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BCC Ruling No. 14-17-1380

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Ruling No.: 14-17-1380
Application No.: B 2014-15

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 Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1), of Division B, of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Eric Quiron, Cubix Construction, for the resolution of a dispute with Ted Marecak, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the installation of controls for the operation of building services in a retail suite, which are located in a barrier-free path of travel, provide sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) of Division B of the Building Code in the Quinte Mall, at 100 Bell Boulevard, City of Belleville, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Eric Quiron
Cubix Construction
Bois-des-Filion, Quebec

RESPONDENT

Ted Marecak
Chief Building Official
City of Belleville, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Marina Huissoon
Mina Tesseris

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

July 10, 2014

DATE OF RULING

July 10, 2014

APPEARANCES

Craig Parry
Bi-temp Limited
City of Belleville, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Brett Forestell
Deputy Chief Building Official
City of Belleville, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

 RULING

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has received a permit for interior renovation work to a retail suite located in the Quinte Mall at 100 Bell Boulevard, City of Belleville, Ontario.

The subject building is a Group E, mercantile occupancy, that is three storeys in building height and 60 385 m2 in building area. It is of non-combustible construction and includes stand pipe and hose, sprinkler and fire alarm systems. The subject suite floor area is 85 m2 and it is located on the first storey of the shopping mall.

The construction in dispute involves the suite’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC). In particular, the matter relates to the location of the thermostat controls for the suite. The controls for the HVAC system were installed on the corridor side of an interior partition wall in the suite. The mounting height was 1 500 mm above the floor.
The issue in dispute involves compliance with Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) of Division B, of the Building Code, because the corridor is considered a barrier-free path of travel. This provision requires controls, which are intended to be used by the occupant, to be mounted not more than 1 200 mm above the floor when they are located in a barrier-free path of travel.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

Section 3.8. Barrier-Free Design
3.8.1.5. Controls

(1) Except as required by Sentences 3.5.2.2.(1) and 3.8.3.5.(1) for elevators and Sentence 3.8.3.3.(17) for power door operator controls, controls for the operation of building services or safety devices, including electrical switches, thermostats and intercom switches, intended to be operated by the occupant and located in a barrier-free path of travel shall be accessible to a person in a wheelchair, operable with one hand and mounted at not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 200 mm above the floor.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted the issue is whether the controls included in the design of a building service are intended to be used by the occupant. The Agent stated that, in this case, the design of the HVAC includes a programmable thermostat control to be located in the rear of the suite and a remote sensor system that is to be centrally located. The Agent added that once it is programmed to meet the occupant’s needs, there is no need for the occupant to access the thermostat and that this type of control was not intended to be operated by the occupant.

The Agent believes this allows an engineer to design an automated HVAC system to include controls in locations other than required barrier-free paths of travel. He noted that this particular HVAC system was originally designed with a programmable thermostat control located on the utility room side of an interior partition wall. He added the floor area in the utility room is not considered a barrier-free path of travel because the clear width of the door providing access to this room is less than would be required if it were a barrier-free path of travel.
The Agent also spoke about other types of thermostat controls that could be located in a barrier-free path of travel and he provided examples where their design requires them to be mounted outside the limits in Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1).

In response to questions by the Commission about the installation of the thermostat control, the Agent explained that it was not done according to the drawings submitted to the Respondent. He directed the Commission to the construction plan and the HVAC system specifications. He said that the installation of a new thermostat control was included in the design because the existing control had been damaged and needed to be replaced. He added that it was not installed in the utility room as planned, but was installed on a wall in the corridor leading to the bathroom. He pointed out that the design engineer recommended that it be mounted at 1 500 mm (5 ft) from the floor and that is the height it was mounted on the corridor wall. He added that mounting the control according to the engineer’s specifications would protect it from damage.
In summary, the Agent said that he believes the Building Code allows an engineer to decide where to locate thermostats that will control the HVAC system. He argued that the mounting height requirements in Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) should not apply, even though the control ended up being located in a barrier-free path of travel, because the programmable thermostat was not intended to be operated by the occupant.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the thermostat controls were installed in a barrier-free path of travel. The Designate directed the Commission to an email sent by the occupant which says that the thermostat control will be used by their employees. He said that Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) requires controls located in a barrier-free path of travel that are intended to be operated by the occupant to be mounted not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 200 mm above the floor.
In response to a question from the Commission about any impediments to mounting the thermostat control, the Designate said there was no reason why it could not be mounted within the range required.

In summary, the Designate argued that the Building Code is clear and if a control is located in a barrier-free path of travel and it is used by the occupant it needs to be mounted not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 200 mm above the floor. In this case the thermostat control has been located in barrier-free path of travel and it will be used by the occupant, therefore it needs to be mounted in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the installation of controls for the operation of building services in a retail suite, which are located in a barrier-free path of travel, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) of Division B of the Building Code in the Quinte Mall, at 100 Bell Boulevard, City of Belleville, Ontario.

6. Reasons

1. Sentence 3.8.1.5.(1) of Division B of the Building Code, requires controls for building services located in a barrier-free path of travel to be mounted not more than 1 200 mm above the floor when they are intended to be operated by the occupant.

The Commission heard that the thermostat control is located in a barrier-free path of travel in the subject suite and it was mounted 1 500 mm above the floor. Further, the Commission heard that the thermostat controls the temperature and ventilation for this suite only and that the occupant’s employees will use this control.

 

Dated at the City of Toronto this 10th day in the month of July in the year 2014 for application number B 2014-15.

 

Tony Chow, Chair

Marina Huissoon

Mina Tesseris