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BCC Ruling No. 16-02-1430

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Ruling No.: 16-02-1430
Application No.: B 2015-39

 

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 Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b) of Division B of Regulation332/12, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by John Tobey, for the resolution of a dispute with Randy Charlton, Chief Building Official to determine whether the foundation wall that has been constructed without the installation of a drainage layer provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b) of Division B of the Building Code at 710 Haldimand Hwy 54, Cayuga, Ontario.

APPLICANT

John Tobey
Homeowner
Cayuga, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Randy Charlton
Chief Building Official
Haldimand County, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Alison Orr
Gary Burtch

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

January 21, 2016

DATE OF RULING

January 21, 2016

APPEARANCES

R.W. Featherstone
Structural Inspections Ltd.
Milton, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Sara J. Premi, Attorney
Sullivan Mahoney LLP
St. Catherines, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant received an Order to Comply under the Building Code Act, 1992, to remedy certain alleged deficiencies at 710 Haldimand Hwy 54, Cayuga, Ontario.

The subject building is a 2 storey, single family dwelling, with a building area of 80.27 m2. An addition to the rear of the existing dwelling has been constructed. The addition's foundation has been constructed without a drainage layer.

The construction in dispute centres on the Building Code requirements for foundation wall drainage and further, whether the foundation wall that has been constructed without the installation of a drainage layer provides sufficiency of compliance with the Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b) of Division B, of the Building Code.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

9.14.2.1. Foundation Wall Drainage
  1. (1) Unless it can be shown to be unnecessary, drainage shall be provided at the bottom of every foundation wall that contains the building interior.

  2. (2) Except as provided in Sentences (4) and (5), where the insulation on a foundation wall extends to more than 900 mm below the adjacent exterior ground level,
    1. (a) a drainage layer shall be installed adjacent to the exterior surface of a foundation wall consisting of,
      1. (i) not less than 19 mm mineral fibre insulation with a density of not less than 57 kg/m3, or
      2. (ii) not less than 100 mm of free draining granular material, or
    2. (b) a system shall be installed that can be shown to provide equivalent performance to that provided by the materials described in Clause (a).

  3. (3) Where mineral fibre insulation, crushed rock backfill or other drainage layer medium is provided adjacent to the exterior surface of a foundation wall,
    1. (a) the insulation, backfill or other drainage layer medium shall extend to the footing level to facilitate drainage of ground water to the foundation drainage system, and
    2. (b) any pyritic material in the crushed rock shall be limited to a concentration that will not damage the building to a degree that would adversely affect its stability or the performance of assemblies separating dissimilar environments.

  4. (4) Except when the insulation provides the drainage layer required in Clause (2)(a), when exterior insulation is provided, the drainage layer shall be installed on the exterior face of the insulation.

  5. (5) The drainage layer required in Sentence (2) is not required,
    1. (a) when the foundation wall is not required to be dampproofed, or
    2. (b) when the foundation wall is waterproofed.

  6. (6) Where drainage is required in Sentence (1), the drainage shall conform to Subsection 9.14.3. or 9.14.4.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the intent of Article 9.14.2.1. of the Building Code is to keep the interior of the building dry. The Agent advised that what had been constructed in this case was somewhat unusual and not typically found in the construction of a foundation for a residential building, as the foundation wall consisted of two wythes of block.

In an engineering report dated May 28, 2015, the Agent states it is his opinion that a drainage blanket (layer) is not required in this instance since the site is located on a side slope with excellent surface drainage. The Agent further states that, as the soils are cohesive in nature, infiltration into the soil would be minimal. In his report, the Agent concluded that given the presence of parging and damp proofing on a double width block wall, the installation of a drainage layer to protect the unfinished basement area, being used for sand storage and a work area, was neither required nor justified.

In an engineering report dated January 19, 2016, the Agent further submitted that the property is located on the easterly bank of the Grand River and is elevated about 40 feet above the flood plain and that the land falls away sharply on all four sides of the building site. The Agent agreed with the Respondent that the soils of Haldimand Clay Plains are substantially water bearing. However, he maintained that given the terrain at this location; it is his professional opinion that only the surface runoff from the roof and paved surfaces would be potential sources of water infiltration. The Agent stated that he had revisited the site on December 9, 2015 to determine if evidence of water infiltration was present. He reported that no efflorescence was present on the foundation walls, which would indicate no seepage had occurred.

The Agent advised that the foundation, which had been built in 2010, was constructed of two wythes of block, one being 20.32 cm (8 inches) and the other being 30.48 cm (12 inches), with a 10.16 cm (4 inches) concrete infill between the two wythes. The Agent maintained that given the porous nature of block concrete, any moisture penetration through the exterior shell of the exterior wythe would travel down the block void to the footing and in effect, the outer wythe would become the drainage layer.

The Agent submitted that historic homes such as the Applicant’s were frequently built without basements and further, that the walls were comprised of field stone with a high percentage of lime mortar joints, with no parging or waterproofing. The Agent explained that seepage water was collected by a shallow ditch cast in the floor slab at the base of the walls and discharged to a sump. The Agent reported that the crawl space under the original home is approximately 2’ higher than the basement addition and a sump pump has been installed below the new addition floor level at the west end of the addition. The Agent explained that the sump pump is collecting the seepage from around the original building.

In conclusion, the Agent submitted that it was his professional opinion that, given the unique foundation construction, the building site, and the lack of evidence of water seepage over the past 5 years, the drainage layer is not necessary in this case.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the Applicant has failed to install a drainage layer against the foundation wall of the constructed addition, as required by Article 9.14.2.1. of the Building Code. The Designate maintained that in this case, the Applicant has not met the exemptions provided by the Code nor has he demonstrated that what has been constructed provides an equivalent performance to a drainage layer.

In response to the first engineering report submitted by the Applicant, the Designate maintained that the opinion in the report was not accepted by the building department because the building inspector was not granted access to the subject property to inspect and verify the site conditions. The Designate explained that he had not inspected any of the excavations reported by the Applicant. Further, the Designate argued that depending on the time of year the reported excavations took place, moisture levels could vary greatly, being more saturated in spring and more dry in the summer season.

In response to the second report submitted by the Applicant, dated January 19, 2016, the Designate argued that moisture from the surrounding soil could penetrate the foundation's exterior block wall and further, could travel to the footings, and drain into the interior of the building.

The Designate also submitted that reclaimed blocks were painted and used in the construction of the foundation wall, as demonstrated in photos submitted to the Commission. These painted blocks were then parged. Of concern to the Designate was the long term adherence of the parging to the painted blocks.

In conclusion, the Designate maintained that the Code requirements of Article 9.14.2.1. had not been sufficiently addressed by the Applicant. The Designate argued that the Applicant has not demonstrated that the foundation wall drainage layer is unnecessary in this case, nor has the Applicant installed a system that can be shown to provide equivalent performance to that provided by the materials described in Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(a) and as a result, compliance with this Building Code requirement has not been achieved.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the foundation wall that has been constructed without the installation of a drainage layer does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b) of Division B of the Building Code at 710 Haldimand Hwy 54, Cayuga, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Sentence 9.14.2.1.(2) of Division B of the Building Code states, “Except as provided in Sentences (4) and (5), where the insulation on a foundation wall extends to more than 900 mm below the adjacent exterior ground level, (a) a drainage layer shall be installed adjacent to the exterior surface of a foundation wall consisting of,

    (i)not less than 19 mm mineral fibre insulation with a density of not less than 57 kg/m3, or

    (ii) not less than 100 mm of free draining granular material, or

    (b) a system shall be installed that can be shown to provide equivalent performance to that provided by the materials described in Clause (a).”

    In this case, the insulation on the foundation wall extends to more than 900 mm below the adjacent exterior ground level, and therefore, in accordance with the Code, either Subclause 9.14.2.1.(2)(a)(i) or ii), or Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b), is required. The Commission heard evidence and testimony that the mineral insulation fibre outlined in Subclause 9.14.2.1.(2)(a)(i) has not been installed nor has 100 mm of free draining granular material outlined in Subclause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b)(ii) been provided. Therefore, it is the Commission's opinion that sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(a) has not been achieved.

  2. The Applicant has submitted that what has been constructed can be considered a system meeting the requirements of Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b). The Commission was not provided with sufficient evidence to show that what has been installed will provide equivalent performance to that provided by the materials described in Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(a). Therefore, it is the Commission's opinion that sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.14.2.1.(2)(b) has not been achieved.

  3. Sentences 9.14.2.1.(4) and (5) of the Building Code provide exceptions to the requirement of a drainage layer in Sentence (2). In this case Sentence (4) is not applicable as the Applicant has not provided exterior insulation. Further, Sentence (5) of the Code provides that the drainage layer required in Sentence (2) is not required when the foundation wall is not required to be damp proofed, or when the foundation wall is waterproofed. The Commission heard evidence and testimony that the foundation wall was not waterproofed, and was required to be damp proofed. As a result, it is the Commission's opinion that sufficiency of compliance with the exceptions outlined in Sentences 9.14.2.1.(4) and (5) have not been achieved.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 21st day in the month of January in the year 2016 for application number B 2015-39.

Tony Chow, Chair

Alison Orr

Gary Burtch