Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 2014 > BCC Ruling No. 14-05-1368

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 14-05-1368

Email this page

BCC Logo FR 

Ruling No.: 14-05-1368
Application No.: B 2014-02

  BUILDING CODE COMMISSION

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23, as amended.

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.2.75. and Article 3.2.9.1 of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Bill Parr, President, Enerquest Services Inc., for the resolution of a dispute with Kevin Carter, Chief Building Official, Town of Essex, to determine whether the proposal to provide additional fire fighting measures, in lieu of the sprinkler and standpipe requirements for a new Group F, Division 3, manufacturing occupancy, provides sufficiency of compliance with requirements in Article 3.2.2.75. and Article 3.2.9.1. of Division B, of the Building Code, at 360 Queen Street, Town of Essex (Harrow), Ontario.

APPLICANT

Bill Parr
President
Enerquest Services Inc.
Town of Kingsville, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Kevin Carter
Chief Building Official
Town of Essex, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Leslie Morgan
Alison G. Orr

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

February 20, 2014

DATE OF RULING

February 20, 2014

APPEARANCES

Stephen Berrill
Architect
Architectural Design Associates Inc. Architect
City of Windsor, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Kevin Carter
Chief Building Official
Town of Essex, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has received a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, and has started constructing a building at 360 Queen Street, Town of Essex (Harrow), Ontario. The subject building is phase 1 of a planned, multi-phased, manufacturing facility. The next phase will include the construction of an administration and office building adjacent to the subject building and several additions to the subject building are planned to facilitate anticipated expansion of the industrial manufacturing operations.

The subject building is intended for a Group F, Division 3 industrial occupancy and it will be two storeys in building height, have a building area of approximately 6 550 m2 and be of noncombustible construction. The design of the subject building originally included a sprinkler system and standpipe system. Subsection 3.2.2. of Division B, of the Building Code, would require a building of this size, construction and occupancy to be sprinklered. Subsection 3.2.9. would require a building of this size that exceeds 14 m in height include a standpipe system.

The construction in dispute involves a change request to the approved plans because the Applicant has safety concerns related to the future operation of this facility. The facility will utilize equipment that could result in hazardous conditions if exposed to any water stream, such as those that can be expected from the water based sprinkler and standpipe systems. As a result, the Applicant is seeking to waive the requirement for a sprinkler and standpipe system in order to minimize the risk of water coming into contact with this equipment.

The Applicant has proposed several compensating measures in lieu of the sprinkler and standpipe systems. The compensating measures offered include a fire access route around the entire building perimeter and increased numbers of portable fire extinguishers. Although the Respondent believes that the elimination of water based fire protection systems is justified based on the manufacturing and safety issues, he indicated he would not approve the request because the Building Code would require a building of this size and construction relative to occupancy to be sprinklered to include the installation of a standpipe system.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.2.2.  Building Size and Construction Relative to Occupancy
3.2.2.75.  Group F, Division 3, up to 6 Storeys, Sprinklered

(1)  A building classified as Group F, Division 3 is permitted to conform to Sentence (2) provided,
(a) except as permitted by Sentence 3.2.2.7.(1), the building is sprinklered,

3.2.9.  Standpipe Systems
3.2.9.1.  Where Required

(1)  Except as provided in Sentences (4) to (7), a standpipe system shall be installed in every building that,

(b) is more than 14 m high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant explained that he is also an architect with the company that designed the subject building. He submitted that a permit had been received and construction had commenced on the subject building. The Agent acknowledged that Article 3.2.2.75. of Division B, of the Building Code, because of the size, construction and occupancy, would require the building to be sprinklered. He also submitted that the building will be more than 14 m high and therefore the Building Code would require the installation of a standpipe system.
The Agent referred to a discussion he had with the Applicant about the intended use of the building and the installation of sprinkler and standpipe systems. The Applicant was concerned because the facility will utilize large bay cranes that are powered by a 575 V power system and that the exposed conductor bars could become hazardous if exposed to any water stream. The facility will be manufacturing electrical power distribution equipment that undergoes high voltage testing. The Applicant asked the Agent to consider alternate fire protection and safety measures instead of the water based fire protection systems required by the Building Code and then ask the municipality to consider the proposal to revise the approved plans.

The Agent gave the Commission details about the revised plans. The plans included a proposal to construct a fire access route around the perimeter of the phase one building that would be designed to encompass the proposed administration and office building and the future additions to the subject building. The proposal also included the installation of portable fire extinguishers that would be located at 15 m intervals throughout the subject building. The Agent suggested that portable extinguishers can safely control and extinguish spot fires more effectively and with less risk than a sprinkler system where the vertical distance between the floor and sprinkler heads can be 14 m. The Agent also noted that the municipal fire department has a station located at a distance of less than a kilometer from the subject building.
The Agent said that the Respondent agreed with the rationale behind the change request. The Respondent, however, would not approve the request because the Building Code requires a building of this size, construction and occupancy, to be sprinklered and to include the installation of a standpipe system.

In summary, the Agent maintained that the proposal to omit the sprinkler and standpipe systems in the construction of this building is integral to the safe operation of this industrial manufacturing facility. He argued that the fire extinguisher plan provides the means to control any potential fire that may start and the nearby fire department station has a full perimeter fire access route that permit fire fighting equipment to be positioned in safe and effective locations. 

4. Respondent’s Position

The Respondent stated that the permit was issued in October 2013. He explained to the Commission the permit was based on compliance with Article 3.2.2.75. of Division B, of the Building Code. The plans included sprinkler and standpipe systems. He confirmed that he agreed with the rationale behind the change request; however he said he could not approve the request because the Building Code requires a building of this size, construction and occupancy, to be sprinklered, and to include the installation of a standpipe system. 
The Respondent indicated that previously, he had similar concerns regarding a different building, property and owner. In that situation, an existing facility was expanding and the resulting building required a standpipe system. In that instance, while understanding the proponent’s rationale for not wanting to include the standpipe system, the Respondent could not approve the omission. The applicant then took their dispute to the Building Code Commission for resolution. The Respondent indicated that the Commission, in that situation, permitted the omission of the standpipe system if they met a set of conditions.

In summary, the Respondent also said that he would not consider an objective based solution to the sprinkler and standpipe requirements in the Building Code. 

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to provide additional fire fighting measures, namely an extended fire access route and portable fire extinguishers, in lieu of the sprinkler and standpipe requirements for a new Group F, Division 3, manufacturing occupancy, does not provides sufficiency of compliance with requirements in Article 3.2.2.75. and Article 3.2.9.1. of Division B, of the Building Code, at 360 Queen Street, Town of Essex (Harrow), Ontario

6. Reasons

  1. Classification of the building under Article 3.2.2.75. of Division B, of the Building Code, would require it to be sprinklered. Article 3.2.9.1. would require a building of this size, which is more than 14 m in height, to include the installation of a standpipe system.
  2. The Commission is of the opinion that the compensating measures offered by the Applicant, which included additional portable fire extinguishers and a perimeter fire route access, do not adequately meet the attributed objectives and functional statements that are intended to limit the severity of a fire and limit the probability that a building will be exposed to unacceptable damage due to a fire.
  3. The Commission is also of the opinion that there are means to design a building that would meet both the needs of the owner and comply with the Building Code.

 

Dated at the City of Toronto this 20th day in the month of February in the year 2014 for application number B 2014-02.

 

Tony Chow, Chair

Leslie Morgan

Alison G. Orr