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BCC Ruling No. 00-48-780

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-48-780

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.1.2.1. 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. John Cardillo, CEO, Premier Fitness Club, Oakville, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Frank Asta, Chief Building Official, Town of Oakville, Ontario, to determine whether, due to the consideration of the building as an existing structure and proposed construction of two additions, the classification of the entire structure as per Article 3.1.2.1. of the Ontario Building Code is changed from a Group A, Division 2 to a Group D occupancy at the Premier Fitness Club, 474 Iroquois Shore Road, Oakville, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. John Cardillo, CEO
Premier Fitness Club
Oakville, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Frank Asta
Chief Building Official
Town of Oakville

PANEL
Mr. Len King, Vice-Chair
Mr. Fred Barkhouse
Mr. John Guthrie

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
September 7th, 2000

DATE OF RULING
September 7th, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Demir Delen
Morrison Hershfield Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant


Mr. Frank Asta
Chief Building Official
Town of Oakville
The Respondent

RULING

1. The Applicant

Mr. John Cardillo, CEO, Premier Fitness Club, Oakville, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate and extend an existing private health and fitness club known as the Premier Fitness Club, 474 Iroquois Shore Road, Oakville, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The The Applicant is proposing to extend and renovate an existing building which serves as a private health and fitness club in order to expand its fitness activities and add a new indoor swimming pool. The existing building is described as having a Group D - Business and Personal Services occupancy by the Applicant and a Group A, Division 2 - Assembly occupancy by the Respondent. The existing building is two storeys in building height, 2184 m2 in building area, of noncombustible construction, and is equipped with a fire alarm system.

The subject building was constructed in 1977. The current proposal, as submitted for building permit, includes renovation of the existing building and construction of two new additions. The additions will be at the south (rear) and west sides of the first floor. The rear addition will cover an area of 253 m2, whereas the side addition will have an area of 304 m2. With these additions, the building area of the entire building will be increased to 2741 m2. Both additions are one storey in building height.

?The construction in dispute involves the classification of the entire building.

The performance level of the exiting building is proposed to be maintained by the Applicant by limiting the increase in occupant load of the entire building to less than 15 percent of the current load and by retaining the current major occupancy. As a result, he is intending that only the proposed additions are subject to requirements of Part 3, and thereby only they should be sprinklered.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether, due to the consideration of the building as an existing structure and the proposed construction of two additions, the classification of the entire structure as per Article 3.1.2.1. of the Ontario Building Code is changed from a Group A, Division 2 to a Group D occupancy.

Article 3.1.2.1. requires, with a few exceptions which are not applicable here, that every building be classified according to its major occupancy or occupancies (Sentences (1) and (2) respectively) as set out in Table 3.1.2.1. This Article also refers to Appendix A of the OBC where various examples of building uses and their classifications can be found. In the Appendix, gymnasia are listed under the category of A2, not Group D occupancies. Appendix 3.1.2.1. does not refer to anything that may be construed as a gym, health club or fitness facility. Under Part 11 for existing buildings, however, specifically the Hazard Index Table 11.2.1.1.J., "Health/Fitness Clubs" are listed as Group D occupancies. (Part 11 is applicable since the existing structure is older than five years.)

The Applicant is not proposing to change the major occupancy of the building. Instead, he insists that it is already changed, or that the building, by virtue of being an existing structure, can be considered as a Group D occupancy.

At issue therefore is whether the classification of the building, because it is now considered existing, has changed from an A2 occupancy to a D and whether the proposed additions, one of which includes a pool, also have an impact on the major occupancy/ies.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 3.1.2.1. Classification of Buildings

  1. Except as permitted by Articles 3.1.2.3. to 3.1.2.6., every building or part thereof shall be classified according to its major occupancy as belonging to one of the Groups or Divisions described in Table 3.1.2.1. (See Appendix A).

  1. A building intended for use by more than one major occupancy shall be classified according to all major occupancies for which it is used or intended to be used.

5. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the major occupancy of the building, after renovation and extension, will remain the same, that is to say a D occupancy. In addition, the occupant load of the completed building will not be increased by more than 15 percent. As a result, a D occupancy should be applied to the entire building.

By way of explanation, the Agent argued that the building in dispute is existing and subject to the requirements of Part 11. Under Part 11, a fitness club is classified as a Group D occupancy in Table 11.2.1.1.A. As no change of occupancy is proposed, this classification also applies to the new addition at the rear of the building which is to be used as a work out area.

The Agent continued that despite the fact an indoor swimming pool is listed as an example of Group A, Division 3 - Assembly occupancy in the Appendix A to the OBC, the proposed swimming pool will only occupy 304 m2 of the entire 2741 m2 building, so it can be considered as an integral part of the principal occupancy and thus subsidiary to it as per Article 1.1.3.1.

The Agent then argued that the classification of a fitness club as an A2 or D occupancy does not make much difference in new buildings as the construction requirements are almost the same for both of these occupancies under Part 3. However, under Part 11 these requirements are different and impose higher standards on assembly than Group D occupancies. The reason for this is that under Part 11, unlike Group D buildings such as a fitness club, A2 buildings are often regularly frequented and are more likely to have areas with dimmer lighting such as restaurants and movie theatres.

The Agent concluded that based on the entire building remaining as a Group D occupancy and that the performance level of the existing building will be maintained, the following measures are proposed: Sprinklering the rear addition of the building; Sprinklering the swimming pool area; and, separating the indoor pool area from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a 2 hour fire resistence rating including doors with a 1.5 hour rating.

6. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the major occupancy of the existing building has always been and remains A2. Moreover, he stated that the performance level of the structure is reduced because the proposed addition along the west side of the building eliminates the designated fire access route created by municipal zoning by-law. A performance level reduction of this nature, he added, does not have a specific remedy in terms of compensating construction in Part 11. As a result, he argued that the entire building should be viewed as falling under Part 3 and thus the sprinkler system required in the additions should be extended throughout the whole facility.

The Respondent rejected the Agent's arguments that simply because a building is now older than five years and is considered existing means that its occupancy has changed. He stated that a building is classified for occupancy when constructed and a change of use is required to amend that occupancy. He argued that Part 11 cannot be used as a vehicle to change occupancy.

Municipal Fire Department officials that attended the hearing also reiterated the view that the performance level would be reduced since the proposed side addition would cut off fire fighting access on the building's western exposure. They also noted that the existing fire hydrants in the vicinity are located on the far side of the adjacent public street.

The Respondent concluded by stating that the elimination of the fire route reduces the performance level of the subject building. For this reason, the entire building must comply with the requirements of Part 3 rather than Part 11, meaning therefore that the existing building is required to be sprinklered as well as the additions.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that both the existing fitness club and proposed additions thereto constitute an A2 occupancy in accordance with Article 3.1.2.1 of the Ontario Building Code at the Premier Fitness Club, 474 Iroquois Shore Road, Oakville, Ontario.

8. Reasons

  1. Considering its use is similar to a gymnasium, the existing building was originally and properly classified as an A2 occupancy.
  2. The definition of an A2 occupancy is determined on the basis of the list of uses included in Appendix "A", which includes gymnasia.
  3. The swimming pool is considered as an ancillary use and does not affect the major occupancy.

Dated at Toronto this 7th, day in the month of September in the year 2000 for application number 2000-51.

_______________________________________________

Mr. Len King, Vice-Chair

_______________________________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse

_______________________________________________

Mr. John Guthrie