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BCC Ruling No. 01-08-801

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. No. 01-08-801

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24 (1) of the Building Code Act, 1992.

 

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clause 6.2.5.2.(1)(c) of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99 and 205/00 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese Holy Family Parish, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Pam Coburn, Deputy Chief Building Official, City of Toronto, to determine whether the as-installed fuel fired appliances, a portion of each having been situated within 3 m of exterior walls of the same building which contain openings, provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 6.2.5.2.(1)(c) of the Ontario Building Code, at the Holy Family Church, 1372 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario.



APPLICANT

The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation
for the Diocese Holy Family Parish
Toronto, Ontario


RESPONDENT
Ms. Pam Coburn
Deputy Chief Building Official
City of Toronto

PANEL
Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair
Mr. John Guthrie
Mr. Donald Pratt

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
February 22nd, 2001

DATE OF RULING
February 22nd, 2001

APPEARANCES
Mr. Robert Niessl, Senior Mechanical Engineer
McGregor Allsop Ltd.
Stouffville, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Robin Parnell
HVAC Inspector
Toronto, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent


RULING


1. The Applicant

The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese Holy Family Parish, Toronto, Ontario, has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 and has extended an existing church building at the Holy Family Church, 1372 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The Applicant has added new worship space to an existing church building. The enlarged structure is classified as a Group A, Division 2 - Assembly occupancy. The existing building is one storeys in building height and of combustible construction, whereas the new addition is two storeys in building height and of noncombustible construction. Together, the two portions occupy a building area of 1747 m2 and are equipped with a fire alarm system.

The recent construction at the site involved the erection of a new church building to the west of the existing church and rectory. The existing and new portions are linked by two separate single storey sections, one at the north and one at the south of the building. Two air condition units (one on each) have been located on top of these one storey linking sections. A single unprotected window is located at the second floor level of each of the walls formed where the new two storey church abuts these single storey sections.

The construction in dispute involves the clearance distances between the two rooftop gas-fired air conditioning units installed on the low level roofs adjacent to the second floor exterior walls of the new church. Specifically, the unit located on the roof of the north linking section is situated directly in front of and 2.5 m away from a window in the western wall of the new church. If measured from the centre line of the burner component of the air conditioner, the distance to the window and wall is 3.0 m.

For the unit located on the roof of the south linking section, the nearest wall face measured at right angles to the air conditioning unit is 1.8 m away. The window in this wall is not positioned directly in front of the air conditioner, therefore the distance is measured from the nearest corner of the window to the nearest corner of the unit. This corner to corner separation is 2.3 m, and as measured to the centre of the unit, the distance is 3.1 m. Unlike the appliance installed on the north side, there is a shingled roof of the existing building in close proximity to the unit installed on the south low roof.

The Applicant is proposing to provide a heat shield between each unit and the adjacent opening to avoid the spread of a possible appliance fire.



3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the as-installed fuel fired appliances, a portion of each having been situated within 3 m of exterior walls of the same building which contain openings, provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 6.2.5.2.(1)(c)of the Ontario Building Code.

Clause 6.2.5.2.(1)(c) requires that a fuel-fired appliance installed on a roof must be set back at least 3 m from an adjacent wall of the same building if that wall has an opening(s) within either three storeys above 5 m horizontally of the subject appliance. However, this requirement can be waived if such openings are protected by a closure assembly having either a Code recognized 45 minute fire protection rating, or wired glass installed as required by Code. As installed, the subject appliances have a distance of less than 3 m with the adjacent walls and their openings (windows). The windows are unprotected and located less than three storeys above the subject appliances.



4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Clause 6.2.5.2. Appliance Installed Outside the Building

  1. Fuel-fired appliances installed on the roof of a building or otherwise outside the building shall be

    1. installed not less than 3 m (9 ft 10 in) from an adjacent wall of the same building when such wall contains an opening or openings within 3 storeys above and 5 m (16 ft 5 in) horizontally from the appliance, unless such openings are protected by a closure assembly having a 45 min fire-protection rating determined in conformance with Article 3.1.8.4., or by wired glass conforming to Article 3.1.8.14.

    5. Applicant's Position

    The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the installation of the rooftop units provides sufficiency of compliance with 6.2.5.2.(1)(c) of the Ontario Building Code. He stated that it is only the metal housing of the gas-fired air conditioning units that are actually too close to the adjacent walls and their openings. The burners themselves within the units, he argued, are 3 m from the walls. Moreover, the blower for the units points 1800 in an opposite direction from the walls.

    The Agent continued that the wired glass required by Code to provide protection to the openings would be costly to install. The closure assemblies were also ruled out because the subject windows are decorative and the closures would detract from their appearance. He indicated, however, that the Applicant would be prepared to install a three-sided heat shield made of reflective metal around the appliances for additional protection in case of fire or explosion.

    The Agent concluded by reiterating that with the burner sections of the rooftop air conditioning units being at least 3 metres from the adjacent walls and by installing the proposed heat shield, it was his position that the installation of the subject appliances meets the intent of the separation distance required in the OBC.


    6. Respondent's Position

    The Respondent stated that the original structure of the subject building was destroyed by a fire. As a result, vigilance should be applied to this building with respect to its fire safety. In this regard, the Respondent felt it important to note that besides there being inadequate clearance distance between the rooftop gas-fired appliances and the adjacent walls and their openings, there is also combustible roof material within a certain radius of the south unit. He did acknowledge, however, that the situation represented a difficult and tight installation.

    The Respondent concluded that he is prepared to accept the proposed heat shield as a compensation measure, however, he would like to see the drawings of the proposal first.



    7. Commission Ruling

    It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the as-installed fuel fired appliances, a portion of each having been situated within 3 m of an exterior wall of the same building which contains openings, provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 6.2.5.2.1.(1)(c) of the Ontario Building Code at the Holy Family Church, 1372 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, on the condition that:

    1. The units be provided with a heat shield; and,

    2. The heat shields be designed and installed to the satisfaction of the City of Toronto's Building Department.



    8. Reasons

    1. The heat shields, once installed, will provide protection to the openings in the subject walls.

    2. Considering the location of the actual burner portions within the air conditioning units, the separation is close to the required 3 m distance.



      Dated at Toronto this 22nd, day in the month of February, in the year 2001 for application number 2001-01.





      _________________________________________________________________

      Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair





      _________________________________________________________________





      _________________________________________________________________

      Mr. John Guthrie





      _________________________________________________________________

      Mr. Donald Pratt