visibility of Leading Edges of Stair Treads and Landings 19/05/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0053 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Visibility of Leading Edges of Stair Treads and Landings Keywords: Treads, Landings, Demarcation, Visible Building Code Reference(s): 3.4.6.1.(1) Question: Can the demarcation of the leading edge of stair treads and landings be provided by contrasting colours or patterns only on the stair tread or landing, with no additional demarcation on the riser? Interpretation: Yes. Clause 3.4.6.1. (1)(b) requires the surfaces of ramps, landings and treads that are accessible to the public to have either a colour contrast or a distinctive pattern, readily visible from both directions of travel, to demarcate the leading edge of the tread and the landing, as well as the beginning and end of a ramp. This is a performance-based requirement, since the type, dimension and location of the colour contrast or pattern are not specified. For a person descending a stair, a colour contrast or distinctive pattern on the treads at the leading edges will be visible for all treads in a straight flight. For a person ascending a stair flight, the colours or patterns on the treads will be visible for the treads up to about eye level in front of the person, which would be approximately 5 to 10 steps ahead depending on the stair rise and on the person's height. This is considered to be sufficient to meet the Building Code intent by allowing persons to identify the leading edge of stair treads and landings. Download
2012 12-0054 Mezzanines 16/06/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0054 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: June 16, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Mezzanines Keywords: Mezzanines, enclosed mezzanine, open mezzanine Building Code Reference(s): Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3), (4) & (7) Question: An existing 1 storey building contains 2 separate suites (Suites A & B) of Group F Division 2 major occupancy. These 2 suites share a demising separation wall. The owner proposes to combine these 2 suites into a single suite by installing a new man door (2.1 sq.m. in area) in the demising wall. The existing Suite A is 312 sq.m. in area and contains an existing open mezzanine of 55.6 sq.m. The existing Suite Bis 334 sq.m. in area and does not contain any mezzanine. After combining the 2 suites into a single suite, the owner proposes to construct a new enclosed mezzanine with an area of 46 sq.m within the former Suite B. This new mezzanine will exceed 10% of the area of the former Suite B, but it will be less than 10% of the total combined area of the single suite that is created by combining both the former Suites A and B. 1. Does the n e w enclosed mezzanine in Suite B conform to Article 3.2.1.1., if Suites A and B are combined as a single suite that retains the separation wall but simply includes a new man door (2.1m2) in the former demising wall? 2. Must the new mezzanine comply with both Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4)? 3. Does Sentence 3.2.1.1.(7) apply to the new mezzanine in former Suite B? Interpretation: 1. Yes If Suites A and B are combined to operate as a single suite, then the unenclosed mezzanine in the former Suite A would comply with Clause 3.2.1.1.(3)(a) since more than 60% of the horizontal plane of the "room" in which it is located is open. The new enclosed mezzanine in the former Suite B would comply with Sentence 3.2.1.1.(4) since the area of the new enclosed mezzanine would be less than 10% of the area of the combined "suite". 2. No. A mezzanine within a suite can comply with either Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) or 3.2.1.1.(4). 3. No. Sentence 3.2.1.1.(7) only applies to "open" mezzanines as described in Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3). Since the "enclosed" mezzanine in the former Suite B is designed as an "enclosed" mezzanine per Sentence 3.2.1.1.(4), Sentence 3.2.1.1.(7) does not apply. Refer also to previous interpretations 98-0067 and 98-0069. Download
2012 12-0055 Manufactured Folding Doors 16/06/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0055 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 16, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Manufactured Folding Doors Keywords: Manufactured, pre-assembled, NAFS, site-built Building Code Reference(s): 9.7.4.1, 9.7.4.2., 9.7.5.1. Question: Since most of the manufactured folding doors are assembled on site can they be considered as site-built doors as per Article 9.7.5.1.? Interpretation: No. Article 9.7.4.2. requires windows, doors and skylights to conform to North American Fenestration Standard/ Specification for windows, doors and skylights (NAFS 2008). Section 1.1 of NAFS specifies the scope of the standard that applies to operating and fixed, prime and replacement windows, doors, tubular daylighting devices, and unit skylights installed into exterior building envelopes. It also states that this standard does not include interior windows and doors; vehicular­ access doors (garage doors); sloped glazing; curtain wall and storefront; storm windows and doors; commercial entrance systems; sunrooms; revolving doors; site-built door systems; and commercial steel doors. Manufactured folding doors installed into exterior building envelopes are not listed in the exemptions; therefore, they have to conform to NAFS. Although folding doors are usually assembled on site they cannot be considered as site-built doors since they are shipped from one distinct manufacturer as per the explanation of Bulletin B13-06 issued by the Building and Safety Standards Branch. It is interpreted that all folding doors shall be considered as specialty product (SP) according to Table 5 of the NAFS and shall be tested accordingly. Download
2012 12-0056 Fire Detectors Required by the Elevating Devices Safety Regulation-ASME A17.1/CSA B44-10 19/05/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0056 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: May 19, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Fire Detectors Required by the Elevating Devices Safety Regulation-ASME A17.1/CSA B44-10 Keywords: Fire Detectors, Fire Alarm System, Elevating Devices Building Code Reference(s): 3.5.2.1.(1); 3.2.4.1., 3.2.4.11. Question: This project is an unsprinklered building that is not required to be equipped with a fire alarm system as described in Article 3.2.4.1. If this project is provided with an elevator, does that trigger a requirement to install a complete fire alarm system throughout the building to accommodate the fire detectors that are required by ASME A17.1/CSA B44-10 (Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators) for elevator recall? Interpretation: No Article 3.2.4.1. describes when a building requires a fire alarm system. The requirements of Article 3.2.4.11. for fire detectors do not apply to buildings that do not require a fire alarm system per Article 3.2.4.1. ASME 17.1/CSA B44-10 requires automatic recall of all elevators, regardless of building type. This Standard requires smoke detectors in the following locations: 1. Top of each elevator shaft 2. Within each elevator machine room 3. At every elevator lobby on each floor level This Standard also states that if a fire detector (smoke or heat) is provided within an elevator pit, when actuated, it must also initiate elevator recall and the elevator car should go to the upper of the 2 recall levels (i.e. furthest away from the elevator pit). The provision of a fire detector in the elevator pit is not mandated by the Standard. The fire detectors required by ASME 17.1/CSA B44-10 do not trigger a requirement for a fire alarm system throughout the building. Download
2012 12-0057 Spatial Separation Measurement Near the Corners of Buildinqs 15/09/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0057 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 2 Interpretation Date: September 15, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Spatial Separation Measurement Near the Corners of Buildinqs Keywords: Spatial Separation, Limiting Distance Building Code Reference(s): 1.4.1.2.(1); 3.2.3.1.; A-3.2.3.; 9.10.14; 9.10.15.; A-9.10.15. Question: Where there are two separate buildings on the same site, that are near to one another at corners (i.e. 90-degree corners where the projection of each face does not intersect with the adjacent building), does the limiting distance need to be measured to : 1. A Limiting Distance Reference Line for each of the two buildings? or, 2. To the Property Line without considering the location of the adjacent building? 3. Would it be possible to subdivide this property in future? Interpretation: 1. No The lines that are suggested (see p.2 of 2 - drawing A) are not Limiting Distance lines as referenced in definition of Sentence 1.4.1.2.(1). "The Limiting Distance is( ... ) an imaginary line between 2 buildings( ... ) measured at right angles to the exposing building face." See more explanations in Appendix Subsections A-3.2.3 and A-9.10.15. 2. Yes. At this configuration of the site, the Limiting Distances in drawing B have to be measured to the property lines. It must be noted that any projections (protrusions, decks, balconies or roof eaves) of one of the buildings to another, which becomes extended within the area of limiting distance of the other building, would have to be dealt with according to the provisions of Article 3.2.3.1. or Subsection 9.10.14. or 9.10.15. 3. The subdivision of the property is regulated by different regulations than BCBC 2012. As it is noted in Appendix Subsection A-3.2.3. in case that one property inflicts conditions on to the other by having a limiting distance measured not to the property line the legal agreement would normally be registered with the titles of both properties. Download
2012 12-0058 Elevator in a Walkway between Buildings 16/06/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0058 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: June 16, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Elevator in a walkway between buildings Keywords: Elevator, Walkway between Buildings Building Code Reference(s): 3.2.3.19. Question: This project contains 2 separate buildings that are connected with an above ground walkway as described in Article 3.2.3.19. Is it permitted to have an elevator connected to the walkway? Interpretation: Yes There are no restrictions in the building code that would prevent an elevator from being connected to an above ground walkway between 2 buildings. Download
2012 12-0059 Stair or Elevator Tower Serving Occupancies "above" a Storage Garage 03/09/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0059 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 3, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Stair or elevator tower serving occupancies "above" a storage garage Keywords: Stair or elevator tower, carbon monoxide control, vestibules Building Code Reference(s): 3.3.5.4.(1) Question: Sentence 3.3.5.4.(1) indicates that if access is provided from a storage garage to a stair or elevator tower serving occupancies "above" the level of the storage garage, an intervening carbon monoxide control vestibule must be provided. In a design where the non-parking occupancies (such as office use) being served by the parking, are beside the storage garage via a stairshaft, but at an elevation higher than the level of the storage garage (at an intermediate level between storeys), is it also considered as being "above" the storage garage for the purposes of carbon monoxide control? Interpretation: Yes. The intent of Sentence 3.3.5.4.(1) is to provide for control of carbon monoxide potentially moving to upper storeys of a building via stair or elevator towers (shafts). The hazard being addressed is the potential for stack effect mechanisms and air leakage at openings, combining to move hazardous concentrations of carbon monoxide contaminated air through vertical shafts and into non-parking occupancies at a higher elevation than the parking level. Floor levels which are located on the same storey or floor elevation are not covered by Sentence 3.3.5.4.(1). Article 3.3.5.7 is the Building Code reference which addresses the hazards of carbon monoxide movement on the same storey or floor elevation as a storage garage; including those portions of floors that are at a higher elevation, but on the same storey, as a storage garage; but whose levels are not connected by a stair or elevator shaft. Download
2012 12-0060 Maximum Unsupported Height of Wood Studs 15/09/2015 AIBC, APEGBC, BOABC, POABC File No: 12-0060 INTERPRETATION Page 1 of 1 Interpretation Date: September 15, 2015 Building Code Edition: BC Building Code 2012 Subject: Maximum unsupported height of wood studs Keywords: Maximum unsupported height, wood studs Building Code Reference(s): Table 9.23.10.1. Question: A previous Interpretation 98-0120, based on the 1998 BC Building Code, clarified that the "Maximum Unsupported Height" in the former Table 9.23.10.A. means the vertical height of a stud between lateral members that brace the strong axis of the stud. The intent of this interpretation was to clarify the unsupported height related to overall height of the stud between lateral supports, rather than the height of a portion of stud between horizontal blocking within the stud space. Please clarify if the "Maximum Unsupported Height" is intended to be the height of the vertical stud itself, or if it is intended to be the height of the entire stud wall which includes the stud plus the top and bottom plates. Interpretation: Table 9.23.10.1. has been in the building code since the 1977 edition of the National Building Code of Canada. This Table originated based on experience, rather than any engineering calculations. Therefore a designer should be conservative in their design approach when applying this Table. Conventional wood framing of a wood stud wall includes a double top plate and a single bottom plate. The upper face of the double plate is laterally braced by the underside of the roof or floor joists. The bottom face of the bottom plate is laterally braced. by the floor sheathing. With such conventional framing, the top and bottom plates are adequate to transfer the lateral forces from the lateral framing members to the top and bottom of the wood stud itself. Therefore, using conventional framing, the "Maximum Unsupported Length" would be the actual length of the wood stud itself rather than the overall height of the wood stud wall which includes the top and bottom plates. Download