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BCC Ruling No. 14-15-1378

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Ruling No.: 14-15-1378
Application No.: B 2013-16

 

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 9.8.2.1.(1), 9.8.6.2.(3) and 9.8.8.3.(1) of Division B of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Arthur Tarala, for the resolution of a dispute with Robert Lamarre, Chief Building Official to determine whether the proposed height of exterior guards protecting the surface of an existing flat roof provides sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of Sentence 9.8.8.3.(1) of Division B of the Building Code and to determine whether the design of a stair having a width of less than 860 mm provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(1) and to determine whether the exit stair from the proposed addition, which does not incorporate a landing at the top of the stair, provides sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of Sentence 9.8.6.2.(3) at 2628 Deramore Road, Lakefield, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Arthur Tarala
Owner
Lakefield, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Robert Lamarre
Chief Building Official
Township of Selwyn, 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

Arthur Tarala
Owner
Lakefield, Ontario
Applicant

Robert Lamarre
Chief Building Official
Township of Selwyn, Ontario
Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has constructed a flat roofed addition to his existing dwelling unit and is proposing to construct interior stairs that would provide access to a mechanical room, as well as to the exterior flat roof of the addition. In addition, the Applicant is proposing construction of an exterior stair to provide a second access to an addition to the existing house.

The subject building is an existing two storey single family dwelling unit which has a building area of approximately 150 m2 (1 600 ft2).

There are three areas of dispute in this case. The first dispute involves the stair that provides access to a mechanical room as well as to the flat roof of an addition. The second relates to the flat roof itself and whether it is required to be protected by a guard conforming to Article 9.8.8.3. of Division B, of the Building Code. The third matter concerns the requirement for a landing to be provided for the stair that provides access to a newly constructed addition.

Sentence 9.8.2.1.(1) specifies that required exit stairs are to provide a width of not less than 900 mm, when measured between wall faces. Sentence 9.8.2.1.(2) requires at least one stair between each floor level within a dwelling unit, except required exit stairs, to have a width of not less than 860 mm. The matter for the Commission to determine is whether the proposed stair having a proposed width of less than 860 mm provides sufficiency of compliance.

Sentence 9.8.8.3.(1) states that all guards shall not be less than 1 070 mm high. The matter for the Commission to determine is whether the 915 mm guards proposed provide sufficiency of compliance.

Article 9.8.6.2. contains the provisions that pertain to required landings. Sentence 9.8.6.2.(3) states, in part, that a landing may be omitted at the top of an exterior stair serving a secondary entrance provided that the stair does not contain more than three risers. The dispute for the Commission to determine in this case relates to whether the proposed stair which does not include a landing in its design sufficiently complies with Article 9.8.6.2.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

Section 9.8. Stairs, Ramps, Handrails and Guards

9.8.1. Application
9.8.1.1. General
  1. (1) This Section applies to the design and construction of interior and exterior stairs, steps, ramps, railings and guards.
9.8.2. Stair Dimensions
9.8.2.1. Stair Width
  1. (1) Required exit stairs and public stairs shall have a width, measured between wall faces or guards, of not less than 900 mm.
  2. (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.
9.8.2.2. Height over Stairs
  1. (1) The clear height over stairs measured vertically from a line drawn through the leading edges of the treads, shall be not less than,
    1. (a) 1 950 mm for stairs within dwelling units, and
    2. (b) 2 050 mm for stairs not within dwelling units.
9.8.6. Landings
9.8.6.1. Application
  1. (1) This Subsection applies to landings, except landings for ramps in a barrier-free path of travel.
  2. (2) Landings for ramps in a barrier-free path of travel shall conform to the requirements in Article 3.8.3.4.
  3. (3) Finished floors, and ground surfaces with a slope not exceeding 1 in 100, at the top and bottom of stairs or ramps shall be considered as landings.
9.8.6.2. Required Landings
  1. (1) Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4) and Sentence 9.9.6.6.(2), a landing shall be provided,
    1. (a) at the top and bottom of each flight of interior and exterior stairs, including stairs in garages,
    2. (b) at the top and bottom of every ramp with a slope greater than 1 in 50, and
    3. (c) where a doorway opens onto a stair or ramp.
  2. (2) Where a door at the top of a stair in a dwelling unit swings away from the stair, no landing is required between the doorway and the stair.
  3. (3) A landing may be omitted at the top of a stair serving a secondary entrance to a single dwelling unit, including an entrance from an attached garage, provided,
    1. (a) the stair does not contain more than 3 risers,
    2. (b) except as provided in Clause (c), the door is a sliding door or swings away from the stair, and
    3. (c) where a storm or screen door is provided, it may swing over the stair if it is equipped with hardware to hold it open.
  4. (4) A landing may be omitted at the bottom of an exterior stair or ramp provided there is no obstruction, such as a gate or door, within the lesser of the width of the stair or ramp or,
    1. (a) 900 mm for stairs or ramps serving a single dwelling unit, and (b) 1100 mm for stairs or ramps not serving a single dwelling unit.
9.8.8. Guards
9.8.8.1. Required Guards
  1. (1) Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (3), every surface to which access is provided for other than maintenance purposes, including but not limited to flights of steps and ramps, exterior landings, porches, balconies, mezzanines, galleries and raised walkways, shall be protected by a guard on each side that is not protected by a wall for the length where,
    1. (a) there is a difference in elevation of more than 600 mm between the walking surface and the adjacent surface, or
    2. (b) the adjacent surface within 1.2 m from the walking surface has a slope of more than 1 in 2.
  2. (2) Guards are not required,
    1. (a) at loading docks,
    2. (b) at floor pits in repair garages, or
    3. (c) where access is provided for maintenance purposes only.
  3. (3) When an interior stair has more than 2 risers or an interior ramp rises more than 400 mm, the sides of the stair or ramp and the landing or floor level around the stairwell or ramp shall be protected by a guard on each side that is not protected by a wall.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Applicant stated that he believes he meets the requirements of the Building Code that have been identified.

The Applicant maintained that the stairs in question are not considered public stairs and therefore in his opinion they are not required to comply with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(1) of Division B, of the Building Code, which requires a width of not less than 900 mm. He stated that the stairs do not serve as an exit and are intended for occasional use only. He pointed out that the stairs as proposed would provide safer access to the attic space than the aluminum ladder that is currently being used. He indicated that he believed the Building Code allows for temporary access to a storage space and, since the proposed stairs provide safer access than a ladder, the stairs proposed should be acceptable. In response to questions, the Applicant advised that the stairs will be approximately 760 mm (30 inches) wide.

The Applicant claimed there is no need to provide a guard around the flat roof of the addition as he believes it is only a roof. He advised that the door to the flat roof area is provided only so that he can access the space to clear snow. When questioned as to why the plans that were submitted for permit show a guard, he declared that he was trying to get his permit issued and so included the guard in order to facilitate issuance of his building permit.

The Applicant submitted that the exterior stair leading from the addition meets the requirements of 9.8.6.2. and that a landing is not required.

In summary, the Applicant contended that his proposed construction meets the requirements of the Building Code.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Respondent submitted that the Applicant has constructed an addition to his existing dwelling and since the flat roof of this addition is accessible from the second storey, a guard meeting the requirements of the Building Code is required. Further, the Respondent stated that the proposed interior stair that will provide access to the second storey is required to comply with the minimum stair width requirements of Article 9.8.2.1. of Division B, of the Building Code. Additionally, the Respondent maintained that the proposed exterior stairs that are intended to serve as a secondary entrance to the dwelling are required to include a landing.

The Respondent informed the Commission that the flat roof of the addition has a man door that provides access to this space. It is his view that now that access has been provided to the attic space and to the flat roof of the addition, that this area now becomes floor space as defined by the Building Code and consequently guards are required for the flat roof and the stairs need to comply with minimum stair widths.

The Respondent referred to the drawings that were submitted as part of the permit application and in particular pointed to drawing 8 of 10 which showed that the proposed exterior stair intended to provide access to an addition clearly shows a stair having four risers. He declared that the Building Code therefore requires that a landing be provided. He asserted that the exception outlined in Sentence 9.8.6.2.(3) is not applicable to the stairs as proposed since the stairs include more than three risers.

In conclusion, the Respondent reiterated that the proposed interior stairs do not meet the Building Code requirements for minimum width, the proposed exterior stairs which are depicted as having four risers do not meet the requirements of Article 9.8.6.2. since a landing has not been included and the flat roof area of the addition is required to be protected by a guard having a height of not less than 1 070 mm.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed height of exterior guards protecting the surface of an existing flat roof does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of Sentence 9.8.8.3.(1) of Division B, of the Building Code, at 2628 Deramore Road, Lakefield (Township of Selwyn), Ontario.

Further, it is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the design of an interior stair having a width of less than 860 mm does not provide sufficiency compliance with Sentence 9.8.2.1.(1) of Division B, of the Building Code, at 2628 Deramore Road, Lakefield (Township of Selwyn), Ontario.

Further, it is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the exit stair from the proposed addition, which does not incorporate a landing at the top of the stair, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of Sentence 9.8.6.2.(3) of Division B, of the Building Code, at 2628 Deramore Road, Lakefield (Township of Selwyn), Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Article 9.8.8.1. of Division B, of the Building Code, determines whether surfaces to which access is provided in a building, are required to be protected by guards. Sentence 9.8.8.3.(1) states that, except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4), all guards shall not be less than 1 070 mm high. The Commission heard, and the submitted drawings show, that the surface of the existing flat roof is intended for occupancy and is accessible from within the residential dwelling through a door. The submitted drawings also show the proposed height of the exterior guard protecting the surface of the flat roof is about 915 mm. It is the opinion of the Commission that exterior guards are required for the surface of the flat roof and that the height exceptions provided in Sentences (2) to (4) do not apply to this building. Therefore the guards shall be not less than 1 070 mm high.

  2. Sentence 9.8.2.1(1) states in part that, for dwelling units, at least one stair between floor levels shall have a width of not less than 860 mm. It is the opinion of the Commission that the proposed 760 mm design width for the interior stair leading to the upper floor level that provides access to the surface of the flat roof is unacceptable because this is the only stair between floor levels.

  3. Sentence 9.8.6.2.(3) states in part that a landing may be omitted at the top of a stair for a secondary entrance to a single dwelling unit when the stair does not contain more than three risers. The Commission heard, and the submitted drawings show, that the exit stair for the proposed addition has more than three risers. Therefore, it is the opinion of the Commission that a landing is required to be provided at the top of the subject exit stair.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 10th day in the month of Julyin the year 2014 for application number B 2013-16 .

Tony Chow, Chair

Marina Huissoon

Mina Tesseris