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BCC Ruling No. 16-03-1431

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Ruling No.: 16-03-1431
Application No.: B 2015-40

 

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 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of Division B, Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Savic Homes Ltd., for the resolution of a dispute with Mike Seiling, Chief Building Official to determine whether the proposal to omit a landing in a garage where a door swings over a stair comprised of 3 steps, provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.8.6.2(1)(a) of Division B of the Building Code in 10 condominium units located at Block D, 975 Strasburg Road, City of Kitchener, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Blagoje Savic
Savic Homes Ltd.
City of Kitchener, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mike Seiling
Chief Building Official
City of Kitchener, 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

Blagoje Savic
Savic Homes Ltd.
City of Kitchener, Ontario
Applicant

Mark A. Radulescu
Giesbrecht, Griffin, Funk & Irvine LLP
City of Kitchener, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mike Seiling
Chief Building Official
City of Kitchener, Ontario
Respondent

Milena Protich
Lee LLP
City of Kitchener, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

 

1. Particulars of Dispute

The Applicant has received an Order to Comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 to remedy certain alleged deficiencies at Block D, 975 Strasburg Road, City of Kitchener, Ontario.

The subject building, known as Block D, is three storeys in building height, 2743 m² in building area and is comprised of non-combustible construction and is equipped with a fire alarm system. Block D contains ten condominium units. The building is equipped with garages, one for each unit, which are separated from the residential units by an interior corridor.

In 2011, Block D was constructed with five two-car garages, where each garage would be shared by two condominium units. Each two-car garage was equipped with a door allowing access to the garage from an interior hallway. The door opened in to the garage above a landing leading to stairs consisting of three risers.

In 2012, at the request of the Block D owners, the Applicant applied for a permit to construct walls in the garages, dividing each two-car garage into two single-car garages for the exclusive use of a single owner. As a result, five additional doors were constructed so that each single garage would have its own private access to its own single car garage from the interior corridor. This change in the layout of the garages resulted in the removal of the landings. Consequently, the door that swings into each garage from the interior corridor now swings directly over a stair in the garage.

Clause 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of Division B of the Building Code states, “Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4) and Sentence 9.9.6.6.(2), a landing shall be provided, at the top and bottom of each flight of interior and exterior stairs, including stairs in garages”.

The dispute before the Commission is to determine whether the proposal to omit a landing in a garage where a door swings over a stair comprised of 3 steps, provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of the Building Code.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

9.8.6.2. Required Landings
  1. (1) Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4) and Sentence 9.9.6.6.(2), a landing shall be provided,
    1. (a) at the top and bottom of each flight of interior and exterior stairs, including stairs in garages,

3. Applicant’s Position

The Applicant submitted that originally Block D was to be constructed as live/work units but due to zoning issues, the building was later converted to a duplex containing ten units, five on the upper level and five on the ground level.

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the City of Kitchener issued an Order to Comply, which states that the garage man door is not permitted to swing over the garage stair without a landing.

The Agent explained that constructing a landing will render the garages unusable for all but the smallest vehicles, as the landings will encroach on the floor space. The Agent for the Applicant submitted that other potential solutions will require a significant amount of work and the consent of all the unit owners. The Agent anticipated that the owners would refuse to consent to such work being done.

The Agent advised that the garage stairs in question consist of three risers and measure 24 inches in height from the garage floor to the top of the uppermost riser. He reported that they are constructed of wood and are provided with a handrail. He explained that the doors and the garage stairs are for the exclusive use of the unit's owner or resident and are not for public use. The Agent stated that visitors to the Block D units gain access through to the individual unit's front door, which is located on the side of the building opposite from the location of the garages in question, and through side doors to a public corridor.

The Agent submitted that the present condition with doors opening above the garage stairs has existed since Spring of 2012 and to the Applicant's knowledge there have been no reported injuries involving the doors or garage stairs.

The Agent submitted that the Applicant was willing to provide an automated light above the stair that turns on when the door is opened, high visibility paint on the treads of the garage stairs, caution signs in the corridor and on the door that opens over the stairs, and install a glass pane in the door so users can see that there is no landing. The Agent submitted that in lieu of the landing, the compensating measures may help to preserve the safety of the residents and meet the intent of the Building Code.

The Agent argued that by providing the above stated compensating measures and considering the doors would only be accessed by the unit owner's or residents who are familiar with the garage door and stair configuration, sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of the Building Code is achieved.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Respondent submitted that the subject building, known as Block D is a stacked townhouse type development with 10 residential suites where the upper suites occupy portions of the 2nd and 3rd floors and the lower level suites occupy portions of the ground floor and basement levels of the building. The Respondent reported that all suites are served by a 3' 11 " wide common public corridor which runs through the centre of the building.

The Respondent explained that each residential suite includes a single bay garage which is located on the opposite side of the public corridor from the residential suites.

The Respondent advised that the doors from the public corridor into each garage swing over a three riser stair that has not been provided with a landing. The doors could not swing into the corridor, because they would encroach on the required width of the corridor.

The Respondent submitted that it is the City's position that the current design, where the doors from the public corridor swing directly over a three rise stair without a landing is a contravention of Clause 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of Division B of the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposal to omit a landing in a garage where a door swings over a stair comprised of 3 steps, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 9.8.6.2(1)(a) of Division B of the Building Code in 10 condominium units located at Block D, 975 Strasburg Road, City of Kitchener Ontario.

6. Reasons

  1. Clause 9.8.6.2.(1)(a) of Division B of the Building Code states, “Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4) and Sentence 9.9.6.6.(2), a landing shall be provided, at the top and bottom of each flight of interior and exterior stairs, including stairs in garages”. The Commission heard that a landing is not provided at the top of the stairs located in the garage in each of the 10 condominium units.

    Sentence 1.2.1.1.(1) of Division A permits the use of alternative solutions that will achieve the level of performance required by the applicable solutions in Division B, in respect of the objectives and functional statements attributed to the applicable acceptable solutions.

    Functional Statement F30, associated with Article 9.8.6.2. provides that the intent of this provision of the Code is “to minimize the risk of injury to persons as a result of tripping, slipping, falling, contact, drowning or collision”.

    Objective OS3.1 associated with Article 9.8.6.2. similarly states, “an objective of this Code is to limit the probability that, as a result of the design or construction of a building, a person in or adjacent to the building will be exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury due to hazards caused by tripping, slipping, falling, contact, drowning or collision”.

    The Commission heard that the Applicant would provide the following compensating measures: an automated light above the stair that turns on when the door is opened, high visibility paint on the treads of the garage stairs, caution signs placed in the corridor and on the door that opens over the stairs, and the installation of a glass pane in the door so users can see that there is no landing. It is the Commission’s opinion, based on the evidence and testimony provided, the proposed compensating measures offered in place of providing a landing, do not achieve an equivalent level of performance as what is required by Article 9.8.6.2. for required landings.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 21st day in the month of January in the year 2016 for application number B 2015-40.

Tony Chow, Chair

Alison Orr

Gary Burtch