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BCC Ruling No. 00-49-781

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-49-781

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.6.3.3.(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. D.J. Thomas Dutton, Vice President, The Daniels Corporation, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Agris Robeznieks, Chief Building Official, City of Mississauga, Ontario, to determine whether the linen chute, which is proposed to extend from the basement to the second floor only and not up and through the roof, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3) of the Ontario Building Code at the Renaissance in Erin Mills, 4620 and 4680 Kimbermount Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Mr. D.J. Thomas Dutton, Vice President
The Daniels Corporation
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Agris Robeznieks
Chief Building Official
City of Mississauga

PANEL
Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair
Mr. Len King
Mr. Fred Barkhouse

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
September 21st, 2000

DATE OF RULING
September 21st, 2000

APPEARANCES
Mr. Allan E. Larden, Principal
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant


Mr. Frank Spagnolo,
Manager, Building Engineering and Inspections
City of Mississauga
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

1. The Applicant

Mr. D.J. Thomas Dutton, Vice President, The Daniels Corporation, Toronto, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a retirement community centre known as the "Kimbermount Village" at the Renaissance in Erin Mills, 4620 and 4680 Kimbermount Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The The Applicant is proposing to construct a new retirement complex known as "Kimbermount Village". The building complex is to consist of two towers referred to as building A and Building B, which are to be connected at the ground floor level. The ground floor of the complex will contain dining facilities and other amenities and will be classified as Group A, Division 2 - Assembly occupancy. Building A is intended as a retirement home tower and is to be seven storeys in building height and will accommodate a Group B, Division 3 - Care Occupancy on its second floor. The remaining floors (three to seven) of this building will contain a Group C - Residential occupancy. The B3 floor is to have 24 hour supervision.

Building B is intended as a condominium apartment tower and is to be eight storeys in building height and is classified as a residential occupancy from its second to eighth floors. The entire building will also have one level of underground parking. The complex is to have a building area of approximately 2636 m2, will be of noncombustible construction, and will be equipped with a sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, and a standpipe and hose system.

The construction in dispute involves the installation of a linen chute.

The subject linen chute is proposed to be located in the central portion of Building A. It will extend from the basement level to the second floor level only, where the chute will be housed within a dedicated room. The walls of the anteroom have a fire resistance rating of 45 minutes and the door to the room is also fire rated and is to be equipped with a closer as well as weatherstripped. The chute itself, measured at 600 mm in diameter, will have a two hour rating and is to be installed with a self-closing, two hour door equipped with a latching device. The chute will also be sprinklered with quick response heads.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the linen chute, which is proposed to extend from the basement to the second floor only and not up and through the roof, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision requires a linen chute installed within a building to extend at least one metre above the building's roof and to be appropriately vented above the roof.

As noted, the linen chute will only extend between the basement and second floor and will not be vented. The Applicant has, however, proposed certain compensating measures. At issue, therefore, is whether these proposed measures, offered in lieu of the linen chute extending through the roof of the subject building, provide adequate compensation to achieve sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3).

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 3.6.3.3. Linen and Refuse Chutes

(3) An interior linen chute or refuse chute shall extend not less than 1 000 mm (3 ft 3 in) above the roof and shall be vented above the roof with a vent which

  1. has an unobstructed area not less than the cross-sectional area of the chute, and
  2. is equipped with a cover that will open automatically, or that can be opened manually, in the event of a fire in the chute.

5. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant acknowledged that the proposed chute design represented a "literal transgression" of the Code, but he submitted that the proposed fire safety measures for the entire building will provide sufficiency of compliance with the intent of the OBC for the purpose of Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3). In support of his submission the Agent offered the following compensating factors:

  1. The shaft containing the linen chute will be provided with a 2 h rating while 1 h rating is required by the OBC (Sentence 3.6.3.3.(2));

  1. The chute will have a self-latching closure with a 2 h rating;

  1. The entire building will be protected by an electrically supervised sprinkler system with a connection to the fire department;

  1. Quick response sprinklers will be installed within the chute and in the basement;

  1. The linen chute anteroom on the second floor will be provided with a smoke detector;

  1. The door between the second floor corridor and the linen chute anteroom will be weatherstripped on the top and sides with a high quality weatherstripping material and the bottom of the door will be provided with a sweep; and,

  1. Both the elevator shaft and exit stair shafts will be pressurized to prevent smoke infiltration.

The Agent noted that the requirement for a linen chute to extend above a building's roof was developed in a time when most of buildings were not sprinklered and thus there was greater chance of a fire propagating than would be the case in a sprinklered building, such as the one in dispute. He indicated that Code requirements for linen and refuse chutes, especially to extend through the roof, have not evolved much over the years despite the many advances in the fire safety of buildings.

The Agent also argued that the requirement for linen chutes to extend to the roof of buildings and to be equipped with automatically opening vents would seem to make more sense in a building with multi-storey access to a chute. In this way, he argued, such venting could help prevent smoke from a fire originating in the chute from migrating to many levels of a building. In the subject building, however, with only one floor level with access to the chute, it seems that the requirement to vent to the roof is onerous, especially considering the proposed compensating measures such as additional sprinklering that exceeds Code requirements.

With respect to the Commission's concern over the potential occurrence of linen blockage within the chute, the Agent offered to widen the size of the chute from 600 mm (24 in) in diameter to 750 mm (30 in) part way down during descent.

In conclusion, the Agent indicated that the proposals discussed above provide sufficiency of compliance with the intended level of fire and life safety required under Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3).

6. Respondent's Position

The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the proposed linen chute does not comply with Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3) of the OBC.

The Designate argued that the OBC requirement for a chute to extend above a building's roof is a prescriptive requirement that must be met. The OBC clearly states that a linen chute must extend not less than 1 m above the roof and be vented with a vent equipped with a cover that can be opened automatically or manually in the event of a fire.

In addition, the Designate stated that he was concerned about the fact that the linen chute will terminate on the second floor, the level that contains the B3 occupancy. This is the area where the most vulnerable residents of the building are located and should the smoke from the chute penetrate to this floor a hazardous situation could be created, he argued.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the linen chute, which is proposed to extend from the basement to the second floor only and not up and through the roof, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.6.3.3.(3) of the Ontario Building Code at the Renaissance in Erin Mills, 4620 and 4680 Kimbermount Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario.

8. Reasons

The overall level of safety in the building has been improved through the following factors:

  1. The proposed linen chute will only connect two floors and that there will be only one opening on a floor area ( the second floor) in which people live;

  1. The sprinklers provided inside the chute will be more than required by Code;

  1. The chute, including door, will have a two hour fire rating instead of one hour;

  1. The laundry chute door will be self-closing and equipped with a latching device;

  1. The chute will be increased in diameter from 600 mm (24 in) to 750 mm (30 in) part way through its descent to avoid blockage;

  1. The anteroom will be provided with a smoke detector and a door with a closer; and,

  1. The elevator shafts and corridors will be pressurized.

Dated at Toronto this 21st, day in the month of September in the year 2000 for application number 2000-55.

_______________________________________________

Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair

_______________________________________________

Mr. Len King

_______________________________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse