Section 506.3, 2007 CBC

Okay California code gurus, I have a question that deals with a specific California code amendment in Section 506.3.

The last two sentences of that section state:

"In other than high-rise buildings, Group A, E, H, I, L and R occupancies or other applications listed in Section 111 regulated by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, these increases are permitted in addition to the height and story increases in accordance with Section 504.2. For Group R-2 buildings of Type VA construction equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1, these increases are permitted in addition to the height increase in accordance with Section 504.2."

The way I interpret the first sentence is that Groups A, E, H, I, L, and R, that are not high rise buildings, may use a sprinkler increase for both height and area. Correct?

Or, is the dual increase (height and area) only permitted for SFM regulated buildings, as the latter part of the first sentence stipulates?

My situation, if it will clarify why I'm asking, is a podium-type building (Type IA first floor and Type IIIA for floors above) permitted by Section 509.2. The "building" above the 3-hour horizontal assembly is a 5-story Group R-2. The architect said they used the sprinkler increase for the extra story (only 4 stories for Type IIIA per Table 503), but they cannot use the sprinkler for an area increase per the CBC section I quoted above.

I think they're wrong. What say you?

Thanks.
Ron Geren RLGA Technical Services Phoenix AZ
Original Post
quote:
The way I interpret the first sentence is that Groups A, E, H, I, L, and R, that are not high rise buildings, may use a sprinkler increase for both height and area. Correct?


Ron,
For clarification I would change the order of the words to read:
“In other than Group A, E, H, I, L and R occupancies, high-rise buildings or other applications listed in Section 111 regulated by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, these increases are permitted in addition to the height and story increases in accordance with Section 504.2.”
Out of all applications regulated by the Office of SFM only Group R-2 buildings of Type VA construction are allowed dual increase for sprinkler system.

For your project, without using frontage increase you may build up to 48,000 sq. ft. total, 5 stories type III-A . See the attached PFD

Attachments

Annette, Ron, Codeyman...

I have to agree this is poorly constructed (and, unfortunately, what we have come to expect. It's especially unfortunate because these codes have to be read/interpreted by a wide range of users, from non-professional field personnel to City attorneys... with a wide range of language skills. Often one can 'read' code provisions in a wide variety of ways - and depending on your 'inclination' the reading can be argued to mean whatever you were hoping it would.

It would be fantastic if some day 'codes' were written in plain English, with shorter sentences, without convolutions, and leaving less to interpretation. This sentence could be easily misconstrued.

An 'English 101' parsing of the first sentence helps. Taking it apart, the provision specifically 'excludes' every building type between "In other than..." and "..., these increases are permitted...". So every building type listed there is what is ruled out and cannot double dip. The following sentence notes that of those listed, only R2 VA is different so is 'back in'. Whether that is what was actually 'intended' or not, we are left to use our imaginations. Looking at this thread and the linked one, not everyone is reading this sentence to mean what it actually says.

If clever authors can write 'interpretive' guides to codes that can be easily understood (i.e. to explain to us dummies what the sentence is supposed to mean), there is no reason the codes themselves cannot be written in that same clear language. There is no reason users should have to look to a third party 'manual' for an understanding - particularly since the third party material is not official and cannot be relied on as authoritative/legal.

Maybe the process would work better if after the technical objectives are fully agreed on by the code committees, the language drafting could be turned over to language artists whose mission would be to convert the gobbledy-gook into Sesame Street phraseology.

Is anyone listening? Judging by the way the confusion grows each 3 years, I don't think so. Oh, well, I must admit the poor language keeps a lot of people employed, so there is at least a bit of silver lining.

hil
hil,
Excellent points and I agree with your opinion that poor language keeps people employed. Most of us on this forum belong to a niche profession we like to call "code professionals". Yet, due to code users being a diverse group you are spot on in suggesting the language should be more understandable. Some of us in the forum do get opportunity to be part of code making panels and should strive to get the language more understandable.
All we need to do is look at Mark's other thread/post this date, re ADA seminar content, and note the following language:

"This session will focus on untangling the web of laws that address access to housing, including the Architectural Barriers Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act."

...and this does not address any State-level or local-level requirements that supplement and/or conflict with the above menu!

...a web indeed

hil
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