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BCC Ruling No. 00-06-738

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-06-738

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.5.13.(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. Steve Thurlow, Fire Chief, City of Burlington Fire Department, Burlington, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Dan Mousseau, Chief Building Official, City of Burlington, Ontario, to determine whether the proposed sprinklering of the residential portion of the new fire station (a facility not required to be sprinklered) with a sprinkler system designed in accordance with NFPA 13R provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at Burlington Fire Station #7, 4100 Dundas Street, Burlington, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Steve Thurlow, Fire Chief
City of Burlington Fire Department
Burlington, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Dan Mousseau
Chief Building Official
City of Burlington

PANEL
Mr. Kenneth Peaker (Chair-Designate)
Mr. James Lischkoff
Mr. Fred Barkhouse

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
February 17, 2000

DATE OF RULING
February 17, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Dave Cioruch, Chief Fire Prevention Officer
City of Burlington Fire Department
Burlington, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Joe Wintar, Manager of Permit and Zoning Administration
City of Burlington Building Department
Burlington, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Steve Thurlow, Fire Chief, City of Burlington Fire Department, Burlington, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a new fire station known as Burlington Fire Station #7, located at 4100 Dundas Street, Burlington, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Applicant is proposing to construct a new fire station facility. The building is described as one storey in building height, 658 m2 in building area and is to be constructed of combustible construction. The building will not be equipped with a fire alarm system nor a standpipe and hose system. A partial sprinkler system, however, will be installed in the residential portion of the structure, an area dedicated for the living space of the fire fighting crews.

The proposed fire station may be considered as having three major occupancies; Group C for the crew living space, Group D for the administrative offices, and Group F, Division 3 for the fire hall containing the vehicles and equipment. (The construction requirements, as determined in Subsection 3.2.2., for all three occupancies in the subject building are identical. The separations required between the occupancies varies, however.) Fire separations with a fire resistance rating of 1.5 hours will be provided between the vehicle storage area and the remainder of the building. Between the administrative area and the residential a 1 hour rated separation will be constructed.

The construction in dispute involves the proposed sprinkler system intended for the residential portion of the fire station. The Applicant proposes that this system be built according to NFPA 13R, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including Four Stories in Height". The sprinklers are being provided as a demonstration model to promote their use in residential buildings.

  1. Dispute

There are two issues in dispute between the Applicant and Respondent. The first is whether the proposed sprinklering of only the residential portion of the new fire station (a facility not required to be sprinklered) provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Ontario Building Code. The second is whether the proposed sprinkler system, designed in accordance with NFPA 13R, also provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1). This provision requires, with certain exceptions, that a sprinkler system be designed, constructed, installed and tested according to NFPA 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems". This Sentence applies even if a sprinkler system is not required in a building, i.e., elective or voluntary sprinkler systems - as is the case here - must also conform with Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) and thereby NFPA 13.

In particular, NFPA 13 requires that the entire building be sprinklered. Moreover, NFPA 13 mandates a higher level of sprinkler protection than NFPA 13R in that all concealed spaces must also be provided with sprinkler protection. As mentioned above, however, the subject building is not required under the OBC to be sprinklered.

It should be noted that the exception found in Sentence 3.2.5.13.(2) does not apply to the case at hand. This provision permits buildings of residential occupancy that are less than four stories in height to comply with the more relaxed sprinkler standards found in NFPA 13R, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including Four Stories in Height". This standard, however, is intended for buildings where residential is the only occupancy or at least the principal occupancy. This cannot be said of the subject building.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) - Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Except as permitted by Sentences (2), (3) and (4), an automatic sprinkler system shall be designed, constructed, installed and tested in conformance with NFPA 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems". (See Appendix A.)

  1. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that: "The building in question is community based satellite Fire Station that is being constructed in a predominantly residential area of the city that is undergoing substantial development. This station will also house the Departments Public Education Office and this being the case this partial system will be used as an educational tool to promote Residential Sprinkler Installations which are endorsed by the Burlington Fire Department for enhanced life safety and property protection. It is acknowledged that there have been no design or construction concessions or the waiving of any code mandated requirements as the result of the implementation of this partial system.

"Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building code would normally apply to a Fire Station if required to be protected with sprinklers, thus mandating compliance with the more stringent NFPA #13 Standard that would require protection throughout the building. Although this proposal doesn't comply fully it does however offer an enhanced level of protection in the residential area of the building which is separated from the Apparatus Bays and the remainder of the Station by a 1 ? hour fire separation. It is also believed that the "residential" area of the building could be equated to nothing more hazardous than a normal residential setting with a home occupation. This being the case it is argued that NFPA #13R would provide adequate protection for this area as covered under Sentence 3.2.5.13.(2).

"In summary, acceptance of this proposal will enhance the level of protection in living quarters area of the building and would also provide a valuable teaching tool for the Department in the educational promotion of similar residential systems. The Fire Department wants to be perceived by the public as practising what we preach while being fiscally responsible. By allowing the installation of the proposed system, it will in no way be detrimental to the life and fire safety function or protection of this building."

  1. Respondent's Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that: "Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Ontario Building Code 1997 edition requires automatic sprinkler systems to be designed, constructed and installed in accordance with NFPA-13, "Installation of Sprinkler Systems". While the same Sentence in previous editions of the OBC only required compliance with NFPA-13 when the sprinkler system was a required system, the 1997 edition was changed to require all sprinkler systems to meet the NFPA-13 standard.

"In NFPA-13, paragraph 1-6.1 states that a building containing an automatic sprinkler system must be protected with sprinklers in all areas. The Building Department does not have the authority to permit the installation of the sprinkler system within only a part of the facility.

"In addition, Sentence 3.2.5.13.(13) [sic] of the OBC 1997 edition states that NFPA-13R may be used in lieu of NFPA-13 where dealing with buildings of residential occupancies not exceeding 4 storeys in building height. While there is a residential component to this building, the major occupancy is deemed to be Group F, Division 2 [sic] with the storage of the fire fighting and rescue vehicles and therefore, the Building Department does not have the authority to accept a design not in conformance with NFPA-13."

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission the proposed sprinklering of the residential portion of the new fire station (a facility not required to be sprinklered) with a sprinkler system designed in accordance with NFPA 13R provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at Burlington Fire Station #7, 4100 Dundas Street, Burlington, Ontario.

  1. Reasons

(i) The installation complies to NFPA 13R.
(ii) The facility is not required to be sprinklered.


Dated at Toronto this 17th day in the month of February, in the year 2000, for application number 2000-13.





____________________________

Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. James Lischkoff





__________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse