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 18-0030 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