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BCC Ruling No. 00-19-751

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-19-751

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.8.1.(5), Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) and Sentences 3.3.2.5.(4), 3.3.2.2.(8), 3.3.1.1.(1) and 3.3.2.12.(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. Karl Stevens, Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Paul Allore, Chief Building Official, Town of Ajax, Ontario, to determine; (1) whether the proposed second storey partitions located in the interconnected floor space between the first and second floors complies with Sentence 3.2.8.1.(5) of the Ontario Building Code (OBC), (2) whether the proposed second and third floor travel distances provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) and Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4), (3) whether the building should be considered as having one or two suites and thereby provide either a 30 minute or one hour separation as per Sentences 3.3.2.2.(8) or 3.3.1.1.(1), (4) whether the proposed close-spaced sprinklers on both sides of the unrated fire separations on the first floor provide sufficiency of compliance with either Sentences 3.3.2.2.(8) or 3.3.1.1.(1), and (5) whether the proposed installation of a sprinkler-activated mechanical exhaust system in lieu of roof mounted gravity vents provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5) of the OBC at Ajax Secondary School, 1375 Harwood Avenue North, Ajax, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Karl Stevens
Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Paul Allore
Chief Building Official
Town of Ajax

PANEL
Mr. Kenneth Peaker (Chair-Designate)
Mr. Fred Barkhouse
Mr. John Guthrie

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
April 27, 2000

DATE OF RULING
April 27, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Jon Winton
Leber/Rubes Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Paul Allore
Chief Building Official
Town of Ajax
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Karl Stevens, Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a school facility known as Ajax Secondary School at 1375 Harwood Avenue North, Ajax, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Applicant is proposing to construct a multi-purpose school building classified as Group A, Division 2 occupancy to serve as a secondary school for both the Durham Catholic District School Board and the Durham District School Board. The proposed building is described as 20,378 m2 in building area, three stories in building height and will be built (according to OBC Article 3.2.2.24.) of non-combustible, 1 hour rated construction. The building will be equipped with a full sprinkler system and a fire alarm system, but not a standpipe and hose system.

The proposed building will consist of a central portion flanked by north and south wings. The central area is proposed to accommodate shared facilities such as a 200 seat food court, libraries, and an auditorium. The north and south wings are nearly identical and will each house a secondary school, complete with classrooms, gymnasia and administrative facilities. The north wing will be allocated to the Durham District School Board and the south to the Durham Catholic District School Board.

A central, two storey corridor, described as a pedestrian "street" running throughout both school wings, is to act as the spine of the entire building. The branches of this "street"/ corridor will connect to the food court, which is to be located in the middle portion of the shared facilities area. As well, the "street" serves to separate the three storey classroom areas on the west from the one storey gymnasia and communication/construction/technical design studios on the east.

The two storey street will also create an interconnected floor space between the first and second floors. Since the portions of both schools to the east of this corridor are one storey, the east wall of the upper (or second storey) level of the pedestrian street becomes an exterior wall of the building. The west wall of the corridor at this level, however, forms the rear partition wall of a row of classrooms on the second floor of both schools. This wall is comprised mostly of large glazed areas and is considered an unrated separation. The second floor classrooms overlooking the pedestrian street form part of the interconnected floor area with the first floor. The opposite wall in these rooms will separate the remainder of the second floor with a 30 minute rated separation, including 20 minute rated doors which will not be equipped with closing devices.

The three storey classroom areas of both wings have been designed in an L-shape, with the long portion running parallel to (and west of) the street. Classrooms are to be located on either side of north-south and east-west public corridors. In the Public Board's secondary school the north-south and east-west corridors measure 76 and 37 m in length respectively. On the third floor of this school these corridors are 78 m and 37 m. The Separate School Board's wing is slightly smaller, with the north-south and east-west corridors measuring 72 and 30 m respectively on the second floor and 74 m and 30 m on the third floor. (The east wall of the north-south, or longer, corridors on the second floor are to be provided with the above mentioned 30 minute separation, including the 20 minute rated doors equipped with closing devices.)

The classroom areas of both schools are to be served by three exit stairs, one each at either end of the north-south and east-west corridors and one at the point where the corridors intersect. On the second floor of the public secondary school the travel distance from the mid-point of the north-south corridor (excluding classrooms) to the exit stair is 38 m. The travel distance for the east-west corridor on this floor is 37 m. On the third floor of this school the same dimensions are measured at 39 and 37 m. Likewise for the separate secondary school, the second and third floor (corridor only) travel distances are 36 and 30 m and 37 and 30 m respectively.

The shared facilities area, to be located in the centre of the building, will be separated from the two adjoining schools by a 1 hour rated wall. However, where the pedestrian street from both schools joins the food court area, the separations, each comprised of four doors with sidelight panels, are proposed to be unrated. The Applicant intends to install close-spaced sprinklers on both sides of these unrated separations.

An auditorium, designed for use by the schools as well as the surrounding community, is to be situated in the western portion of the shared facilities area adjacent to the food court. At the stagehouse area of this auditorium, a mechanical exhaust system is proposed for venting purposes that will provide six air changes per hour. The system will be designed so that it is connected to the building's emergency power system and activates automatically on sprinkler water flow.

The construction in dispute involves the interconnection of the first and second storeys, specifically the unrated separation at the second storey level of the pedestrian street, the travel distances on the second and third floors of both schools, the use of unrated separations and close-spaced sprinklers in lieu of a 1 hour separation in the pedestrian street between the schools and the food court and the use of mechanical smoke exhaust for the stage area in lieu of roof vents.

  1. Dispute

There are five issues in dispute between the Applicant and Respondent. The first and third issues are matters of interpretation of the Ontario Building Code (OBC), the remaining disputes involve sufficiency of compliance with certain provisions of the OBC.

The first question, a matter of interpretation, is whether the proposed second storey classroom partitions, as unrated separations overlooking the two storey pedestrian corridor, comply with the restrictions for interconnected floor spaces found in Sentence 3.2.8.1.(5) of the Ontario Building Code (OBC). This provision, specifically Clause 3.2.8.1.(5)(c), requires that the upper floor area of an interconnected floor space terminate at a vertical floor-to-ceiling fire separation. Clause (d) permits this vertical separation to be unrated. Clause (e), however, is an exception to Clause (d). It states that where a corridor is located "immediately adjacent" to the subject vertical fire separation, a minimum 30 minute rating is required.

As noted, the second storey classroom partition walls along the upper level of the west side of the pedestrian street are to be unrated separations. It is the opposite walls in these rooms that will have a 30 minute fire-resistance rating. At issue is whether the classrooms, albeit on the second floor, should be considered as being "immediately adjacent" to the two storey high pedestrian street corridor. If found to be the case, a 30 minute rating would be required in the separation overlooking the pedestrian street.

The second issue is whether the travel distances in the second and third floor corridors provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) and Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4) of the OBC. Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) requires that the subject building have maximum travel distance of no more than 45 m. The proposed travel distance in a total of 12 classrooms in both schools (all situated in the central portion of the of the north-south corridors) will exceed 45 m when measured into the most remote part of these rooms. In the worst case, the excess distance is 4.6 m for a total travel distance of 49.6 m.

The latter provision, Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4), permits the one hour fire-resistance rating required in the corridor walls of such buildings (as per Sentence 3.3.2.5.(1)) to be waived if the maximum travel distance standard (of 45 m) is met. As described above, only the east wall of the north-south corridor on the second floor will be constructed with a fire-resistance rating, proposed as a 30 minute separation. Therefore, all four corridors (north-south second and third floor corridors in both schools) that are proposed to have travel distances exceeding 45 m must be considered as having unrated separations.

At issue then, is whether the excess travel distance sufficiently complies with the 45 m requirement. If deemed so, the fire separations required in the corridors by Article 3.3.2.5. may be waived.

The third issue is also an interpretive question. It is whether the two schools proposed for the structure are considered as separate suites and therefore must conform to the separation requirements found in Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) of the OBC. This provision requires, except under certain circumstances not applicable to the present situation, that differing suites in a building must be separated from adjoining ones by a one hour fire separation. However, if the schools, due to their similar nature and proposed joint use of many facilities, can be viewed as a single suite then the separation requirements of 3.3.2.2.(8) would be applicable. This Sentence stipulates that, in a sprinklered elementary or secondary school, a room or an area of complementary use with an occupant load of more than 200 must provide a 30 minute rated separation from the rest of the school. Put simply, the question before the Commission therefore is whether the proposed Ajax school building will contain one or two schools. The answer will dictate the appropriate construction requirements.

Depending on the outcome of the above question is the related issue of whether the proposed close-spaced sprinklers on both sides of the unrated fire separations at the connection points between the pedestrian street and the food court provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) or Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8) of the OBC. Regardless of whether the separation is required to be one hour or 30 minutes, a certain rating is necessary, and as a fire separation it must be continuous. The unrated separation, however, proposed by the Applicant for the doors and sidelight panels at the access points between the street and the food court interrupts the one hour separation to be built between the schools and the shared facilities area. To compensate for this penetration of the fire separation, the Applicant is offering to provide close-spaced sprinklers on both sides of each access point. The issue before the Commission then is whether this is adequate compensation for the required (one hour or 30 minute) rated separation.

The fifth dispute is whether the proposed installation of a sprinkler-activated mechanical exhaust system in lieu of roof mounted gravity vents in the stagehouse area of the theatre provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5) of the OBC. This last provision stipulates that stages designed for theatrical performances must be equipped with at least two roof vents of certain aggregate area and which open automatically when the sprinkler system activates. The proposed system does not rely on gravity venting nor is it sized on the prescribed 1/8 ratio of the stage area. Again, at issue is whether the proposed mechanical system provides adequate compensation for the venting required by Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.8.1.(5) - Mezzanines & Openings through Floor Assemblies

(5) An interconnected floor space is permitted in an elementary or secondary school provided;

  1. the interconnected floor space consists of the first storey, and the storey next above or below it, but not both,
  2. the interconnected floor space is sprinklered,
  3. the portions of the upper floor area that do not terminate at an exterior wall, a firewall or a vertical shaft shall terminate at a vertical fire separation extending from the floor assembly to the underside of the floor or roof assembly above,
  4. except as provided in Clause (e), the fire separation required in Clause (c) need not have a fire-resistance rating,
  5. where a corridor is located immediately adjacent to the fire separation required in Clause (c), the fire separation shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 30 min, and
  6. where a portion of a floor area is not within the interconnected floor space, the required access to exit from this portion of the floor area shall not lead through the interconnected floor space.

Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) - Location of Exits

(1) Except as permitted by Sentences (2), (3) and 3.3.2.4.(6), if more than one exit is required from a floor area, the exits shall be located so that the travel distance to at least one exit shall be not more than; (c) 45 m (147 ft 8 in) in a floor area that contains an occupancy other than a high hazard industrial occupancy, provided it is sprinklered.

Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4) - Corridors

(4) The fire separation required by Sentence (1) is permitted to be waived if the distance from any point in the floor area to an exit measured along the path of travel to an exit does not exceed the travel distance permitted by Article 3.4.2.5.

Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) - Separation of Suites

(1) Except as permitted by Sentences (2) and (3), each suite in other than business and personal services occupancies shall be separated from adjoining suites by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than 1 h.

Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8) - Fire Separations

(8) Except as required in Sentence (9), in an elementary or secondary school, where the occupant load of a room exceeds 200 persons, the room and ancillary rooms of a complimentary use shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than; (a) 1 hour where the building is not sprinklered, or
(b) 30 minutes where the building is sprinklered.

Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5) - Stages for Theatrical Performances

(5) At least 2 vents for the purpose of venting fire and smoke to the outside of a building shall be provided above a stage designed for theatrical performances and shall; (a) have an aggregate area not less than one eighth of the area of the stage behind the proscenium opening, and
(b) be arranged to open automatically upon actuation of the sprinkler system.

  1. Applicant's Position

At the request of the Commission, the Agent for the Applicant began his presentation on the subject school with the issue of the proposed travel distance and its sufficiency of compliance with the OBC.

However, prior to arguing sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.4.2.5.(1) and 3.3.2.5.(4), the Agent offered the interpretive argument that Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) is significant in terms of dictating the subject building's travel distance. This provision can be read, he argued, as permitting the measurement of the required 45 m travel distance from a classroom door because it waives the requirement for a closing device. As he explained, by not mandating closing devices on the doors, the Code allows the continuousness of the corridor separations to be interrupted. By allowing this, the separations therefore cannot be employed in the usual manner as a method to extend the travel distance beyond 45 m and into classrooms.

Conversely, if the Code intended that the entire floor area must have a travel distance of less than 45 m, then this provision would be irrelevant. As a result, it would seem inconsistent with Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3) to measure the travel distance into the remotest area of the room. The classroom door, he asserted, is the logical starting point of measurement. And since the distance to the classroom doors in all cases is less than 45 m, the Agent indicated that the proposed design will comply with Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3).

Notwithstanding the above, in terms of sufficiency of compliance, the Agent submitted that the travel distances, which only slightly exceed the 45 m requirement, do not reduce the life safety of the occupants. As he noted, in the worst cases the travel distance is 49.6 m and only a very small portion of the total floor area of the building exceeds the prescribed limit. Moreover, much of the floor areas that are beyond the 45 m distance are located at the perimeters of rooms and in corners. He argued that these are very likely places for putting large furniture or millwork, meaning that the number of occupants that would actually be affected would be minimal. The added time to travel the extra 4.6 m, at 4 to 5 seconds, is not significant, he added.

Indeed, the Agent argued that the extra distance would not affect the time required to evacuate the floor area because, as he stated, "the time required to safely exit a floor area is practically governed by the access time (to get) into exit stairs, and not the time of travel to the stairs". He supported this position by referring to a stair exit analysis he conducted based on NFPA 101A, "Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety". The conclusion of this research, he indicated, was that the "time required to walk to an exit (2.24 minutes), including the additional time associated with a travel distance greater than 45 m, will still be less than the time required to leave the floor area by entering an exit stair (2.72 - 2.91 minutes), (sic) complying with Building Code capacity requirements. Reducing travel distance to 45 m will not reduce the time required for the occupants to leave a floor area." In other words, the length of time to wait in the queue to enter the door to the exit stair will surpass the time required to travel from anywhere on the floor area to the exit stairs.

The Agent stated that he was using NFPA 101A as a stand-alone test methodology and not as an alternate standard of conformance. He also noted that although NFPA 101A is a U.S.-based standard, the estimated exit times are compatible with those expected in a building built to Canadian standards.

Based on the above reasons, the Agent argued that the requirement mandated in the Code for fire separated corridors, in particular closing hardware on the classroom doors, can be waived.

Regarding the interconnected floor space and the fire separations at the second storey classrooms, the Agent stated that, in his interpretation of Clause 3.2.8.1.(5)(e), the partition wall overlooking the pedestrian street is permitted to be an unrated separation. He argued that the 30 minute rated wall required in this provision is necessary only when the corridor is located "immediately adjacent" to the separation. The requirement referred to in Clause (e), however, specifically relates to the separation on the upper storey of the interconnected floor space. As a result, the "corridor identified in Clause (e) is therefore interpreted to be a corridor located at the upper storey of the interconnected floor space."

The subject classrooms, he asserted, are therefore only "immediately adjacent" to the north-south public corridor located on the second floor running parallel to the pedestrian street, and the 30 minute separation will be provided in that (the entry side) wall. The pedestrian street, as a corridor for the first floor, cannot be viewed as being "immediately adjacent" to the second storey classrooms and thus the separation may be unrated, as permitted in Clause (d).

The Agent then discussed why the Code requires a 30 minute separation in the interconnected floor space to protect the corridor on the second floor. As he explained, since fire primarily travels upwards it makes sense that the OBC would require the second storey corridor to have additional protection. Conversely occupants on the lower floor would not be exposed to the same level of risk from a fire originating on the upper storey. Moreover, it is the corridors and not the individual rooms that serve the most occupants, and for this reason the separations "immediately adjacent" to the corridors must have a 30 minute fire-resistance rating. This fire protection philosophy, as enunciated in the Code, has been reflected in the design of the building's interconnected floor area and incorporated specifically in the placement of the unrated and 30 minute separations on either side of the second floor classrooms, the Agent noted.

On the interpretive issue of whether the entire school building can be viewed as having one suite, the Agent argued that due to the similar functions of both high schools and their high degree of integration (through the sharing of the library, food court and auditorium), the structure should be considered as having one occupancy. He indicated that the Technical Background Information memo produced by the staff of the Ministry's Housing Development and Buildings Branch supported this position. In fact, he referred to the Branch's presentation which likened the school building to a government office that often has different ministries and departments in the same building.

Based on this interpretation, the Agent argued that Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8) and not 3.3.1.1.(1) is the applicable Code requirement. Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8), he noted, only requires a 30 minute separation between the food court and the schools on either side. Currently, however, a one hour separation is proposed, which has been agreed to by the Applicant and Respondent. Nevertheless, the Agent indicated that it is the 30 minute rating stipulated in Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8) with which he will argue sufficiency of compliance on the following issue.

In terms of the close-spaced sprinklers then, the Agent noted that the system has been designed in accordance with NFPA 13, 5-3.7 and are proposed for both sides of each access point from the food court into the pedestrian street. He argued that the water curtain created by this system (upon actuation of the full sprinkler system) would provide "an effective means of controlling radiation from a fire." He also noted that, as major pedestrian circulation areas, the access points into the street and the corridor itself would not have a combustible load of any significance. For these reasons, the Agent stated that the close-spaced sprinkler proposal provides sufficiency of compliance with the 30 minute separation required in Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8).

Lastly, on the issue of the stage smoke venting, the Agent asserted that the proposed "sprinkler-activated mechanical exhaust system for the auditorium stage will provide a superior level of safety to stage venting." In other words, he argued that the mechanical venting system will not only provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5), it will surpass the required level of safety. The Agent offered the following reasons as to why the sprinkler-activated mechanical exhaust system is more effective:

"- the purpose of the vents is to assist clearing smoke from the stage house. A mechanically operated exhaust system can be designed to perform the same function.

"- the efficiency of the required gravity vent system is dependent on exterior climate conditions. The efficiency of natural venting is reduced as external temperature decreases. A mechanical exhaust system will exhaust the stagehouse at a consistent rate, regardless of external weather conditions.

"- the opening of gravity vents can be adversely affected by ice and snow, thereby affecting operating efficiency. Mechanical exhaust equipment can be weather protected more readily, reducing the likelihood of failure due to inclement weather.

"- mechanical exhaust equipment will be connected to the building (sic) emergency power supply system.

"- mechanical exhaust equipment will be designed to exhaust the stagehouse at a rate of 6 air changes/hr, comparable to that used for smoke venting in highrise buildings and smoke control in interconnected floor spaces.

"- the system will be designed to activate on sprinkler water flow, identical to the operation required for roof vents."

The Agent also stated that many similar proposals have been approved in jurisdictions across Ontario and North America. In fact, similar applications have come before the Building Code Commission in the past and have been accepted. There is growing acceptance that such mechanical venting systems are more reliable and are preferable as exhaust systems in these installations, he added.

Finally, the Agent argued that mechanical systems are also superior because they are less likely to transmit exterior noise into the building which would adversely affect the use of the auditorium.<

In conclusion, the Agent submitted that the design of the proposed building, including the above discussed issues, provides the same, or better, level of fire and life safety protection as that intended by the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent began his presentation by noting that the proposed building in dispute, with an occupant load of approximately 3,500, will be the largest high school in the country. As a result, it is very important that the subject Code compliance issues are adequately addressed.

On the issue of travel distance, the Respondent indicated that 45 m was the maximum distance to an exit as per Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c), unless the corridors providing access to exit are built with fire separations in accordance Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4). In the latter case, the travel distance need only be measured from the door of the classroom. However, since much of the wall area in these corridors cannot be considered as fire separations because the doors will not be provided with closing hardware, he stated that the travel distance should be measured into the most remote point within the classrooms. (The Respondent did not address the interpretive issue of Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3).) When measuring into the rooms, he noted that a portion of 12 classrooms are beyond the 45 m limit. As a result, he argued that the fire separations, as set out in Article 3.3.2.5., are required. The Respondent did acknowledge that the additional distances in dispute are relatively minor.

Regarding the separations at the interconnected floor space, the Respondent argued that he views the pedestrian street as a two storey corridor. Therefore, even though the upper level of the street is an open space and cannot be used for exiting, it is still part of a corridor area. Based on this interpretation of the Code, he asserted that the partition walls in the classrooms overlooking the pedestrian street should be considered as being "immediately adjacent" to a corridor and, in accordance with Clause 3.2.8.1.(5)(e), are therefore required to be built as a separation having a 30 minute fire-resistance rating. On this issue also the Respondent did concede that there are other legitimate interpretations of the OBC. He indicated, however, that he felt it prudent to follow the more cautious interpretation.

In so far as the issue of whether the school has one or two suites, and whether it should have a 30 minute or one hour separation around the food court, the Respondent indicated that not enough is known yet about how the school will operate in order to determine if it will function like one or two schools/suites. Again, he rationalized that erring on the side of caution would be the wiser approach. Consequently, he stated that he considers the two schools as separate tenants. In his view, the one hour rated wall as mandated by Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) is the appropriate standard.

Following the above interpretation, the Respondent argued that the separations at the access points between the food court and pedestrian street, as designed, do not provide a one hour rating, nor even 30 minutes. Moreover, the proposal to install close-spaced sprinklers on both sides of these separations does not, in his mind, provide adequate compensating benefits for the lack of a required separation. The OBC does not specifically recognize the addition of close-spaced sprinklers in lieu of maintaining a fire separation, he added. The Respondent stated that he would feel more comfortable with the proposal if deluge sprinklers were being offered.

Lastly, with respect to stage venting, the Respondent indicated that from a strictly prescriptive point of view Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5) of the Code requires at least two gravity vents to be provided in the stage roof that will open automatically with activation of the sprinkler system. The proposed mechanical ventilation is an alternative system which is also not recognized by the Code. However, he acknowledged that the proposal offers certain advantages over the venting system mandated by the OBC. Nevertheless, he felt he did not have the authority to accept such a system since the Code requirements were clear.

  1. Commission Ruling

The following are the decisions of the Building Code Commission as they relate to the proposed Ajax Secondary School, at 1375 Harwood Avenue North, Ajax, Ontario.

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(c) and Sentence 3.3.2.5.(4) has been obtained as it relates to the proposed second and third floor travel distances. Moreover, the corridors serving the classrooms need not be fire separated, since the travel distance is accepted. However, the entry side wall of the second storey classrooms, as a separation between interconnected floor space and a public corridor, must be provided with a 30 minute fire-resistance rating. Door closing hardware may be excluded from this separation as per Sentence 3.1.8.11.(3).

It is the decision of the BCC that the partition wall overlooking the interconnected floor space, as designed, need not, according to OBC 3.2.8.1.(5), be separated from the floor opening by a rated fire separation.

It is the decision of the BCC that the proposed Ajax Secondary School will be operated under a single tenancy and, as a result, the suite separation requirement of Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1) does not apply.

However, it is also the decision of the BCC that the unrated partitions with glass doors equipped with close-spaced sprinklers and proposed to be located across the school's main corridor, or pedestrian street, do not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.2.(8).

Lastly, it is the decision of the BCC that sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.12.(5)has been obtained for the proposed venting system to exhaust the stage area.

  1. Reasons

    1. The excess distances, at 4.6 m or less, are small and are located in room corners that are likely to be occupied by furniture.
    2. The exit travel distances, slightly in excess of 45 m, do not reduce the level of safety for the occupants as the time required to safely exit a floor area in this instance is governed in practice by the access time to the exit stairs.
    3. The proposed design of the interconnected floor space at the second storey classrooms that proposes an unrated separation overlooking the pedestrian street and a 30 minute rated wall opposing, in our interpretation, is in compliance with Sentence 3.2.8.1.(5) of the OBC.
    4. Thirty minute fire separations are required by OBC 3.3.2.2.(8) and the proposed partition and glass doors with close-spaced sprinklers do not provide adequate compensatory measures.
    5. The mechanical exhaust system is equal or superior to roof mounted gravity vents.


Dated at Toronto this 27th day in the month of April, in the year 2000, for application number 2000-19.





____________________________

Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse





__________________________

Mr. John Guthrie