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BCC Ruling No. 12-03-1307

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Ruling No.: 12-03-1307
Application No.: B 2011-40

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 11.3.3.1., and Subsection 3.2.4. of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF application by Peter Raxlen, Westdale Properties, for resolution of a dispute with Terry Willing, Chief Building Official, City of Kingston, to determine whether the proposal to replace the existing fire alarm control panel (FACP) with a new FACP, replace the existing annunciator panel and improve audibility of warning devices within each dwelling unit of a 12 storey, Group C major occupancy building, provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of the Building Code when considering Article 11.3.3.1. and Part 11 of the Building Code at 84 Runnymede Road, City of Kingston, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Peter Raxlen
Westdale Properties
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT 

Terry Willing
Chief Building Official
City of Kingston

PANEL 

Yaman Uzumeri, Chair-Designate
Mina Tesseris
Gerry Egberts

PLACE 

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

February 2, 2012

DATE OF RULING

February 2, 2012

APPEARANCES

David Hine
David Hine Engineering
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Del Stowe
Supervisor, Permits
and
Paul Patry, Fire Inspector
City of Kingston
Designates for the Respondent

 

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to renovate an existing building at 84 Runnymede Road, City of Kingston, Ontario.

The subject building is an existing 12 storey, Group C residential building, having a building area of approximately 1800 m2. The building is comprised of non-combustible construction and is equipped with a sprinkler system, standpipe and hose system and a fire alarm system.

The construction in dispute relates to the repair/replacement of components of the existing fire alarm system. The existing fire alarm system is described as consisting of a fire alarm control unit (Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)); a remote annunciator panel at main entrance; heat detectors in the parking garage, at the top of the garbage chute and elevator machine room; smoke detection in the public corridor; manual pull stations; audible signalling device installed in the public corridor; and wiring.

The proposed construction in relation to the fire alarm system is described as consisting of replacement of the existing fire alarm control unit (FACP); replacement of the existing annunciator panel; and improvement to in-suite audibility by installing audible devices within each dwelling unit.

Article 1.2.1.6. of Division A of the Building Code outlines the application of Part 11 to existing buildings. Part 11 of Division B of the Building Code applies to the design and construction ayof existing buildings that have been in existence for at least five years.

Subsection 3.2.4. of Division B of the Building Code applies to the design and construction of a new fire alarm system.
The issue at dispute relates to the application of Part 11 of Division B of the Building Code to the proposed construction related to the existing fire alarm system in the subject building.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.2.4. Fire Alarm and Detection Systems
See 2006 Building Code
11.3.3.1. Basic Renovation
(1) Except as provided in Sentence (2) and Article 11.3.3.2., construction may be carried out to maintain the existing performance level of all or part of an existing building, by the reuse, relocation or extension of the same or similar materials or components, to retain the existing character, structural uniqueness, heritage value, or aesthetic appearance of all or part of the building if, the construction will not adversely affect the early warning and evacuation systems, fire separations, the structural adequacy or create an unhealthy environment in the building.
(2) Construction in respect of a hotel may only be carried out in accordance with Sentence (1) provided that the construction will be in conformance with Part 9 of Division B of the Fire Code made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.

Part 11 Renovation
See 2006 Building Code 

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the dispute revolves around the extent to which the Building Code applies to the work the Applicant is proposing to undertake.

The Agent stated that the construction taking place relates to the replacement of components of the building’s fire alarm system. He indicated that the building is an existing 12 storey building that was constructed in the 1970s. He maintained that the fire alarm system that was installed in this building is typical for the 1970s. He explained that it is common for components of a fire alarm system to require replacement. He conceded that part of the problem may have arisen as a result of the permit application that was originally submitted. He told the Commission that the permit application sought replacement of an existing fire alarm system. The Agent informed the Commission that discussion were then undertaken to clarify that the Applicant only wished to repair and replace some components of the system.

The Agent advised that the Applicant was proposing to repair and replace some components of the existing fire alarm system and voluntarily enhancing the audibility of the system. Specifically, the Applicant proposed to replace the existing fire alarm control panel (FACP), replace the existing annunciator panel and installation of audible devices within each dwelling unit in order to improve the in-suite audibility of the system.

The Agent argued that, as the building is an existing building and the construction in dispute relates to the repair of an existing fire alarm system, the proposed work is subject to the requirements of Section 11.3 of the Building Code. He suggested that the municipality considers the system to be new and therefore required to comply with Subsection 3.2.4. of the Building Code. The Agent explained that, in his view, the scope of work being proposed is not required to comply with the requirements of Subsection 3.2.4., which would be applicable if a new fire alarm system were being installed. He maintained that the replacement and repair of an existing system clearly falls under the requirements of Section 11.3 and he submitted that the scope of work being proposed complies with the requirements of Section 11.3.

In summary, the Agent declared that the work proposed complies with the Building Code. The Building Code clearly permits repair of an existing provided that the performance level is not reduced. He suggested that the performance level of the fire alarm system following the repair is at least equal to the performance level of the fire system prior to the repair. He added that as audible devices have been installed in each dwelling unit the performance level has improved. He emphasized that, based on the scope of work proposed, it is not appropriate to require that the fire alarm system comply with the current requirements for a new fire alarm system.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent stated that an application for permit was received by the building department which proposed to install a new fire alarm system. He informed the Commission that, after reviewing the application, a meeting with the Applicant took place and the Applicant was advised of the issues with the proposal. One of the options provided to the Applicant was for him to reapply for a permit to replace the fire alarm system. The Designate noted that a new application was not received and the matter was brought to the Commission.
The Designate explained that the application for permit proposing a new fire alarm system was reviewed and it was determined that the requirements of Subsection 3.2.4. had not been complied with and therefore a permit could not be issued.

The Designate referenced the retrofit requirements in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 have an impact on the minimum level of life safety in a residential building.

The Designate reiterated that they were reviewing the proposal as being the installation of a new fire alarm system and that non-compliance compromises the life safety of the building.

In summation, the Designate concluded that the fire alarm system is required to comply with the requirements of Subsection 3.2.4. of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to replace the existing fire alarm control panel (FACP) with a new FACP, replace the existing annunciator panel and improve audibility of warning devices within each dwelling unit of a 12 storey, Group C major occupancy building, provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of the Building Code when considering Article 11.3.3.1. and Part 11 of the Building Code at 84 Runnymede Road, City of Kingston, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Commission heard evidence that the building in question has been in existence for more than five years, which satisfies the criteria of applicability of Part 11 under Article 1.1.2.6.(1).
    Part 11 of the Building Code regulates when existing buildings are undergoing renovation, material alteration or repair whereas Subsection 3.2.4. of the Building Code provides the requirements for the installation of new Fire Alarm and Detection Systems.
    The Commission heard that the scope of work proposed consists of the replacement of components of an existing fire alarm system. In the opinion of the Commission, the scope of work proposed is considered a basic renovation as provided for under Article 11.3.3.1 therefore it is Part 11 of the Building Code that is applicable to the proposed construction.
  2. Article 11.3.1.1. of the Building Code provides that where an existing building system is materially altered or repaired, the performance level of the building after the repair shall not be less than the performance level of the building prior to the repair. The Commission heard that performance level of the building will not be reduced as a result of the replacement of the components. Further, the Commission heard that the verification of the replacement components will be performed in accordance with Article 3.2.4.5 in order to ensure the continuity compatibility, and integrity of the system is maintained after the replacement of the components.
  3. The Commission ruling pertains to the requirements of the Building Code and the matter related to the dispute that was before it. The Commission did not look at compliance with other legislation as its jurisdiction only extends to matters related to the Building Code.
     

Dated at the City of Toronto this 2nd day in the month of February in the year 2012 for application number B 2011-41.

Yaman Uzumeri, Chair-Designate

Mina Tesseris

Gerry Egberts