Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 2000 > BCC Ruling No. 00-01-733

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 00-01-733

Email this page

BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-01-733

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99 and 597/99 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Daniel Teramura, Moriyama and Teshima Architects, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. G. N. Bilous, Chief Building Official, City of Oshawa, Ontario, to determine whether the operation of the building compensates for the as-built guards constructed mainly with panels consisting of 50 by 50 mm welded wire mesh and thereby provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) of the Ontario Building Code at Durham YMCA, 99 Mary Street North, Oshawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Daniel Teramura
Moriyama and Teshima Architects
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. G. N. Bilous
Chief Building Official
City of Oshawa

PANEL
Mr. James Lischkoff (Chair-Designate)
Mr. Donald Pratt
Mr. Fred Barkhouse

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
January 13, 2000

DATE OF RULING
January 13, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Randal Brown, President
Randal Brown & Associates Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Herman Guta
Senior Building Inspector
Senior Building Inspector
Designate for the Respondent


RULING

  1. The Applicant
  2. Mr. Daniel Teramura, Moriyama and Teshima Architects, Toronto, Ontario, has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 and has recently constructed a new YMCA facility - known as the Durham YMCA - at 99 Mary Street North, Oshawa, Ontario.

  3. Description of Constrution

    The Applicant has recently constructed a new YMCA complex classified as having Group A, Division 2 and 3 major occupancies. The structure is described as two storeys in building height, 5 574 m2 in building area and is of noncombustible construction. The building has four main areas. On the ground floor there is a gymnasium, pool and licenced daycare centre, and on the second floor there is a conditioning area with a running track. Also found on the ground floor is a child minding area, which is separate from the day care centre.

    The construction in dispute involves the guards surrounding running track and conditioning area and in the gymnasium. At the running track and conditioning area the guards serve to separate second storey spaces that overlook the ground floor. The as-built guards are described as 1 070 mm in total height and are constructed with a single steel rail supported at regular intervals by vertical steel posts. Fastened to the posts and acting as infill between the posts, rail and floor surface are a series of panels comprised of 50 by 50 mm welded wire mesh sheets attached to a steel frame. The openings surrounding each infill panel are 100 mm to the floor, 50 mm to the vertical posts and 50 mm to the rail above.

  4. Dispute

    The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the operation of the building compensates for the as-built guards constructed mainly with panels comprised of 50 by 50 mm welded wire mesh and thereby provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision stipulates that unless it can be shown that openings in a guard do not pose a hazard, the guard should be designed so as not to facilitate climbing.

    Both parties to this dispute apparently agree that the design of the guard could facilitate climbing. The dispute, however, is whether in this instance, as utilized in the subject supervised YMCA building, the guards constitute a hazard. Specifically at issue therefore is whether the intended supervised use of the building and the limited access to certain areas of the facility compensate for the inherent climbability of the guards.

  5. Provision of the Building Code

    Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) - Guards

    Unless it can be shown that the location and size of openings do not present a hazard, a guard shall be designed so that no member, attachment or opening located between 140 mm and 900 mm above the level protected by the guard will facilitate climbing.

  6. Applicant's Position

    At the outset, the Agent for the Applicant indicated that it was his understanding that the permit application had been made when the previous version of the Ontario Building Code was in effect. As a result, it could be possible to review this situation under the former edition of the OBC, he stated. In this case the guards would be in compliance, he argued, because the previous version of the Code had no requirements regarding climbability of guards in Part 3 buildings.

    Nevertheless, the Agent indicated that he would also present arguments regarding sufficiency of compliance with the current version of the OBC. He submitted that used under the present circumstances in the subject YMCA, the guards, as designed and constructed, do not present a hazard and thereby provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) of the OBC.

    The Agent stated that the disputed guards are located at the running track and conditioning area, which are spaces used primarily by adults and eligible youth. The youth who do utilize these areas of the YMCA are required to pass a proficiency test demonstrating that they understand the hazards of using the conditioning area and its equipment. This upper level of the building, he added, is not open to the general public. As a result, he argued that only persons aware of the guard's potential climbability would be allowed in the area and if they are they would be supervised.

    In addition, the Agent argued that beyond limiting the access of the areas served by the guards, the YMCA also provides supervision of young children through its child monitoring area located on the ground floor. This area is offered so that the adults using the YMCA can exercise, etc. while their children play in an attended environment. It also means that children would not be present in the areas served by the guards.

    Lastly, the Agent argued that other YMCA facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, such as the ones in Toronto, the former North York and Mississauga, have used the same guards for 10 to 20 years without incident.

    In conclusion, the Agent stated that while he agrees the guards could be considered climbable by small children, in the location and circumstances under which they are used, they do not present a hazard.

  7. Respondent's Position

    The Respondent submitted that the location of the guards and size of their openings present a hazard and thus do not meet the requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5). He indicated that the guards are obviously climbable and consequently pose an inherent danger.

    The Respondent rejects the idea that the present issue could be regarded under the previous version of the OBC since the entire building had been reviewed under the 1997 edition. As he stated, it is not possible to pick and choose between versions of the Code.

    He noted that the wire mesh guards are not limited to the running track and conditioning area and are used elsewhere in the building, including at the open sides of the stairs, ramps, and second floor balconies. Due to their widespread use, the likelihood that children will come in contact with the climbable guards is high. He also argued that he was not convinced that the disputed areas of the building would be completely restricted in terms of access by children nor would it receive adequate supervision when children are present. As a result, the Respondent indicated that the as-constructed guards, in his opinion, are not acceptable and he stated that he felt he did not have the authority to allow such a deviation from the Code.

  8. Commission Ruling

    It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the guards as installed at Durham YMCA, 99 Mary Street North, Oshawa, provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.17.(5) of the Ontario Building Code.

  9. Reasons

    (i) There is restricted access to the areas (which contain the guards) by the use of coded entry cards.

    (ii) There is a YMCA policy (visibly displayed) which restricts access to children to these areas.

    (iii) There is full time supervision in the areas that contain the guards.

    iv) Children between the ages of nine and twelve must pass a proficiency test to use the restricted areas.

Dated at Toronto this 13th day in the month of January, in the year 2000, for application number 1999-84.





____________________________

Mr. James Lischkoff, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. Donald Pratt





__________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse