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BCC Ruling No. 00-09-741

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-09-741

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) 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. Patrick Corvetti, Director of Store Planning, Grafton-Fraser Inc., Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Mani Navabi, Chief Building Official, City of Vaughan, to determine whether the as-installed roll down security door that is closed only during non-business hours provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) of the Ontario Building Code at the Suit Exchange at Colossus, Grafton-Fraser Inc., 7601 Weston Road, Unit 201, Woodbridge, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Patrick Corvetti
Director of Store Planning, Grafton-Fraser Inc.
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan

PANEL
Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate
Mr. John Guthrie<
Mr. Robert De Berardis

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
March 2nd, 2000

DATE OF RULING
March 2nd, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Patrick Corvetti
Director of Store Planning, Grafton-Fraser Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Patrick Corvetti, Director of Store Planning, Grafton-Fraser Inc., Toronto, Ontario, has received an order to comply under the Building Code Act, 1992, to remedy certain alleged deficiencies at a retail clothing store known as the Suit Exchange at Colossus, located at 7601 Weston Road, Unit 102, Woodbridge, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Applicant has recently constructed a Group E - (clothing) mercantile occupancy in a retail plaza described as one storey in building height and 4,747 m2 in building area. The subject suite has an approximate area of 530 m2, with dimensions of roughly 11 by 48 m. The building is constructed of noncombustible materials and is equipped with a sprinkler system, but not a standpipe and hose system nor a fire alarm system.

The retail suite is provided with two separate doors, one at the front and one at the rear. The front exit door is the principal entrance used by customers and staff. The door at the rear accesses an interior public corridor that runs behind the clothing store that serves as a service lane. This door is used as a shipping and receiving area.

The construction in dispute involves the installation of a second door on the interior side of the rear access to exit door. This door is described as a vertical, rolling security grill that measures approximately 1.2 by 2.1 m. It is manually opened and closed by a chain mechanism and is equipped with a keyed locking device.

The Applicant installed the roll-down door to enhance the security of the premises.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the as-installed roll down security door that is closed only during non-business hours provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) of the Ontario Building Code. Sentence 3.3.1.10.(1) requires (with limited exceptions which are not applicable in this case) that access to exit doors must swing on a vertical axis. As a roll-down device, this door does not operate by swinging on a vertical axis. The latter provision, Sentence 3.3.1.12.(2), requires that a door in an access to exit be readily openable without requiring keys or any specialized knowledge to open it. The subject door requires both keys and specialized knowledge to operate.

Since the roll-down security door does not meet these provisions, the issue in dispute, therefore, is whether there are adequate measures provided in the suite to compensate for the reduction in performance of the rear access to exit door.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.3.1.10. - Door Swing

    1. Except as permitted by Article 3.3.1.11., a door that opens into a corridor or other facility providing access to exit from a suite, or a room not located within a suite, shall swing on a vertical axis.

Sentence 3.3.1.12. - Doors and Door Hardware

    1. ,
    2. A door in an access to exit shall be readily openable in travelling to an exit without requiring keys, special devices or specialized knowledge of the door opening mechanism, except that this requirement does not apply to a door serving a contained use area, or an impeded egress zone, provided the locking devices conform to Sentence (6).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the roll-down security door provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) of the building code because the door is always open during business hours and when anyone is in the store. As a result, the door cannot pose a hazard to any occupants due to the fact that no one will be inside when the door is shut. He noted that the door is even open when the overnight security guard inspects the premises. Further, there is no concern about night cleaning staff because the store is cleaned immediately after closing by sales staff, during which the subject door is still open.

The Applicant indicated that he hoped there could be a way to retain the present roll-down door and still comply with the Code. He indicated that safety was their highest concern, but that they would like to achieve a certain level of security as well. The door, he argued, was necessary to enhance the security of the store, which sells high-end men's clothing. He stated that the door would be extremely valuable in preventing the type of theft they have experienced at some of their other locations. As a secondary barrier to entry, the roll-down door would delay thieves from gaining entry into the store until the police would have a chance to respond, he argued.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the subject suite is large enough that two Code complying exits are required. He stated that Sentence 3.3.1.10.(1), which requires that a door into an access to exit shall swing on a vertical axis, and Sentence 3.3.1.13.(2), which requires a door in an access to exit be readily openable without requiring keys, special devices or special knowledge, are applicable and must therefore be met. He argued that the current situation did not meet these provisions.

In the Respondent's view, the installation of the steel shutter door creates a hazardous situation by erecting a physical barrier blocking the exit. He also expressed concern about the fact that the subject door significantly complicates what would normally be a passive life safety (exit) system with an active device that relies on additional mechanical elements and on human behaviour to open and shut the door at the appropriate times. The roll down door, as the Respondent indicated, certainly requires keys and specialized knowledge to operate.

The Respondent also argued that the combustible load was high due to the nature of the retail operation.

Lastly, the Respondent asked that if banks and other higher risk businesses can achieve a good level of security as well as comply with the Code, why not this facility? He concluded by stating that if the Commission were to approve this door it would send out the wrong message to users of the OBC.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the as-installed roll-down security door that is closed only during non-business hours does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) of the Ontario Building Code at Grafton-Fraser Inc., Suit Exchange at Colossus, 7601 Weston Road, Unit 102, Woodbridge (Vaughan), Ontario.

  1. Reasons

a) The roll-down door does not comply with Sentences 3.3.1.10.(1) and 3.3.1.12.(2) in that it does not swing on a vertical axis and it requires keys and special knowledge to operate.
b) Sufficiency of compliance was not demonstrated.
c) Other alternatives are available.


Dated at Toronto this 2nd day in the month of March, in the year 2000, for application number 1999-89.





____________________________

Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. John Guthrie





__________________________

Mr. Robert De Berardis