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BCC Ruling No. 15-25-1414

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Ruling No.: 15-25-1414
Application No.: B  2015-15

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 3.3.1.10.(4) of the Regulation 332/12, as amended, (the Building Code).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Brenda Coward for the resolution of a dispute with Sheila Daubeny, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the proposal to install pairs of doors that swing in one direction provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of Division B, of the Building Code, at 20 Carnwith Drive West, Town of Whitby, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Brenda Coward
Durham District School Board
Whitby, ON

RESPONDENT

Sheila Daubeny
Chief Building Official
Town of Whitby

PANEL

Leslie Morgan, Vice Chair
Mina Tesseris
Gerry Egberts

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

September 17, 2015

DATE OF RULING

September 17, 2015

APPEARANCES

Brenda Coward
Durham District School Board
Whitby, ON
Applicant

Robert Ferkul
Architect
Toronto, ON
Agent for the Applicant

Sheila Daubeny
Chief Building Official
Town of Whitby
Respondent

Terri Fahad
Plans Examiner
Town of Whitby
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has received a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a secondary school at 20 Carnwith Drive West, Whitby, Ontario.

The subject building is a two storey, Group A, Division 2, building with an approximate building area of 9700 m². The proposed building is non-combustible and is equipped with a fire alarm and a sprinkler system.

The construction in dispute in this case, centers on the proposal to install pairs of doors in a corridor that that will swing in only one direction.

Article 3.3.1.10. “Door Swing” of the Building Code requires that if a pair of doors are installed in a corridor that provides access to exit in both directions, the doors shall swing in opposite directions, with the door on the right hand side swinging in the direction of travel to exit.

The dispute before the Commission is to determine whether the proposal to install pairs of doors that swing in one direction provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of Division B, of the Building Code.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

Division A, Article 1.4.1.2. Defined Terms

Access to exit means that part of a means of egress within a floor area that provides access to an exit serving the floor area.

Division B, Sentence 3.3.1.10. Door Swing

(4)  If a pair of doors is installed in a corridor that provides access to exit in both directions, the doors shall swing in opposite directions, with the door on the right hand side swinging in the direction of travel to the exit.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the issue at dispute is the direction of swing for three pairs of doors proposed to be installed in the subject school building. The Agent explained that doors 1023, 1066 and 1097, located in corridors that provide access to exit will swing in one direction.

The Agent explained that in order to utilize the building for after hour events, the subject sets of doors will be locked so as to render portions of the building secure and off limits. The Agent submitted drawings which outlined two scenarios where the subject doors would be locked. In scenario one, the Agent explained that doors 1097 are to be locked to secure the classroom and cafetorium wing of the school when the gymnasium and change rooms are being used after hours. In scenario two, doors 1023 & 1066 are to be locked to secure the east classroom wing when the gymnasium and cafetorium are being used after hours.

The Agent maintained that during school hours and under a full occupancy condition, the subject doors are to be held open with manual hold open devices, which would not impede the corridor. The Agent submitted that the doors would be locked for security purposes only after school hours. The Agent maintained that, when the subject doors are locked, the occupied parts of the school in both of the described scenarios act as an “independent building” for the purpose of exiting and provide sufficient available exits for the occupants. The Agent argued that adequate exiting and egress, independent of the subject sets of doors, has been provided for the unsecured portions of the building in both scenarios.

The Agent added that panic hardware would be installed on the secure side of the subject doors in the event that anyone is occupying the secure side of the school after hours.

The Agent submitted that the subject sets of doors will not be signed as an exit from the unsecured portions of the building and further, that the subject sets of doors will not have handles to facilitate opening from the unsecured side of the building. Further, the Agent stated that directional exit signs would be posted to direct occupants to the nearest exit.

In response to questions, the Agent pointed out that the nearest exit from the unsecured portions of the floor area is clearly visible from the intersecting corridors where the subject sets of doors are located.

The Agent maintained that considering the above measures in both scenarios, it was his opinion that the proposed three sets of doors, which will swing in one direction, provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Respondent confirmed that the three pairs of doors in dispute are corridor doors 1023, 1066 and 1097, as per the architectural drawings submitted to the Commission and further, that the Code requirement in dispute was Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of Division B of the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of the Code requires that if a pair of doors is installed in a corridor that provides access to exit in both directions, the doors must swing in opposite directions, with the door on the right hand side swinging in the direction of travel to the exit.

The Respondent explained that the building permit issued, based on drawings submitted by the Applicant, illustrated that the three sets of doors in question would swing in opposite directions with the right side swinging in direction of travel to exit and therefore, were in conformance with the Code.

The Respondent argued that Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of the Code is clear and that the Town of Whitby’s position is that since the three pair of doors in question are located in a corridor and provide access to exit, they should swing in opposite directions with the right side swinging in the direction of travel to exit in conformance with Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4).

The Respondent explained that as the subject building is an assembly occupancy, it will have large numbers of people both during school hours and after school hours including weekends for various events such as graduation, assemblies etc…The Respondent argued that in the event of an emergency, people will have the option to go in either direction if the pairs of doors are able to swing in opposite directions and not providing this option would make the school less safe.

The Respondent acknowledged the proposal to have the subject doors remain open, using a manual hold-open device, during regular school hours but expressed concern that the subject doors could be accidentally closed by students, thereby impeding an access to exit route.

The Respondent maintained that it was the Town’s opinion that the subject pairs of doors, which are installed in a corridor that provides access to exit in both directions, should have a door on the right hand side that swings in the direction of travel to the exit.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the Decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to install pairs of doors that swing in one direction provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements in Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of Division B, of the Building Code, at 20 Carnwith Drive West, Town of Whitby, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Sentence 3.3.1.10.(4) of the Building Code states that if a pair of doors is installed in a corridor that provides access to exit in both directions, the doors shall swing in opposite directions, with the door on the right hand side swinging in the direction of travel to the exit.

    Within the context of the Building Code, the term “access to exit” is defined as part of a means of egress within a floor area that provides access to an exit serving the floor area.

    The Commission heard that the pairs of doors that are to be installed will swing in one direction only. Further, the Commission heard that in order to utilize the building for after hour events, the subject sets of doors will be locked in order to render portions of the building secure (off limits). The Commission was provided with drawings that outlined two scenarios showing the portions of the building that would be rendered secure by the locking of the subject sets of doors. The Commission heard that the subject sets of doors will have panic hardware installed on one side of the door, which would allow the doors to be opened from the secure side of the building.

    Based on the evidence provided, the Commission is of the opinion that the subject sets of doors provide access to exit from the secure side of the building only.

  2. The Commission heard that the subject sets of doors will not be signed as an exit from the unsecured portions of the building. Further, the Commission heard that the subject sets of doors will not have handles to facilitate opening from the unsecured side of the building and that directional exit signs will be posted that direct occupants to the nearest exit.

  3. The Commission heard that adequate exiting and egress, independent of the subject sets of doors, has been provided for the unsecured portions of the building (in both scenarios).

  4. The Commission heard that the nearest exit from the unsecured portions of the floor area is clearly visible from the intersecting corridors where the subject sets of doors are located.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 17th day in the month of September in the year 2015 for application number B  2015-15.

Leslie Morgan, Vice Chair

Mina Tesseris

Gerry Egberts