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BCC Ruling No. 00-04-736

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-04-736

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) 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. Tony Demakos, President, Holy Trinity Greek Community of London and Vicinity, London, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Rocco Cerminara, Director of Building Controls, City of London, Ontario, to determine whether the church, proposed without a standpipe and hose system, but with a dome measuring approximately 18.3 m in height to the ceiling, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 131 Southdale Road, London, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Tony Demakos, President
Holy Trinity Greek Community of London and Vicinity
London, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Rocco Cerminara
Director of Building Controls
City of London

PANEL
Mr. Kenneth Peaker (Chair-Designate)
Mr. John Guthrie
Mr. Robert De Berardis

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
February 3, 2000

DATE OF RULING
February 3, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Thor Dingman, Project Manager
Marklevitz Architect
Stratford, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Tony Demakos, President, Holy Trinity Greek Community of London and Vicinity, London, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a new church facility known as the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, located at 131 Southdale Road, London, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Applicant is proposing to construct a new one storey (plus partial basement) church building classified as having a Group A - Division 2 assembly occupancy. The church is proposed to be 1,176 m2 in building area and will be of mainly noncombustible construction. The building will be equipped with a fire alarm system, but not a sprinkler system nor a standpipe and hose system.

The construction in dispute involves the Applicant's intention to omit a standpipe and hose system from the church. While the building is only one storey, it has been designed with a large dome centred over the nave that measures approximately 18.3 m in height at its interior peak from grade level. The building height threshold for when a standpipe and hose system must be installed, however, is 14 m.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the church, proposed without a standpipe and hose system, but with a dome measuring approximately 18.3 m in height to the ceiling, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision sets out some of the conditions which require the installation of a standpipe and hose system in a building. In particular, Clause (b) of this Sentence requires a standpipe and hose system in buildings greater than 14 m in building height as measured to the ceiling of the top storey. The proposed dome of the church, which represents seven percent of the total building area, exceeds this height.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.2.9.1. - Standpipe Systems - Where Require

1. Except as provided in Sentences (4) to (7), a standpipe system shall be installed in every building that:

a. is more than 3 storeys in building height;

b. is more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey; or

c. is not more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey but has a building area exceeding the area shown in Table 3.2.9.1. for the applicable building height if the building is not sprinklered.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the design of the subject church, proposed without a standpipe and hose system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the OBC. He offered the following arguments to support this assertion.

The Agent argued that a standpipe and hose system would not be effective in terms of fighting fire in the upper portion of the structure's interior, especially in the dome. The building will contain no other access to the ceiling space of the dome that one could use to fight fire if a standpipe system was installed. As the Agent argued, the only access for fire fighting purposes from the interior of the building is from the ground floor. However, from here, he noted, there is a clear view of the dome space to observe if a fire were to occur and the floor area would act as a suitable location from which to fight a fire.

In addition, the Agent argued that whereas the church is allowed to be combustible construction according to Article 3.2.2.25. it has been built with mostly noncombustible materials. All of the structural elements of the church including the dome are noncombustible construction, he noted. The wood sheathing is the only combustible element of the dome.

The Agent added that the dome, at approximately 74 m2, represents only seven percent of the church's total building area and the average ceiling height of the entire structure is roughly 10.7 m. Moreover, the building area of the church is well below the threshold that would require a standpipe system, he added.

Lastly, the Agent noted that there is no occupied space above the ground floor therefore the present issue is not one of life safety.

In conclusion, based on the above arguments the Agent requested that the Commission consider that the disputed standpipe and hose system be waived for the subject building.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent chose not to attend the hearing. The Commission therefore relied upon his written submission only.

He submitted that a portion of the building has a height greater than 14 m above grade, thus a standpipe and hose system is required as per Clause 3.2.9.1.(1)(b) of the OBC. He stated that, in his view, the design of the building, without provision for a standpipe system, does not comply with requirements of the Code for new construction.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the design of the church, that includes a large central dome measured at a height in excess of 14 m, proposed without a standpipe and hose system provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 131 Southdale Road, London, Ontario.

  1. Reasons

(i) No occupancy in upper level;

(ii) Open floor space;

(iii) Access available at seven locations;

(iv) Non-combustible construction.


Dated at Toronto this 3rd day in the month of February, in the year 2000, for application number 2000-01.





____________________________

Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. John Guthrie





__________________________

Mr. Robert De Berardis