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BCC Ruling No. 00-21-753

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-21-753

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 3.2.3. of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99 and 205/00 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Chris Boyd, Rebanks Architects Inc., Toronto, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Terry Willing, Chief Building Official, City of Kingston, to determine whether the new supermarket, proposed to be constructed adjoining to an existing retail mall as one enlarged building built on two properties complies with Sentences 3.2.3.1.(8), 3.2.3.7.(4), 3.2.3.12.(1), 3.2.3.12.(3), 3.2.3.13.(3) and 3.3.1.4.(4) of the Ontario Building Code at the Loblaws Supermarket, 1100 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Chris Boyd
Rebanks Architects Inc.
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Terry Willing
Chief Building Official
City of Kingston

PANEL
Mr. Kenneth Peaker (Chair-Designate)
Mr. Donald Pratt
Mr. Fred Barkhouse

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
May 11th, 2000

DATE OF RULING
May 11th, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Randal Brown, Consulting Engineer, President
Randal Brown & Associates Ltd.
Willowdale, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Ted Marecak
Building Official
City of Kingston
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Chris Boyd, Rebanks Architects Inc., Toronto, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a Loblaws Supermarket, at 1100 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Applicant is proposing to construct a new addition to the north of an existing mall to serve as a Loblaws supermarket. The addition is described as a two storey, noncombustible structure with a building area of 7,432 m2, that is classified as having a Group E - (retail) mercantile major occupancy. The building is to be equipped with a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system, but not a standpipe and hose system.

The existing mall is 23,180 m2 in building area excluding the Sears store, which is to be demolished and will be replaced by the proposed Loblaws facility. The mall is also two stories in building height and is of non-combustible construction. It too is equipped with sprinkler and fire alarm systems, but not a standpipe and hose.

Apart from the standard supermarket food shelves, grocery isles, check out counters, shipping, storage and receiving areas, the ground floor will also contain a pharmacy, a bakery, a photolab/shop and other commercial retail space. The second storey of the supermarket is proposed as an L-shape mezzanine along the north and east perimeter walls of the building. This level will provide space for employee facilities and administrative offices as well as a cooking classroom, a restaurant and a fitness centre. No connection is proposed between this storey and the existing mall.

The supermarket will be provided with two public entrances directly from the exterior on the east wall. Immediately inside the entrance at the south-east corner will be the connection to the mall. This connection is to be comprised of a short north-south corridor that will terminate at a longer existing east-west covered pedestrian corridor that is to separate the two buildings. This latter corridor, which is to be rebuilt as part of the construction, is 6 m in width and has exit doors at both its east and west ends to serve the existing mall's main central corridor. At present, the east-west covered corridor straddles the property line between the two buildings (extending 1.8 m onto the Loblaws' land). The entire south exposing building face of the Loblaws store, a portion of which will form the north wall of the subject corridor, is to be constructed as an unrated fire separation.

To accommodate more parking directly in front of the Loblaws store, the Applicant is proposing to shift the entire supermarket considerably to the west of the former footprint of the Sears store. The placement of the supermarket at this location means that the internal corridor connections between the two buildings will be offset. It also means that the exterior walls of the opposing buildings will be offset, specifically the easterly portion of the mall's north wall and the westerly portion of the supermarket's south wall will be exposed to the dividing property line (4.2 m and 1.8 m away respectively) but not the opposing building.

The construction in dispute involves the proposal to build the supermarket's southern exposing building face as an unrated separation 1.8 m from a property line, a portion of which is to form part of an exit corridor. The Applicant is proposing to include spatial separation agreements registered on title as per OBC Sentence 3.2.3.1.(8) to require if either party were to sell their property that measures be taken to meet the spatial separation requirements.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the new supermarket proposed to be constructed adjoining to an existing retail mall as one enlarged building built on two properties complies with Sentences 3.2.3.1(8), 3.2.3.7.(4), 3.2.3.12.(1), 3.2.3.12.(3), 3.2.3.13.(3) and 3.3.1.4.(4) of the Ontario Building Code. Subsection 3.2.3. (including the first five Sentences above) governs structural and design requirements for spatial separation and exposure protection of separate buildings located on different properties, separate buildings located on different properties but with zero distance between them (i.e., attached buildings), and buildings connected by (a) walkway(s). Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) permits, with certain exceptions that are not applicable in this instance, a public corridor to be constructed without fire separations if the floor area is sprinklered and the corridor is more than 5 m in width.

The more fundamental issue that must be addressed prior to any discussion of compliance with the aforementioned Code provisions, however, is whether the proposed expanded, fully sprinklered structure located over two properties should be considered as one building. If the answer to this question is affirmative then Sentences 3.2.3.1.(8), 3.2.3.7.(4) and 3.2.3.13.(3) are no longer applicable since they deal with spatial separation and limiting distance issues from separate buildings. Moreover, if the complex is viewed as one building in conjunction with the fact that the proposed addition will be fully sprinklered (as is the existing building), the covered pedestrian corridor exceeds 5 m in width, and the structure does not contain Group B or C occupancies, then Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) would be satisfied and also not in dispute. As one building, the only requirements referred to above that would be germane are those relating to the protection of exit facilities found in Sentences 3.2.3.12.(1) and (3).

Put simply, the issues before the Commission are whether the subject structure with the addition of an adjoining supermarket on the adjacent property can be considered for the purposes of Ontario Building Code conformance as one building and whether the proposed design complies with, or in fact is required to comply with, OBC Sentences 3.2.3.1.(8), 3.2.3.7.(4), 3.2.3.12.(1), 3.2.3.12.(3), 3.2.3.13.(3) and 3.3.1.4.(4).

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.3.1. - Limiting Distance and Area of Unprotected Openings

(8) The required limiting distance for an exposing building face is permitted to be measured to a point beyond the
property line that is not the centre line of a street, lane or public thoroughfare if,

  1. the owners of the properties on which the limiting distance is measured and the municipality enter into an agreement in which such owners agree that,

i. each owner covenants that, for the benefit of land owned by the other covenantors, the owner will not construct a building on his or her property unless the limiting distance for exposing building faces in respect of the proposed construction is measured in accordance with the agreement,

ii. the covenants contained in the agreement are intended to run with the lands, and the agreement shall be binding on the parties and their respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns,

iii. the agreement shall not be amended or deleted from title without the consent of the municipality, and

iv. they will comply with such other conditions as the municipality considers necessary, including indemnification of the municipality by the other parties, and

  1. the agreement referred to in Clause (a) is registered against the title of the properties to which it applies.

Sentence 3.2.3.7. - Construction of Exposing Building Face

(4) Except as permitted by Article 3.2.3.9., if a limiting distance shown in Table 3.2.3.1.B. or Table 3.2.3.1.D. for a
Group E, or Group F, Division 1 or 2 occupancy classification permits an exposing building face to have
unprotected openings not more than 10% of the exposing building face, the exposing building face shall be:

a. of non-combustible construction having a fire-resistance rating not less than 2 h, and

b. clad with noncombustible cladding.

Sentence 3.2.3.12 - Protection of Exit Facilities.

  1. Except as required by Sentence (3) and as permitted by Sentence 3.4.4.3.(1), if the plane of an exterior wall of an exit enclosure forms an angle less than 135 with the plane of an exterior wall of the building it serves, and an opening in the exterior wall of the exit enclosure could be exposed to fire from an opening in the exterior wall of the exit or the exterior wall of the building shall be protected in conformance with the requirements of Sentence (4) where the opening in the exterior wall of the building is within 3 m (9 ft 10 in) horizontally and;

    1. less than 10 m (32 ft 10 in) below an opening in the exterior wall of the exit, or;
    2. less than 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above an opening in the exterior wall of the exit.

(See A-3.2.3.13.(1) in Appendix A).

  1. ,
  2. Except as permitted by Sentence 3.4.4.3.(1), if an exterior exit door in one fire compartment is within 3 m (9 ft 10 in) horizontally of an opening in another fire compartment and the exterior walls of these fire compartments intersect at an exterior angle of less than 135 , the opening shall be protected in conformance with the requirements of Sentence (4).

Sentences 3.2.3.13. - Wall Exposed to Another Wall

(3) Sentence (1) does not apply to unprotected openings of the fire compartments within a building that is
sprinklered, but shall apply to:

  1. unprotected openings of fire compartments on opposite sides of a firewall, and;
  2. exposure from unprotected openings of a fire compartment that is not protected by an automatic sprinkler system.

Sentences 3.3.1.4. - Public Corridor Separations

(4) If a floor area is sprinklered, no fire separation is required between a public corridor and the remainder of the
floor area provided the public corridor;

  1. is more than 5 m (16 ft 5 in) in unobstructed width, and;
  2. does not serve:

i. a care or detention occupancy, or;

ii. a residential occupancy.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the mall and the Loblaws store, although on separate properties, should be considered as a single building for the purposes of Building Code compliance. To support the argument that the complex should be seen as one building he indicated that an interconnected electronically supervised sprinkler system will protect the entire structure. Further, a maintenance agreement and a spatial separation agreement as per Sentence 3.2.3.1.(8), although the latter is not required, would be concluded covering the two properties and registered on title, thereby ensuring that the mall and supermarket function as a single complex. (The purpose of the spatial separation agreement, he noted, "was to ensure that if either parties were to sell their respective lands, no changes to the buildings would occur unless measures were taken to meet the OBC spatial separation requirements.")

As a result, he argued that, as one building, the requirements of Sentences 3.2.3.1.(8), 3.2.3.7.(4) and 3.2.3.13.(3) are not applicable since they relate to the separation and protection of separate buildings. Moreover, if viewed as one building, Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) is not an issue since the conditions of that provision are met; the complex will be fully sprinklered, the corridor is to be wider than 5 m, and there will be no Group B or C occupancies. Consequently, the Agent added, that the covered public corridor is not required to be constructed with fire separations.

The Agent continued by arguing that the Code does not require a firewall or a fire separation to be built on a property line. The OBC, he asserted, has certain requirements for both firewalls and fire separations if one is mandated, but no where in the Building Code does it stipulate that these must be built on property lines. The Agent noted that the BCC upheld this position in a recent decision (#99-60-716) in which it ruled that a firewall was not required on a lot line where a single building straddled two properties.

In conclusion, the Agent reiterated that the proposed design of the Loblaws addition to the existing mall conforms to the provisions of the Building Code that, as a single entity, are applicable. He also noted that the design will ensure that the exit facilities are protected as per Sentences 3.2.3.12.(1) and (3).

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent began by submitting that he had no problem with the concept of a single building extending over a property line without a firewall between them. He stated that his concern with the design of the subject structure is that the mall (including corridor) and the supermarket should be compartmentalized from each other. Specifically, he argued that in accordance with Sentence 3.2.3.7.(4) of the OBC the south wall of the proposed supermarket, at 1.8 m from the lot line, is required to be built with a fire separation having a two hour resistance rating and must have non-combustible cladding.

The Respondent indicated that he was also concerned about exiting from the covered pedestrian corridor. He noted that a large portion of the subject wall assembly will be immediately adjacent to the exit from west end of the public corridor in the mall. The U-shaped configuration formed by the mall to the south, the recessed exit doors from the corridor and the substantial projection of the Loblaws south exposing wall to the west makes it necessary to travel in close proximity to the disputed wall assembly. In the event of a fire within the Loblaws supermarket, he argued that travelling next to this unrated wall may present a hazardous situation. He felt that this could result in the exit becoming unuseable during an emergency which would obviously present a serious life safety concern.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the new supermarket proposed to be constructed adjoining to an existing retail mall as one enlarged building built on two properties need not comply with Sentences 3.2.3.1.(8), 3.2.3.7.(4) and 3.2.3.13.(3) of the Ontario Building Code at the Loblaws Supermarket, 1100 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario.

It is also the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed construction for the covered pedestrian corridor complies with Sentence 3.3.1.4.(4) of the OBC. However, the concerns dealing with Sentences 3.2.3.12.(1) and (3) must be addressed in the design of the building.

  1. Reasons

i) It is the position of the commission that this complex can be considered as one building.


Dated at Toronto this 11th day in the month of May, in the year 2000, for application number 2000-23.





____________________________

Mr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_______________________

Mr. Donald Pratt





__________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse