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BCC Ruling No. 12-07-1311

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Ruling No.: 12-07-1311
Application No.: B 2011-45

 

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 9.8.2.1.(2) and Article 9.8.7.6. of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Paul Stainer for resolution of a dispute with Bruce Poole, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph, to determine whether the as constructed stairs serving the exterior deck of a 2 storey, residential occupancy building, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) when considering Article 9.8.7.6. of the Building Code at 21 Trimble, Crescent, City of Guelph, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Paul Stainer
Homeowner
Guelph, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Bruce Poole
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Alison Orr
Neal Barkhurst

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

February 28, 2012

DATE OF RULING

February 28, 2012

APPEARANCES

Paul Stainer
Homeowner
Guelph, Ontario
The Applicant

Rob Reynen
Manager of Inspections
City of Guelph
Designate for the Respondent

 

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has received an order to comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 to remedy certain alleged code deficiencies at 21 Trimble Crescent, City of Guelph, Ontario.

The subject building is an existing two storey residential dwelling unit which is comprised of combustible construction. A rear yard deck has been attached to the dwelling unit and is to be serviced by stairs from the exterior grade level to the deck. The deck is approximately 30 m2 in size and is attached to the rear of the dwelling unit at an elevation that is approximately 3 m above grade.

The construction in dispute relates to the stair that leads from the ground level to the above grade deck. The dispute centres on the as constructed width of the stair. The Applicant claims that the width of the stair, including handrails, is 870 mm while the Respondent claims the width to be 711 mm when measured between the inner face of the stair guard. 

Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) of Division B of the Building Code requires exterior stairs serving a single dwelling unit to have a width of not less than 860 mm.

Article 9.8.7.6. of Division B of the Building Code permits handrail projections to reduce the required width of a stair, however, the reduction is limited to not more than 100 mm (4 in).

The issue at dispute pertains to whether the as constructed exterior stairs provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) when considering Article 9.8.7.6. of Division B of the Building Code.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

9.8.2.1. Stair Width
(2) At least 1 stair between each floor level within a dwelling unit, and exterior stairs serving a single dwelling unit except required exit stairs, shall have a width of not less than 860 mm (2ft 10in).

9.8.7.6. Projections into Stairs and Ramps
(1) Handrails and projections below handrails, including handrail supports and stair stringers shall not project more than 100 mm (4 in) into the required width of a stair or ramp.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Applicant stated that the stairs were constructed to provide stable and safe access to the deck and informed the Commission that the rise, run and landing of the stairs comply with the requirements of the Building Code. He maintained that the stairs were built to provide access to the deck from the ground level and that he does not view the stair as serving the dwelling unit itself.

The Applicant observed that Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) states at least 1 stair between floor levels is required to be 860 mm and surmised that this would permit a second set of stairs to be less than 860 mm. He argued that the stair serving the deck should be viewed as a second set of stairs and therefore would not be required to provide a width of not less than 860 mm.

The Applicant also referred to Article 9.8.7.6. of the Building Code which would permit projections of not more than 100 mm to project into the required width of a stair. He contended that this would permit the required width of a stair to be less than 860 mm.
The Applicant noted that the as constructed stair is rarely used, is not a required means of egress, and has a handrail on both sides of the stair which adds to its safety. He stressed that the stair complies with all other Building Code requirements.
In conclusion, the Applicant stated that he believes the stairs are safe and that making them wider would not provide any additional level of safety. He suggested that he believes the stair sufficiently complies with the Building Code requirements.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent stated that the drawings submitted for permit showed stairs that were 914 mm wide, however, the stairs were not build according to the plans submitted. He claimed that the as constructed stairs have a width of 711 mm when measured between the inner face of the stair guards. He noted that this was approximately 150 mm less than the minimum required by the Building Code.
The Designate referenced Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) of the Building Code and pointed out that this requirement now includes all (emphasis added) exterior stairs serving a single dwelling unit. He reasoned that this requirement would therefore apply to the stair in question.
In summary, the Designate concluded that Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) is applicable to the stairs that serve this deck and is clear that a minimum width of not less than 860 mm is required. He stressed that the as constructed stairs do not provide the required 860 mm width and therefore the stairs do not comply with the requirements of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the as constructed stair serving the exterior deck of a 2 storey, residential occupancy building, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) when considering Article 9.8.7.6. of the Building Code at 21 Trimble Crescent, City of Guelph, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) of the Building Code specifies that at least one stair between each floor level within a dwelling unit, and exterior exit stairs serving a single dwelling unit shall have a width of not less than 860 mm.
  2. Sentence 9.8.7.6.(1), would permit handrails and projections below handrails, including handrail supports and stair stringers, to project into the required width of the stair provided the projection is not more than 100 mm. In this case, the Commission was advised that the handrail has been installed so that it does not project into the width of the stair and it therefore does not further reduce the width of the stair. As the subject stair is not constructed between wall faces, there is no restriction on width above the handrail.
  3. The Commission heard evidence that the subject stair provides access from the deck to the backyard and is only used for convenience.
  4. The Commission heard evidence that the rise and run of the subject stair meet the requirements of the Building Code and that the tread depth of the stair exceeds the minimum required by the Building Code. Further, the Commission was advised that the subject stair has been equipped with handrails on both sides whereas the Building Code specifies that a handrail is required on one side only.
  5. In the opinion of the Commission, the extra handrail, the wider tread depth and unrestricted width above the handrail compensate for the stair having a width of less than 860 mm.
     

 

Dated at the City of Toronto this 8th day in the month of March in the year 2012 for application number B-2011-45.

Tony Chow, Chair

Alison Orr

Neal Barkhurst