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BCC Ruling No. 15-31-1420

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Ruling No.: 15-31-1420
Application No.: B 2015-27

 

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 3.4.6.6.(6) of Regulation 332/12, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Jamie Aiello for the resolution of a dispute with Ted Marecak, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the size of openings included in the design of a guard, protecting an exterior ramp, serving the industrial occupancy portion of a building, provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) of Division B of the Building Code at New Electrolab Training Systems Facility, 631 College Street East, City of Belleville, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Jamie Aiello
Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd.
City of Belleville, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ted Marecak
Chief Building Official
City of Belleville, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Susan Friedrich
Ed Link

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

October 22, 2015

DATE OF RULING

October 22, 2015

APPEARANCES

Jamie Aiello
Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd.
City of Belleville, Ontario
Applicant

Kevin Kehoe
Building Inspector
City of Belleville, 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 new one storey building at 631 College Street East, Belleville, Ontario.

The subject building is one storey in building height with a building area of approximately 500 m2. The building is comprised of non-combustible construction materials and is not equipped with a sprinkler system or a standpipe and hose system. The building is classified as a mixed use building which includes Group D and Group F, Division 3 major occupancies.

The construction in dispute involves the design of the guard protecting an exterior ramp which serves the Group F, Division 3 portion of the subject building.

Article 3.4.6.6. of Division B of the Building Code provides the construction requirements for guards. In part, Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5) states “except as provided in Sentence (6), openings through any guard required by Sentence 3.4.6.6.(1) shall be of a size that will prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter more than 100 mm…”.

Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) provides an exception to the 100 mm requirement and permits openings in any guard that is installed in a building of industrial occupancy to be of a size that will prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter more than 200 mm.

The issue for the Commission to determine relates to the size of openings through the subject guard protecting the stair and ramp leading directly into the Group F, Division 3 portion of the mixed use building.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.4.6.6. Guards
  1. (1) Every exit shall have a wall or a well-secured guard on each side.
  1. (5) Except as provided in Sentence (6), openings through any guard that is required by Sentence (1) shall be of a size that will prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter more than 100 mm unless it can be shown that the location and size of openings that exceed this limit do not represent a hazard.
  1. (6) Openings through any guard that is required by Sentence (1) and that is installed in a building of industrial occupancy shall be of a size that will prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter more than 200 mm unless it can be shown that the location and size of openings that exceed this limit do not represent a hazard.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Applicant submitted that the subject guard is serving an industrial occupancy in an industrial park and therefore the exception provided in 3.4.6.6.(6) is applicable regardless of whether it is an interior or exterior guard. He stated that differences between interior and exterior guards are clearly noted throughout the Building Code when differences between interior and exterior guards are required. He noted that, since Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) does not differentiate between interior and exterior guards, it can therefore be considered to reference all guards serving an industrial occupancy.

The Applicant further submitted that he believes the Respondent’s position is that Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5) governs all exterior guards no matter what the occupancy and that the exception of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) applies to interior guards of an industrial occupancy.

The Applicant stated that the word “in” contained within the phrase “in a building of industrial occupancy” is not meant to differentiate between interior and exterior guards. He suggested that “in a building” refers to circumstances and does not pertain to spatial limits.

The Applicant confirmed that the subject guard protects the stair and ramp which leads directly to the industrial occupancy portion of the building. He acknowledged that the mixed occupancy building also contains a Group D business and personal services occupancy.

In response to the Respondent’s concern that children could become injured as a result of climbing the guard, the Applicant indicated that the closest residential area to this property is located about 2.3 km away. He added that a child attending the building with a parent who works in the office portion of the building would be entering through the front door entrance. He noted that the stair and ramp serve the industrial occupancy and that entering the offices in the subject building is not dependent on accessing the stair and ramp.

In summary, the Applicant reiterated his opinion that the guard in question serves the stair and ramp of the industrial occupancy and therefore it is Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) that governs the size of openings through the guard not Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5).

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5) of the Building Code provides the general rule for openings through any required guard. He noted that Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5) sets a limit to prevent the passage of a 100 mm sphere. He acknowledged that Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) permits an exception to the requirements of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5) provided that specific conditions are met.

The Designate stated that the municipality interpreted this to mean that three conditions need to be present in order for the exception to be applicable. He outlined the three conditions as being the guard must be a required guard, the guard must be installed in a building and the building must be of industrial occupancy. He indicated that there is no dispute related to the whether the guard is required or not, the parties agree it is a required guard. He maintained that the condition associated with the guard being installed in a building forms part of the dispute and further that the condition associated with the building being of industrial occupancy also forms part of the dispute.

The Designate contended that in order for the exception of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) to be applicable the guard must be located “in” a building. He submitted that in the context of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) the preposition “in” appears to be used to establish the spatial limit as the limits of the building and it is understood to mean inside or interior not outside or exterior. He concluded therefore that the exception afforded by Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) is applicable to interior guards only and consequently not applicable to the exterior guard that is the subject of this dispute.

Further, the Designate noted that the building in question contains two major occupancies; those being Group D and Group F, Division 3. He submitted that it does not appear that the exception of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) “a building of industrial occupancy” would be applicable in this single suite building of mixed occupancy.

In response to questions, the Designate advised that it is the municipality’s interpretation that the exception of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) does not apply to a mixed use building. He stated that this building would have a significant number of office staff for the Group D occupancy and there is a concern that those staff could bring children to the building and that the children could be injured. The Designate agreed that the ramp and stair serve the operation of the Group F, Division 3 occupancy.

The Designate summarized his position by stating that he believes the exception found in Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) is not applicable to the guard in question. He repeated the municipality’s interpretation that in order for this exception to be applicable the guard must be inside a building that is entirely an industrial occupancy – not a mixed use building, such as is the case here.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the size of openings included in the design of a guard, protecting an exterior ramp, serving the industrial occupancy portion of a building, provides sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) of Division B of the Building Code at New Electrolab Training Systems Facility, 631 College Street East, City of Belleville, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) provides an exception to the requirement of Sentence 3.4.6.6.(5). Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) states that openings through any guard that is required by Sentence (1) and that is installed in a building of industrial occupancy shall be of a size that will prevent the passage of a sphere having a diameter more than 200 mm unless it can be shown that the location and size of openings that exceed this limit do not represent a hazard.

    The Commission heard that the guard in question protects the stair and ramp that serve the industrial occupancy of a mixed use building. Further, the Commission heard that the stair and ramp serve only the industrial occupancy.

    In the opinion of the Commission, as the guard serves the industrial occupancy, Sentence 3.4.6.6.(6) is applicable to this guard. The Commission notes that Article 1.4.1.2. of the Building Code defines the term industrial occupancy as meaning the occupancy or use of a building or part of a building (emphasis added) for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of goods or materials. The Commission therefore believes that the Building Code permits the exception to apply to the part of the building that contains an industrial occupancy.

  2. The Commission heard evidence related to the size of openings through guards. The Commission notes that Part 3 of the National Research Council user guide states that “the 100 mm value is based on the physical dimensions of young children and is intended to prevent them from forcing their bodies or heads through a gap in the guard and then falling through, becoming asphyxiated, or otherwise injured. For older children and adults, the value of 100 mm is not as critical but should not be substantially exceeded. For locations where children are not likely to be present, including service rooms, service spaces and many industrial buildings, values of up to 200 mm would not be unreasonable…”.

    The Commission heard that children are not likely to be present at the industrial occupancy portion of the building which is served by the guard. Therefore the Commission concluded that a guard having openings of up to 200 mm is not unreasonable.

  3. The Commission heard that normal access to the Group D portion of the subject mixed use building is through the front door and would not require the use of the stair and ramp in question.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 22nd day in the month of October in the year 2015 for application number B 2015-27.

Tony Chow, Chair

Susan Friedrich

Ed Link