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BCC Ruling No. 12-09-1313

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Ruling No.: 12-09-1313
Application No.: B-2012-05

 

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 1.4.1.2. of Division A of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Barry Stein, Premium Bottlers Inc. for the resolution of a dispute with Leo Grellette, Chief Building Official, City of Vaughan to determine whether the proposal to classify the mini-distillery as a Group F, Division 2 major occupancy when considering the definitions related to industrial occupancies provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code at Premium Bottlers Inc., Unit 26, 150 Bradwick Drive, City of Vaughan, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Barry Stein
Premium Bottlers Inc.
City of Vaughan, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Leo Grellette
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Yaman Uzumeri
Mina Tesseris

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

April 19, 2012

DATE OF RULING

April 19, 2012

APPEARANCES

Barry Stein
Premium Bottlers Inc.
The Applicant

Albert Yerushalmi
Eden Engineering & Design
Agent for the Applicant
Leo Grellette

Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan, Ontario
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 deficiencies at 150 Bradwick Drive, City of Vaughan, Ontario.

The subject building is one storey in building height, is comprised of non-combustible construction, which is equipped with a standpipe and hose system and a sprinkler system. The existing building had been classified as having a Group F, Division 2 major occupancy.  The building area of the unit that is the subject of the dispute is approximately 360 m2.
It is Unit 26 that is the focus of this dispute; this unit is intended to be used as a distillery operation, which will produce alcohol related beverages.

Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code provides definitions which are germane to the determination of classification of an occupancy of a building. Industrial occupancies are defined in the Building Code as “occupancy or use of a building or part of a building for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of goods or materials”.

Industrial occupancies are subdivided into low, medium and high hazard industrial occupancies.
The issue in dispute relates to the determination of the major occupancy classification of the unit being used for distillery operations within the existing building. In particular, the issue in dispute centres on the difference between a medium hazard industrial occupancy and a high hazard industrial occupancy.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

1.4.1.2.  Defined Terms
(1)  Each of the words and terms in italics in this Code has,
(a) the same meaning as in subsection 1 (1) of the Act, if not defined in clause (b), or
(b) the following meaning for the purposes of this Code and, where indicated, for the purposes of the Act:

High hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 1) means an industrial occupancy containing sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials to constitute a special fire hazard because of their inherent characteristics.
Medium hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 2) means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is more than 50 kg/m² or 1200 MJ/m² of floor area and that is not classified as a high hazard industrial occupancy.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Applicant submitted that Premium Bottlers operates a micro-distillery for the production of limited quantities of alcohol spirits and for blending and bottling of distilled alcoholic beverage products for subsequent distribution to retail outlets. While he admitted that the Building Code does list “distilleries” as an example of a Group F, Division 1 occupancy, he suggested that this reference was meant for large scale distillery facilities on the basis that the presence of large quantities of flammable and combustible liquids would represent a special fire and explosion hazard.

The Applicant informed the Commission that, in his view, the micro-distillery that is the subject of this hearing produces insufficient quantities of liquids to be considered a high hazard industrial occupancy. He referenced the numbers associated with combustible content contained in the definition for medium hazard industrial occupancy and stated that this facility is well below that number. He indicated that fire modelling was done and an evaluation of the worst-case spill of flammable liquids within the facility was determined to not present a special or unusual fire or explosion hazard.

The Applicant summarized the operations of the facility and the manufacturing process for the Commission. He highlighted that process involves several stages of distillation and indicated that nothing higher than 60% alcohol by volume is ever stored. He stressed that the operation and processes of this facility are not typical of other distillery or brewery facilities.

In summary, the Applicant stated that he believes the issue relates to the subjective nature of an F1 classification and the lack of a definition for the term distillery. He reiterated that this facility is not a classic distillery as the scope of operations is much smaller. Consequently, he suggested that because of the limited quantities of flammable liquids produced at this facility, the micro-distillation operations do not represent a special fire or explosion hazard that is associated with an F1 classification and that an F2 classification is appropriate for this facility.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Respondent submitted that, regardless of the size of the operation, the hazard is the same. He added that there are still sufficient quantities of flammable material to constitute a high hazard and therefore the building should be classified as an F1 occupancy.
The Respondent stated that the Building Code does not make a distinction with regard to distillery and micro-distillery and as such this facility is considered a distillery therefore it should be considered an F1 occupancy. He elaborated by saying that the definitions for low and medium hazard industrial occupancies relate to the amount of combustible content in relation to floor area while the definition for high hazard industrial occupancy relates to having sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials constituting a special fire hazard.
In conclusion, the Respondent contended that this facility will contain sufficient quantities of flammable materials to constitute a special fire hazard and therefore the facility should be classified as a Group F, Division 1 major occupancy according to the requirements of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the Decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to classify the mini-distillery as a Group F, Division 2 major occupancy when considering the definitions related to industrial occupancies, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code at Premium Bottlers, Unit 26, 150 Bradwick Drive, City of Vaughan, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code contains a list of definitions of words and phrases that are used throughout the Building Code. Article 1.4.1.2. defines the terms industrial occupancy, medium hazard industrial occupancy and high hazard industrial occupancy.
    An industrial occupancy is defined as “occupancy or use of a building or part of a building for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of good or materials.” The Commission heard evidence that the parties agreed the building contains an industrial occupancy.
    The Building Code sub-divides industrial occupancies into low, medium and high hazard industrial occupancies.
    A medium hazard industrial (Group F, Division 2) means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is more than 50 kg/m2 or 1200 MJ/m2 of floor area and that is not classified as a high hazard industrial occupancy.
    A high hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 1) means an industrial occupancy containing sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials to constitute a special fire hazard because of their inherent characteristics.
  2. Low and medium hazard industrial occupancy classification is based on the quantity or heat release of combustibles in the building, while high hazard industrial occupancy classification focuses on the special risks associated with the materials being stored or processed within the building.
  3. A building may be classified as a medium hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 2) if the combustible content in the industrial building is more than 50 kg/m2 or the heat release of the combustibles is more than 1200 MJ/m2 and the industrial occupancy does not contain or process materials that constitute a special fire and/or explosion hazard.
  4. The Commission heard evidence that this building is used for the production of limited quantities of alcohol spirits and for blending and bottling distilled alcoholic beverage products. In the opinion of the Commission, the use of the building results in the production of flammable material (alcohol) and thus constitutes a special fire hazard.
  5. The Commission is of the opinion that, even with the relatively small size of the distillery, the building falls into the high hazard industrial occupancy classification due to the nature of the operation contained within the building and the fact that the Building Code does not differentiate between large and small distillery operations.
     

Dated at the City of Toronto this 19th day in the month of April in the year 2012 for application number B-2012-05.

Tony Chow, Chair

Yaman Uzumeri

Mina Tesseris