Burning balconies, changes in the works
Nov 1, 2013 / 4:11 pm
Changes to the BC Building Code, pertaining to sprinklers on apartment decks and patios, are coming.
The new regulations, expected to come into effect soon, would require sprinklers on patios and decks on new construction of wood buildings regardless of height.
The new regulation (NFPR 13R) will take affect once it is adopted by the National Building Code and the BC Building Code.
Current building code regulations require sprinklers on patios of buildings over four storeys.
At the present time there are only four multi-residential buildings in Kelowna that include sprinkler protected balconies
Kelowna Fire Department Chief, Jeff Carlisle welcomes the change, especially in the wake of two devastating fires in the Rutland area earlier this year.
However, Carlisle says the challenge now is with approximately 490 already existing multi-residential buildings, which will not have to follow the new code and are not equipped with sprinklered balconies.
"The existing low-rise (lower than four storeys) buildings that were built without sprinklers on balconies is the key issue," says Carlisle.
"You would agree that having a smoke or barbeque on your balcony is a legitimate use and because they are not sprinklered the damage (if a fire were to start) is usually two-and-a-half times more than had it started in the interior of the suite."
Carlisle believes older buildings should be up-graded.
"If you want to have a smoke on your balcony, one be safe with it but two, let's mitigate that risk by putting in a little sprinkler head. I think it costs about $120 a unit to put a sprinkler system in if it's already existing in the building," says Carlisle.
He adds that any policies or regulations concerning what can and cannot be done on apartment balconies should come from stratas or condo associations and not the municipality.
"If I put in legislation that you can't smoke on balconies, there are 500 units I would have to enforce. If local stratas and condominium associations want to invoke their own bylaws they can do that and police themselves, better than the municipality."
"The reception we got post Legacy from condo associations was very positive. They want to look at ways to mitigate or lessen their risk of balcony fires."
Carlisle says further meetings are planned.
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
Okanagan Regional Library
- Castanet's Week in Review Dec 8
- Kelowna teens 'write for rights' Dec 8
- Paper carrier waits for crucial surgery Dec 8
- Cost of dying going up Dec 8
- Paper carrier sent to VGH Dec 7
- Roses for women's awareness Dec 7
- Lights aglow on Big White Dec 7
- Creating community Dec 7
- Disabled person given the squeeze Dec 7
- Free Wi-Fi Dec 7