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BCC Ruling No. 15-33-1422

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Ruling No.: 15-33-1422
Application No.: B  2015-36

 

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 3.2.2.24. of Division B of Regulation 332/12, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Wade Beitel for the resolution of a dispute with Ed VanderWindt, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the proposal not to install sprinklers for an addition to an existing building provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.2.24., of Division B of the Building of the Building Code at John Hodgins Engineering Building, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, City of Hamilton, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Wade Beitel
Project Manager
McMaster University
City of Hamilton, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ed VanderWindt
Chief Building Official
City of Hamilton, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Ed Link
Susan Friedrich

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

October 22, 2015

DATE OF RULING

October 22, 2015

APPEARANCES

Wade Beitel, Project Manager
McMaster University
City of Hamilton, Ontario
Applicant

Richard Butterworth
Architect
Ancaster, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Radek Wodzinowski
Building Engineer
City of Hamilton, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has applied for a permit to build an addition to the existing building located at John Hodgins Engineering Building, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, City of Hamilton, Ontario.

The subject building is an existing three storey, Group A, Division 2 major occupancy building with a building area of 17, 300 m². The building is comprised of non-combustible construction, equipped with a fire alarm system and a standpipe and hose system. Under a separate building permit an addition was previously constructed. Although, this previous addition to the building is sprinklered, the remainder of the existing building is not. To clarify, the previous addition is not part of the dispute before the Commission.

The Applicant is seeking to construct a new addition to the existing building. The construction proposed involves enclosing the space outside the existing entrance to the building. The space in question is located underneath the overhead of the upper storeys of the building and is bound by columns supporting the upper storeys. In this case, the building area and building height of the building will remain unchanged; however the floor area of the first storey will increase.

Article 1.1.2.6. of Division A of the Building Code states in part that Part 11 of the Building Code applies to the design and construction of existing buildings or parts of existing buildings that have been in existence for at least 5 years. Article 11.3.2.1., Portion of Extended Buildings, states, “Where an existing building is extended, this Part applies to the existing portion of the building, and the extended portion of the building shall comply with all other Parts.

Article 3.2.2.24. requires that a building classified as a Group A, Division 2 major occupancy up to six storeys, any area, to be sprinklered.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.2.2.24 Group A, Division 2, up to 6 Storeys, Any Area, Sprinklered
  1. (1) A building classified as Group A, Division 2, that is not limited by building area, is permitted to conform to Sentence (2) provided,
    1. (a) except as permitted by Sentence 3.2.2.7.(1), the building is sprinklered, and
    2. (b) it is not more than 6 storeys in building height.
  2. (2) Except as permitted by Article 3.2.2.16., the building referred to in Sentence (1) shall be of noncombustible construction, and,
    1. (a) floor assemblies shall be fire separations with a fire-resistance rating not less than 1 h,
    2. (b) mezzanines shall have a fire-resistance rating not less than 1 h, and
    3. (c) all loadbearing walls, columns and arches shall have a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the supported assembly.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the subject building was built in 1958 and is not sprinklered. The Agent described the proposed construction as an infill addition of 186 m, equating to approximately 1% of the overall building area. He explained that the space located outside the building's entrance is proposed to be enclosed.

The Agent submitted that the new enclosed space is intended to be used by students in a similar way as it is currently being used, a space where students may congregate but with the added comfort of being in an enclosed and conditioned space.

The Agent maintained that the proposed construction does not increase the building area or building height of the existing building nor will it increase the occupant load. The Agent explained that a fire separation providing a fire resistance rating of at least 2 hours would be provided between the new lobby space and the floor above, while the Building Code would require a fire separation providing a fire resistance rating of only one hour.

The Agent submitted that as a result of the new construction, the second and third floors of the existing building would also be provided with exits leading directly to the outside of the building, improving both the existing exiting and reducing the number of occupants having to use the lobby exit instead of the current arrangement of exiting through the lobby.

The Agent submitted that the standpipe and hose system and the fire alarm system will be extended to cover the newly enclosed lobby space.

The Agent maintained that in his opinion, requiring sprinklers to be installed in the proposed addition, which shares the same space as the nonsprinklered portion of the lobby, would not significantly improve the existing fire safety of the building.

The Agent also submitted that it was his opinion that considering the above mentioned mitigating measures, in lieu of sprinklering the addition, provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that although the proposed addition does not increase the building area or building height of the building, it does increase the gross floor area of the building. The Designate argued that the addition is new enclosed floor space within the existing building foot print. Despite not increasing the building area, the additional floor area is considered to be no different from additional floor area created by adding storeys or extending portions of the existing building such that the building area would be increased. As a result, the Designate maintained the new addition must comply with Division A, Article 1.1.2.2. and by extension Article 3.2.2.24. in that the Building Code requires the new portion of the building to be sprinklered.

The Designate pointed out that a previous addition to the subject building was sprinklered for the same reasons as stated above.

The Designate submitted the Building Code is clear and that a sprinkler system is required for new additions to existing buildings regardless if the existing building complies with the latest Building Code requirements. The Designate maintained that not providing sprinklers to the proposed addition would not provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal not to install sprinklers for an addition to an existing building provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.2.24., of Division B of the Building Code at John Hodgins Engineering Building, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, City of Hamilton, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. The Commission heard that the construction proposed consists of enclosing an existing outside area adjacent to the existing lobby, which will not result in an increase in building area, building height or occupant load.

  2. The Commission heard that a fire separation providing a fire resistance rating of at least 2 hours will be provided between the new lobby space and the floor above, while the Building Code would require a fire separation providing a fire resistance rating of one hour.

  3. The Commission heard that as a result of the new construction, the second and third floors of the existing building will be provided with exits leading directly to the outside of the building, improving both the existing exiting and reducing the number of occupants having to use the lobby exit instead of the current arrangement of exiting through the lobby.

  4. The Commission heard that the standpipe and hose system and the fire alarm system will be extended to cover the newly enclosed lobby space.

  5. The Commission heard that apart from a previous addition to the rear of the building, the existing building is not sprinklered. It is the opinion of the Commission, that requiring sprinklers to be installed in the proposed addition, which shares the same space as the nonsprinklered portion of the lobby, would not significantly improve the fire safety of the building.

  6. It is the Commission’s opinion that enclosing the exterior space outside the entrance of the subject building, although located within the building’s existing footprint, is considered to be an extension of the existing building and therefore, Article 3.2.2.24. of the Building Code is applicable. Further, it is the Commission’s opinion, that when considering the above, sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.2.24. is achieved.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 22nd day in the month of October in the year 2015 for application number B 2015-36.

Tony Chow, Chair

Susan Friedrich

Ed Link