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BCC Ruling No. 15-26-1415

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Ruling No.: 15-26-1415
Application No.: B  2015-26

 

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 1.4.1.2. of the Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the Building Code).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Volkan Osmanagaoglu for the resolution of a dispute with Ezio Savini, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the proposed use of the second storey as an adult learning centre provides sufficiency of compliance with the classification of Group D major occupancy when considering the definition of “business and personal services” contained in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code at Village English Adult Learning Centre at 167 Queen Street South, City of Mississauga, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Volkan Osmanagaoglu
1319943 Ontario Inc.
City of Mississauga, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ezio Savini
Chief Building Official
City of Mississauga, Ontario

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

Gordana Tijanic
Jensen Hughes Consulting Canada Ltd.
City of Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

David Baker
Manager, Plans Examination
City of Mississauga, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate the second storey of an existing building to accommodate an adult learning centre at 167 Queen Street South, City of Mississauga, Ontario.

The subject building is 2 storeys in building height, less than 600 m² in building area, and comprised of combustible and non-combustible construction. The building is not equipped with a sprinkler system or standpipe and hose system.

The building was constructed in the early 2000’s and originally classified as having two major occupancies. The first storey was classified as a Group E “Mercantile” major occupancy, and the second storey was classified as a Group D “Business and Personal Services” major occupancy. The building having a floor area of less than 600 m², was constructed in accordance with Part 9 of the Building Code. The floor assemblies within the building have been constructed with a 45 minute fire-resistance rating.

As a result of a change in tenancy, the second storey office space has been converted to an adult learning centre. As a result, the dispute before the Commission centers on the occupancy classification for the adult learning centre located on the second storey of the existing building and whether the current Group D occupancy classification provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

Article 1.4.1.2. Defined Terms

Business and personal services occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part of a building for the transaction of business or the provision of professional or personal services.

Assembly occupancy means the occupancy or the use of a building or part of a building by a gathering of persons for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or similar purposes or for the consumption of food or drink.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the subject building was constructed in the early 2000's and was classified at that time as having two major occupancies, Group E (mercantile) on the first storey and Group D (Business and personal Services) on the second storey. The Agent explained that as the building has a floor area of less than 600 m², the building was constructed in accordance with Part 9 of the Building Code, including floor assemblies that have been constructed as fire separations having a 45 minute fire-resistance rating.

The Agent submitted that the second storey of the building has undergone a change in tenancy, accommodating the Village English adult learning centre. The Agent submitted that it is the Applicant's position that the use of the adult learning centre is similar to that of a personal service occupancy and thus, can be considered a Group D (Business and Personal Services) major occupancy, regulated under Part 9 of the Building Code. Further, the Agent submitted that the proposed Group D major occupancy classification would permit the building's existing 45 minute rated floor assemblies to remain.

The Agent explained that the adult learning centre is a private business, regulated under the Ontario Business Corporation Act and provides English lessons for a fee. The Agent described the programs as including interactive seminars (similar to a boardroom-like setting), which involve reading, writing, speaking and communication improvement and that there is no recognized certifications associated with the programs offered at the learning centre.

The Agent submitted that the adult learning centre operates between 9 am and 9 pm with a maximum class size of 10 students. She further advised that there is a maximum total occupant load of 55 persons at any given time, comprised of 50 students and 5 instructors. The Agent argued that based on the approximate floor area of 264 m², an approximate load factor of 4.8 m²/person is yielded, which corresponds to the occupant load factor permitted in Table 3.1.17.1. of the Building Code for personal service shops.

The Agent maintained that the Building Code's definition of “Assembly occupancy”, does not specify a minimum number of persons that can gather together without being considered an “Assembly occupancy”. She argued that, the Code requirement for a 1.5 hour fire separation under Part 11 Compliance Alternatives between assembly occupancy and a mercantile occupancy is onerous for owners of buildings being used for small gatherings such as the adult learning centre.

The Agent referred to the time-based exit analysis report, which was submitted to the Commission, and advised that the required travel time for all the occupants of the second floor to reach one of the two exit stairs is less than 1 minute. The Agent pointed out that the Building Code requires a 1.5 hour rated fire separation between the existing ground floor retail space and the second floor adult learning centre and further, that the objective and functional statements associated with this requirement, is to limit the probability that fire will spread between major occupancies having different degrees of fire risk, which could lead to damage to the building or harm to persons.

She argued that the use of the adult learning centre is similar to that of a personal service occupancy. The Agent maintained that the adult learning centre has an occupant load similar to that permitted in Table 3.1.17.1. for a business and personal service occupancy. She maintained that occupants of the learning centre would be awake and would require less than 1 minute to reach an exit, therefore, the proposal to consider the floor area as containing a Group D (Business and Personal Services) major occupancy meets the intent of the Building Code. As such, the Agent concluded that the proposed classification provides sufficiency of compliance with the Code requirements as it does not result in an increased level of risk with respect to the protection of the subject building and protection of the occupants in or adjacent to the subject building.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent explained that the second storey of the existing building has undergone a change in major occupancy as a result of a change in tenancy. The Designate submitted that it is the municipality’s position that the the adult learning centre is considered to be a Group A, Division 2 (Assembly) major occupancy as per Sentence 3.1.2.1.(1) of the Building Code and not a Group D (Business and personal Services).

The Designate maintained that as a result of the change in major occupancy, the existing 45 minute fire-resistance rating of the floor assembly separating the ground floor retail space from the second floor adult learning centre must be increased to 1.5 hour, in order to meet the Compliance Alternative permitted in Part 11, for the separation of major occupancies in an existing nonsprinklered building. Further, the Designate submitted that the retail space on the first storey is currently being used to sell fireworks and this presents an increased hazard for the school on the second floor.

The Designate maintained that as per the definition of "Assembly occupancy" in Division A, Article 1.4.1.2., of the Building Code, it is clear that the second floor of the subject building is being used for gathering of persons for educational purposes, and therefore, the adult learning centre is considered to be a Group A, Division 2 (Assembly) occupancy. As a result, the Designate concluded that an increase in the fire-resistance rating of the floor assembly separating the first and second storey must be increased from 45 minutes to 1.5 hour in accordance with Table 11.4.3.4.B. of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the Decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed use of the second storey as an adult learning centre does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the classification of Group D major occupancy when considering the definition of “business and personal services occupancy” contained in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code at Village English Adult Learning Centre at 167 Queen Street South, City of Mississauga, Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. In the context of the Building Code “business and personal services occupancy” is defined as the occupancy or use of a building or part of a building for the transaction of business or the provision of professional or personal services.

    The Building Code also defines the term “assembly occupancy” as the occupancy or use of a building or part of a building by a gathering of persons for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or similar purposes or for the consumption of food or drink.

    Based on the written and verbal submissions describing how the space is being used, it is the opinion of the Commission that the second storey of this building contains an assembly occupancy and should have a Group A, Division 2, assembly occupancy classification.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 17th day in the month of September in the year 2015 for application number B  2015-26.

Leslie Morgan, Vice Chair

Mina Tesseris

Gerry Egberts