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BCC Ruling No. 16-23-1451

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Ruling No.: 16-23-1451
Application No.: B-2016-13

 

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 3.11.3.1.(9) and Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of Division B of and Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the “Building Code”).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Rosario Lindia, for the resolution of a dispute with Frank Bidin, Chief Building Official, to determine whether the proposed design of the outdoor public pool, where the vertical distance from the top of the wall of the pool is 450 mm above the adjacent deck, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) of Division B and further, whether the proposed design of the public spa where the vertical distance from the top of the wall of the spa is 804 mm above the adjacent deck, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of Division B of the 2006 Building Code at 111 and 115 Champagne Avenue South, Ottawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Rosario Lindia
Basscon Group Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Frank Bidin
Chief Building Official
Ottawa, Ontario

PANEL

Tony Chow, Chair
Alison Orr
Susan Friedrich

PLACE

City of Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

July 7, 2016

DATE OF RULING

July 7, 2016

APPEARANCES

Allan Larden
Larden Code Consutling Architect
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Brent Taylor
Building Official
Ottawa, 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 construct a multi-unit residential condominium building.

The subject building is a 24 storey, Group C occupancy building, with a building area of approximately 3 000 m². The building is comprised of non-combustible construction, is sprinklered and equipped with a fire alarm system, and standpipe and hose system.

The building design includes a public pool and public spa which are proposed to be located on the 3rd floor terrace of the condominium building.

The construction in dispute relates to the design and construction of the public pool and the public spa.

Section 3.11. of Division B of the Building Code applies to the design and construction of public pools. Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) requires, in part, that a public pool be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that is not less than 1 800 mm wide and in the case of an outdoor pool, be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%.

The public pool is approximately 20 m long by 3.6 m wide and will have three walls that are constructed 450 mm above the adjacent decking and have a width of 300 mm. The fourth side of the pool is to be provided with a hard-surfaced pool deck having a minimum width of 1.8 m.

Section 3.12. of Division B of the Building Code applies to the design and construction of public spas.

Sentence 3.12.2.1.(4) of the 2006 Building requires, in part, that a public spa be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that has a minimum clear deck space of not less than 1.8 m at the main entrance point, a clear deck space of 900 mm on all sides, except as required by Clause (a) and permitted by Sentence (5), be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%, in the case of an outdoor public spa, and be impervious and sloped away from the pool to waste drains at a slope of between 1% and 4% in the case of a private public spa.

Sentence 3.12.2.1.(5) of the Building Code permits one section of the hard-surfaced pool deck to have a minimum clear deck space of not more than 300 mm provided that area does not exceed 25% of the perimeter of the public spa; the public spa has an area less than 6 m², and the public spa has no interior dimension more than 2.5 m.

The public spa will be similar to the public pool as it is designed to be constructed with three walls that are 804 mm above the adjacent decking. The spa walls will also be 300 mm in width and the fourth side (main entrance) of the public spa is to be provided with a minimum clear deck space of 1 800 mm. The dimensions of the public spa are 3.1 m long by 2.3 m wide and not more than 770 mm deep.

The design of both the pool and spa incorporates an “infinity edge” feature where the water surface is at level with the top of the walls.

Words and terms that are in italics within the Building Code are defined in the list of defined terms found in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code. Pool deck is defined as the area immediately surrounding a public pool.

The matter at dispute before the Commission is whether the design of both the public pool and public spa provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.11.3.1.(9), 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of Division B of the 2006 Building Code at 111 and 115 Champagne Avenue South, Ottawa, Ontario.

2. Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute

3.11.3. Pool and Pool Deck Design and Construction Requirements for All Class A and Class B Pools

3.11.3.1. Construction Requirements

  1. (9) Except for a modified pool and wave action pool and except as provided in Sentence (11), a public pool shall be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that shall,
    1. (a) except for a pool described in Sentence 3.11.5.2.(1), be not less than 1 800 mm wide and provide at least 900 mm width of clear passage,
      1. (i) behind any diving board and its supporting structure, and
      2. (ii) between any column piercing the deck and the edge of the pool or between the column and outer perimeter of the pool deck,
    2. (b) in the case of an outdoor pool, be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%, and
    3. (c) in the case of an indoor pool, be impervious and sloped away from the pool to waste drains at a slope of between 1% and 4%.

3.12.2. Public Spa and Deck Design and Construction Requirements

3.12.2.1. Construction Requirements

  1. (4) A public spa shall be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that,
    1. (a) shall have a minimum clear deck space of not less than 1.8 m at the main entrance point,
    2. (b) shall have a clear deck space of 900 mm on all sides, except as required by Clause (a) and permitted by Sentence (5),
    3. (c) shall be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%, in the case of an outdoor public spa, and
    4. (d) shall be impervious and sloped away from the pool to waste drains at a slope of between 1% and 4%, in the case of an indoor public spa.

  2. (5) One section of the hard-surfaced pool deck that does not exceed 25% of the perimeter of the public spa may have a minimum clear deck space of not more than 300 mm if,
    1. (a) the public spa has an area less than 6 m², and
    2. (b) the public spa has no interior dimension more than 2.5 m.

3. Applicant’s Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the subject building is a 24 storey, multi-unit residential building currently under construction in Ottawa. The Agent advised that the design of the building is governed by the 2006 Ontario Building Code, as the building permits for the building were submitted prior to when the 2012 Building Code came into effect.

The Agent explained that the building includes a public pool and public spa as defined by the Building Code that are to be located on an outdoor terrace at the 3rd floor level of the building.

The Agent submitted that the issue before the Commission relates to the vertical distance from the water surface and/or top of the wall of the proposed pool and spa to the surface of the adjacent decks. The Agent advised that the walls of both the pool and spa are designed to provide an “infinity edge” appearance, where the water surface is at the same level as the top of the walls surrounding the pool and spa. The Agent asserted that this is a design feature which has been included in a number of public pools in Ontario in recent years.

The Agent submitted that the public pool will be approximately 20 m long by 3.6 m wide with a water depth of not more than 1 300 mm. In response to questions, the Agent submitted that the public pool will have three walls that are constructed 450 mm above the adjacent decking and that the walls will have a width of 300 mm. The Agent explained that the fourth side of the pool (main entrance) will be provided with a hard-surfaced pool deck having a minimum width of 1 800 mm.

Having a similar design to the public pool, the Agent advised that the public spa is designed to be constructed with three walls that are 804 mm above the adjacent decking. The spa walls will be 300 mm in width and the fourth side (main entrance) of the public spa will be provided with a minimum clear deck space of 1 800 m. The Agent also submitted that the public spa is 3.1 m long by 2.3 m wide and will have a water depth not more than 770 mm.

The Agent submitted that the Respondent believes the dimensions required by Sentences 3.11.3.1.(9) and 3.12.2.1.(4) of the Building Code are to be measured from the edge of the pool or spa, to the outer edge of the deck at or near the water level. The Agent submitted that it’s the Respondent’s position, that the vertical distance from the water surface to the deck must be small enough so that the water surface is near the deck surface, and further that the vertical separations being proposed are not considered to be ‘near the water level’.

The Agent contended that Sentences 3.11.3.1.(9) and 3.12.2.1.(4) of the 2006 Building Code do not support the Respondent’s position that the required measurements are to be taken from the edge of the pool or spa to the outer edge of the deck at or near the water level. The Agent argued that the Building Code does not require the top edge of a public pool or spa wall or the water levels to be within a specific height range relative to the surface of the decking by which it is surrounded. The Agent maintained that the water level of the proposed public pool/spa in relation to the surrounding decks does not violate the Building Code.

The Agent stated that the Supplementary Standard SA-1, objectives and functional statements associated with Sentence 3.12.2.1.(4) regarding public spas, are the same as those attributed to Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) pertaining to public pools and they are: F12, F30, F121, F123, and OS3.1 and F123 and OS3.7 respectively.

The Agent maintained that the height difference from the top of the walls of the pool and spa to the surface of the adjacent decking will not impede the ability of persons outside the pool or spa from responding to an emergency condition involving a bather. He suggested thatthe walls could be of assistance in such a situation by providing the person using the rescue pole with a means of bracing themselves against the face of the wall to pull a person out of the pool or spa.

The Agent stated that the proposed design where the pool and spa walls are raised above the deck level, does not create any more of a hazard than a typical pool or spa design where the deck level is located 50-100 mm above the water surface. In fact, the Agent argued, the raised walls would provide a visual cue to an individual walking on the deck that a typical design would not provide. The Agent concluded that the proposed design could be considered to enhance the safety of an individual walking on the deck close to the pool or spa.

The Agent submitted that the objectives and functional statements that are attributed to Clause 3.11.3.1.(9(b) related to public pools and Clauses 3.12.2.1.(4)(c) and (d) related to public spas, are the same. They are F122 and OH2.3, which are related to the avoidance of contamination of pool water and they can be found in Supplementary Standard SA-1 of the 2006 Building Code. The Agent argued that it is expected that the design of both the public pool and spa, will pose no greater a risk of contamination of the pool water than would a deck located closer to the water surface.

The Agent advised that the width of the public pool is comparable to many public spas, and that there are many examples of public spas constructed under the Building Code where water in the spa is contained within a wall extending above the adjacent deck surface. He submitted that although under the 2006 Code there is no requirement mandating steps, ladders or other design features, specifically intended to facilitate access to the water in a public spa, the 2012 Building Code contains provisions for barrier-free access to public pools and spas. In particular, the Agent noted, Sentence 3.12.3.2.(3) 2012 Building Code in part, states, “a transfer wall providing barrier-free access for entry into and egress from a public spa shall, a) have a height not less than 405 mm and not more than 485 mm measured from the pool deck…”. Therefore, the Agent concluded, it can be expected that persons accessing the spa will be able to use the wall as a transfer wall. He argued that the pool wall extending 450 mm above the pool deck, would be no more hazardous to persons walking on the adjacent deck than it would be if they were walking adjacent to a public spa having similar walls permitted under the 2012 Building Code.

The Agent maintained that the presence of a wall extending 450 mm above the pool deck in no way detracts from the Building Code provisions regarding entry into a pool. He argued that Sentence 3.11.3.1.(18) of the 2006 Building Code requires at least one ladder or set of steps to be provided in both the deep and shallow areas of the pool for entry and egress, which the subject design includes.

The Agent submitted that the Respondent has identified Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of the 2006 Building Code as having been violated in the design of the spa. Similar to the pool walls, the Agent maintained that it was the Applicant’s position that the wording of Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) does not specify or impose a restriction on the height of a spa wall or water level in a spa, relative to the surface of the pool deck.

The Agent maintained that the 2012 Building Code contains provisions for barrier-free access to public pools and spas that were not in the 2006 Code, noting that Sentence 3.12.3.2.(3) of the 2012 code permits a transfer wall to extend up to 485 mm above the pool deck as a means of providing barrier-free access into a spa. The Agent noted that Sentences 3.12.1.1.(4) and (5) remain the same in the 2012 Building as in the 2006 Code, which suggests imposing a vertical height limitation between the pool deck and water level of an adjacent spa would be in conflict with Sentence 3.12.3.2.(3) of the 2012 Code.

The Agent concluded that the relevant content in the 2006 Building Code confirms that incorporating walls extending 450 mm above the adjacent public pool and 750 mm above the deck of the public spa, does not represent violations of the Building Code requirements pertaining to required pool decks adjacent to public pools and spas.

4. Respondent’s Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the Building Code is silent as to the location of the hard-surfaced pool deck required by Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) for the public pool and Sentence 3.12.2.1.(4) for the public spa in relation to the top of the walls surrounding the pool or spa.

The Designate maintained that as per the definition of “pool deck” found in Division A, Article 1.4.1.2. of the 2006 Building Code and on the current norm for public pools across the province, the City of Ottawa is interpreting the phrase “immediately surrounding a public pool” to mean at a level at the top of the pool wall at or near the water’s surface.

The Designate asserted that for safety reasons, a pool deck cannot be at any arbitrary height above or below the water level or at any arbitrary distance from the pool wall. The Designate submitted that to allow the pool deck to be at a distance above or below a level that is not standard, would invite designs that would permit distances that could pose a hazard.

The expectation, the Designate submitted, is that a person familiar with the pool will stand on the pool deck at the water’s edge with the water at or a short distance below the level of their feet. It is also expected. He explained that an emergency rescue is best facilitated by being able to slide a person from the water onto the adjacent pool deck without there being a drop down to it. He maintained that even a drop from a small distance could cause injury to a person, where the pool deck is not at or very near the surface of the water.

Referring to the objective and functional statements associated with Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) and Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of the Code, the Designate argued that although the Code does not specify a permitted height from a pool wall to the adjacent deck, it does not mean that the height of the pool wall or adjacent deck can be altered is such a way as to place a person at risk, whether an individual is familiar with a pool or spa or not.

The Designate submitted, that although not in dispute in this case, Clauses 3.11.3.1.(9)(b) and (c) and 3.12.2.1.(4)(c) and (d), further support the municipality’s position that the pool deck is to be located at the top of the pool wall, as these requirements require a pool deck to be sloped away from the pool or spa, so that contaminants cannot enter the pool water. The Designate explained that this would not be required in this case where the pool wall extends above the level of the pool deck as proposed.

The Designate concluded that according to the municipality’s Building Code Service’s Branch, currently there were no approved public pools where the pool deck is at a level that is not at the top of the pool wall at or near the waterline as in this case. Therefore, the Designate maintained the proposed design does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

5. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed design of the public pool and pool deck, where the vertical distance from the top of the wall of the pool is 450 mm above the adjacent deck, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9) of Division B when considering the term “pool deck” as defined in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the 2006 Building Code at 111 and 115 Champagne Avenue South, Ottawa, Ontario.

Further, it is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed design of the public spa and deck, where the vertical distance from the top of the wall of the spa is 804 mm above the adjacent deck, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.12.2.1.(4) and (5) of Division B of the 2006 Building Code at 111 and 115 Champagne Avenue South, Ottawa, Ontario.

6. Reasons

    With respect to the design of the proposed public pool and pool deck:

  1. Article 3.11.3.1. of Division B of the 2006 Building Code prescribes the construction requirements for pool and pool deck designs for class A and class B pools.

    Sentence 3.11.3.1. (9) states in part, “Except for a modified pool and wave action pool and except as provided in Sentence (11), a public pool shall be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that shall,

    1. except for a pool described in Sentence 3.11.5.2.(1), be not less than 1 800 mm wide …

    2. in the case of an outdoor pool, be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%, and…”

    Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A of the Building Code defines pool deck as the area immediately surrounding a public pool.

    The Commission heard that the pool is designed in such a way that three walls of the pool are to be constructed 450 mm above the adjacent decking. The pool walls are 300 mm in width. The fourth side of the pool is provided with a hard-surfaced pool deck having a minimum width of 1 800 mm.

    It is the opinion of the Commission that the top of the wall is considered the pool deck as this 300 mm wide surface is the “area immediately surrounding” the public pool.

    Consequently, the pool deck, as determined by the Commission in accordance with the definition of pool deck found in Article 1.4.1.2. of the Building Code, is significantly less than the 1 800 mm required by Clause 3.11.3.1.(9)(a). Further, the Commission understands that the top of the wall does not slope away from the pool as required by Clause 3.11.3.1.(9)(b).

  2. The Commission acknowledges that Sentence 3.11.3.1.(11) of Division B of the Building Code does permit a pool deck for a public pool to be an elevated platform surrounding the pool, provided that the public pool and the pool deck meet specified criteria.

    Based on the evidence and testimony, the Commission understands that the design of this public pool does not meet the criteria specified in Sentence 3.11.3.1.(11).

  3. It is the opinion of the Commission that, when considering the design and dimensions of the pool, including the water depth, and the 1 800 mm hard-surfaced deck being provided at only one end of the 20 m length pool, the proposed pool design does not meet the objective and functional statements associated with Sentence 3.11.3.1.(9).

  4. With respect to the design of the proposed public pool and pool deck, no compensating measures were offered.


  5. With respect to the design of the proposed public spa and deck:

  6. The Commission notes that Subsection 3.12.2. sets out “Public Spa and Deck Design and Construction Requirements”.

    Sentence 3.12.2.1.(4) of Division B of the 2006 Building Code states, “A public spa shall be surrounded by a hard-surfaced pool deck that,

    1. shall have a minimum clear deck space of not less than 1.8 m at the main entrance point,

    2. shall have a clear deck space of 900 mm on all sides, except as required by Clause (a) and permitted by Sentence (5),

    3. shall be sloped away from the pool to waste drains or to adjacent lower ground at a slope of between 2% and 4%, in the case of an outdoor public spa, and

    4. shall be impervious and sloped away from the pool to waste drains at a slope of between 1% and 4%, in the case of an indoor public spa”.

    The Commission heard that the public spa is designed to be constructed in a similar manner as the public pool. The public spa is designed to be constructed with three walls 804 mm above the adjacent decking. The spa walls are 300 mm in width. The fourth side (main entrance) of the public spa is provided with a minimum clear deck space of 1.8 m.

    When considering the term “pool deck” as defined in Article 1.4.1.2., it is the opinion of the Commission that the top of the wall is considered the pool deck as this 300 mm wide surface is the “area immediately surrounding” the public spa.

    Consequently, the pool deck, serving the public spa, is less than the 900 mm required by Clause 3.12.2.1.(4)(b). Further, the Commission understands that the top of the wall does not slope away from the pool as required by Clause 3.12.2.1.(4)(c).

  7. The Commission is aware that Sentence 3.12.2.1.(5) does allow one section of the hard-surfaced pool deck to have a minimum clear deck space of not more than 300 mm, provided specific criteria is met.

    Based on the evidence and testimony, the Commission understands that the design of this public pool does not meet the criteria specified in Sentence 3.12.2.1.(5).

  8. While not claiming that the walls of this public spa are considered to be transfer walls, the Applicant drew the Commission’s attention to the requirement in the 2012 Building Code related to the construction of a transfer wall, to suggest that the Building Code would permit a public spa to include a wall in its design.

    The Commission acknowledges Sentence 3.12.3.2.(3) of the 2012 Building Code permits a transfer wall to be constructed to allow barrier-free entry into and egress from a public spa. Sentence 3.12.3.2.(3) provides specific characteristics that a transfer wall must include. Clause 3.12.3.2.(3)(a) requires a transfer wall to have a height not less than 405 mm and not more than 485 mm measured from the pool deck.

    The Commission heard evidence and testimony that the vertical distance from the top of the wall of the public spa is 804 mm above the adjacent deck.

    Notwithstanding that it is the 2006 Building Code that is applicable to the construction in dispute, it is the Commission’s opinion that the proposed height of the public spa wall substantially exceeds the maximum height of 485 mm permitted in the 2012 Building Code for a transfer wall.

  9. With respect to the design of the proposed public spa and its pool deck, no compensating measures were offered.

Dated at the City of Toronto this 7th day in the month of July in the year 2016 for application number B -2016-13.

Tony Chow, Chair

Alison Orr

Susan Friedrich