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BCC Ruling No. 12-04-1308

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Ruling No.: 12-04-1308
Application No.: B-2011-41

 

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 Sentences 3.1.8.18.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(1) of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mike Finn, Queen’s University for resolution of a dispute with Terry Willing, Chief Building Official, City of Kingston, to determine whether the proposal to provide sprinkler protection on only the occupied side of a vertical fire separation comprised of a sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly, located at the atrium floor opening between the third and fourth floor of a four storey, Group A Division 2 major occupancy building, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.1.8.18.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(1) of Division B of the Building Code at Queens School of Medicine, 15 Arch Street, City of Kingston, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mike Finn
Queen’s University
City of Kingston, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Terry Willing
Chief Building Official
City of Kingston, Ontario

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

Erin McClintock
LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.
City of Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Kevin Hicks
Senior Building Official
City of Kingston, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

 

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a four storey assembly occupancy building at 15 Arch Street, City of Kingston, Ontario.

The subject building is four storeys in building height, having a building area of approximately 2300 m2, comprised of noncombustible construction and is equipped with standpipe and hose, fire alarm and sprinkler systems. The building is an assembly occupancy that contains both small and large teaching spaces, group rooms, study areas, laboratories and clinical areas. The floor assemblies have been constructed as fire separations with a fire-resistance rating of 2 hours as required by the Building Code.

The structure contains an interconnected floor space between the ground and second floors and there is an atrium between the second, third and fourth floor levels. There is a floor opening between the second and third floor levels to allow for a communication stair. The atrium floor opening between the second, third and fourth floor levels has been provided with the required 2-hour vertical fire-separation at the third and fourth floor levels.

A sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly has been provided at the atrium floor opening on the third and fourth floor levels to maintain the required 2-hour fire-resistance rating at the opening. Sprinkler protection has been provided and installed on the occupied side of atrium floor opening only.
The issue at dispute relates to the extent of the sprinkler protection that is required to be provided by the sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly to the vertical fire separation at the third and fourth floor atrium floor opening.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.1.8.18.  Sprinkler Protected Glazed Wall Assembly
(1)  A sprinkler protected glazed wall assembly shall be constructed in accordance with the requirements of ULC/ORD C263.1, “Sprinkler-Protected Windows Systems”.

3.2.5.13.  Automatic Sprinkler Systems
(1)  Except as permitted by Sentences (2) to (4), an automatic sprinkler system shall be designed, constructed, installed and tested in conformance with NFPA 13, “Installation of Sprinkler Systems”.
 

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant stated that the building in question is a fully sprinklered, four storey assembly occupancy comprised non-combustible construction. She advised that the building contains interconnected floor space and an atrium floor opening between the second, third and fourth floors. She further advised that the vertical fire separation required by the Building Code has been provided by way of a sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly.

The Agent referenced Sentence 3.1.8.18.(1) of the Building Code which requires a sprinkler protected glazed wall assembly to be constructed in accordance with the requirements of ULC/ORD C263.1, “Sprinkler-Protected Windows Systems” (C263.1) and Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code which requires sprinkler systems to be designed, constructed, installed, and tested in conformance with NFPA 13, “Installation of Sprinkler Systems” (NFPA 13) indicating that the sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly that has been installed meets these requirements.

The Agent advised that the dispute relates to the extent of sprinkler protection that is required to be provided at the vertical fire separation. The Agent informed the Commission that, as there was no walkway or other occupancy on the atrium side of the opening, sprinkler protection has been provided and installed on the occupied side of the atrium floor opening only. She stated that NFPA 13 permits the omission of sprinklers on the atrium side of a glass wall where there is no walkway or other floor area on the atrium side above the main floor level. She maintained that NFPA 13 recognizes situations where there would be a fire load on the occupied side of the atrium floor opening but no fire load exists on the unoccupied atrium side of the opening.

The Agent stated that in this particular building the floor level of the atrium (i.e. the second floor) is approximately 60 m2 and contains a small lounge area with limited seating which opens into a corridor. She suggested that on the basis of the low fuel load, the remoteness of the fuel load and the large volume-to-floor space ratio of the atrium area that their proposal to provide sprinkler protection only to the occupied side of the atrium floor opening provides an equal level of performance required by the Building Code.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that Sentence 3.1.8.18.(1) of the Building Code requires sprinkler protected glazed wall assemblies to be constructed in accordance with C263.1. He further noted that Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code requires the building to be sprinkler protected in accordance with NFPA 13.

The Designate stated that sprinkler heads are required to be Listed products as per the requirements of both C263.1 and NFPA 13. He further stated that C263.1 requires sprinkler systems to be installed in accordance with NFPA 13 and its Listing. He advised that both C263.1 and the Listing for the proposed sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly require sprinklers on both sides of the glazing.
The Designate indicated that the Building Code specifies that interior vertical fire separations are required to be rated on both sides. He added that the Building Code explicitly states that where there is a conflict between a Code provision and a referenced standard, the Code supersedes the referenced standard.

In summary, the Designate reiterated that the Code requires interior vertical fire separations to be rated on both sides. In this case, the proposal to provide sprinkler protection on the occupied side of the atrium floor opening does not, in his opinion, meet the requirements of the Building Code.
 

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to provide sprinkler protection on only the occupied side of a vertical fire separation comprised of a sprinkler-protected glazed wall assembly, located at the atrium floor opening between the third and fourth floor of a 4 storey, A2 major occupancy building, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.1.8.18.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code at Queens School of Medicine, 15 Arch Street, City of Kingston, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. The Commission was not persuaded that the low fuel load in the lounge area at the atrium floor combined with the remoteness of the fuel load to the glazing, would be sufficient to compensate for the proposed elimination of the sprinklers on the unoccupied side of the glazing.
  2. Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code requires automatic sprinkler systems to be designed, constructed, installed and tested in accordance with NFPA 13, “Installation of Sprinkler Systems”.
  3. Article 3.1.8.18. of the Building Code regulates the use of sprinkler protected glazed wall assemblies. The Code would permit a sprinkler protected glazed wall assembly to be installed to provide the fire rating for this interior vertical fire separation.
    Sentence 3.1.8.18.(1) of the Building Code requires sprinkler protected glazed wall assemblies to be constructed in accordance with the requirements of ULC/ORD C263.1, “Sprinkler-Protected Window Systems”.
  4. The Building Code, by virtue of Sentence 3.1.7.3.(2), requires interior vertical fire separations to be rated for exposure to fire on each side. The vertical fire separation in question is considered an interior vertical fire separation and as such the Building Code requires it to be rated for exposure to fire on each side.
  5. NFPA 13 and ULC/ORD C263.1 are documents that are referenced by the Building Code. The Building Code states in Division A, Article 1.5.1.2. of the Building Code that in the case of a conflict between the provisions of this Code and those of a referenced document, the provisions of the Code shall govern.
      

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