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BCC Ruling No. 00-41-773

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. No. 00-41-773

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.9.1. 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. Paul Brophy, Engineering Manager, Orlick Industries Ltd. Hamilton, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Henry Dekker, Chief Building Official, City of Stoney Creek, Ontario, to determine whether the specified compensating measures, offered in lieu of a standpipe and hose system, provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Ontario Building Code at the as-built Orlick Industries Ltd. aluminium smelting plant at 20 Teal Avenue, Stoney Creek, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. Paul Brophy, Engineering Manager
Orlick Industries Ltd.
Hamilton, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Henry Dekker
Chief Building Official
City of Stoney Creek

PANEL
Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair
Mr. Fred Barkhouse
Mr. John Guthrie

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
August 24th, 2000

DATE OF RULING
March 22nd, 2001

APPEARANCES
Mr. Paul Brophy,
Engineering Manager
Orlick Industries Ltd.
Hamilton, Ontario
The Applicant

David Johnson
Randall Brown & Associates
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant


Mr. Collin Potter
Plans Examiner/Building Inspector
City of Stoney Creek
Designate for the Respondent

RULING



1. The Applicant

Mr. Paul Brophy, Engineering Manager, Orlick Industries Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario, received an Order to Comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 requiring that a standpipe and hose system be installed in the Orlick Industries Ltd. building located at 20 Teal Avenue, Stoney Creek, Ontario.


2. Description of Construction

In 1998, the Applicant purchased the existing building at 20 Teal Avenue for the purpose of operating an aluminium smelting plant, considered to be a Group F, Division 3 industrial occupancy. Since 1999, two additions have been constructed. The first was an addition of 440 m2 at the northeast portion of the facility. It houses a gas-fired furnace used to re-melt poor quality aluminum products, for recycling into holding ovens within the diecasting area. The second addition, located at the north face of the building, contains mechanical and electrical rooms as well as holding rooms for equalization and bio-reactor tanks. This second addition has an area of approximately 370 m2. During this same period, the existing standpipe system was removed from the original building without the benefit of a demolition permit. As a result of the two additions to the original building, the total area of the plant is now 12, 775 m2.

The entire facility consists of a one storey manufacturing area with a two storey office portion. The building is of noncombustible construction and will be equipped with 60 ABC and BC type fire extinguishers. Currently, the facility is neither sprinklered nor equipped with a fire alarm system. It is, however, proposed that a fire detection/alarm system will be installed throughout the building. The plant will ultimately contain eight electrical induction furnaces and one gas-fired furnace. The hydraulic fluid used in this operation is a nonflammable liquid.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the compensating measures offered in lieu of a standpipe and hose system, provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Ontario Building Code. Specifically, Article 3.2.9.1. requires that a one storey building with an area in excess of 3000 m2 in area, and containing a Group F, Division 3 occupancy, be provided with standpipe and hose system, if the building is not sprinklered.

The building in question is not sprinklered and is well in excess of 3000 m2 in area. In addition, the original portion of the building, when purchased by the Applicant, did contain the required standpipe and hose system, but this has since been removed.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 3.2.9. Standpipe Systems

3.2.9.1. Where Required


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

  • is more than 3 storeys in building height,
  • is more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey, or
  • 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.

Table 3.2.9.1.

Building Limits without Standpipe Systems

Forming Part of Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1)

Occupancy Classification

Building Area, m2 (ft2)

1 Storey

2 Storeys

3 Storeys

A
C
D
F, Division 2
F, Division 3

2 500 (24,200)
2 000 (21,500)
4 000 (43,100)
2 000 (21,500)
3 000 (32,300)

2 000 (21,500)
1 500 (16,100)
3 000 (32,300)
1 500 (16,100)
2 000 (21,500)

1 500 (16,100)
1 000 (10,800)
2 000 (21,500)
1 000 (10,800)
1 000 (10,800)

Column 1

2

3

4



5. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that he wanted to avoid a "dry system" because of the nature of the manufacturing undertaken in this plant. He is concerned with the possible fatal reaction of molten aluminum material with water from any source, including a standpipe system. The combination of molten aluminum and water would create a steam explosion, resulting in considerable damage and potential loss of life. The Applicant stated that the handling of molten aluminum is not formally addressed in the Building Code and, while a standpipe system would be appropriate in normal circumstances, it should not be required in this aluminium smelting facility.

As compensation for the omission of a standpipe and hose system the Applicant lists, among others, the following factors:

  • The entire complex is of noncombustible construction and the building contains minimal fuel load.
  • The property can be considered to face two streets thereby permitting the Fire Department with full access to the building.
  • There are two municipal fire hydrants in close proximity to the exterior of the building.
  • A fire detection/alarm system is proposed to be installed throughout the building.
  • Increased fire protection from small fires will be provided by the installation of twice the required number of fire extinguishers.
  • The Fire Safety Plan will address extinguisher and fire safety training for staff, in addition, the Company would conduct regular pre-fire planning sessions with the Fire Department.


The Applicant urged the panel to consider the benefit of fire hydrants made accessible to knowledgeable fire fighters versus the potential hazard of standpipe and hose systems used by employees as a first action measure against a fire.


6. Respondent's Position


The Respondent submitted that there were presently no safety measures in place at this plant. He advised the Commission that he had no authority to waive the standpipe and hose requirement as dictated by the Building Code and would, therefore, defer to the Commission in this regard.


The Respondent did request that a fire alarm system be a condition of any approval, if a favourable ruling was to be granted.


7. Commission Ruling


It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the Orlick Industries Ltd. plant at 20 Teal Avenue in the City of Stoney Creek provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.9.1. of the Building Code provided that


a) An approved Fire Safety Plan be provided.


b) A single stage fire detection and alarm system, designed in accordance with Section 3.2.4., be installed throughout the entire facility.


8. Reasons


i. The use of the building as an aluminium smelting plant, combined with the potential for the introduction of water through a standpipe and hose system would create a hazardous situation, unnecessarily endangering the lives of the occupants.

ii. A Fire Safety Plan will be provided that will indicate to the municipal Fire Department that the subject plant is not equipped with a standpipe and hose system and will outline the training for employees in the use of fire extinguishers.

iii. The fire alarm system will provide early warning of emergency situations.






Dated at Toronto this 24th, day in the month of August in the year 2000 for application number 2000-33.



_________________________________________________________________

Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair





_________________________________________________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse





_________________________________________________________________

Mr. John Guthrie