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BCC Ruling No. 00-53-785

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. No. 00-53-785

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.3.3.(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. Ed Applebaum, 35 Britain Street, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Edward Link, Chief Building Official, City of Windsor, Ontario, to determine whether the proposed corridor design provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.3.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at the Extendicare Canada Long Term Care Facility, North Talbot Road, Windsor, Ontario.



APPLICANT
Mr. Ed Applebaum, Principal
Montgomery Sisam Associates Inc. Architects
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Edward Link
Chief Building Official
City of Windsor

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

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
November 2, 2000

DATE OF RULING
November 2, 2000

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


RULING

1. The Applicant

Mr. Ed Applebaum, Principal, Montgomery Sisam Associates Inc. Architects, Toronto, Ontario, has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 and has recently constructed a rest home known as the Extendicare Canada Long Term Care Facility located at North Talbot Road, Windsor, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The Applicant has constructed a long term care facility classified as having a Group B, Division 2 Care occupancy. The entire structure is described as two storeys in building height, 4,379 m2 in building area, and is of combustible construction. The facility is divided into 4 smaller buildings (Wings A, B, C and D) by the inclusion of two-hour rated firewalls. These buildings are fully sprinklered and equipped with a point addressable fire alarm system.

The subject care facility consists of a main part, referred to as wing D, and three residential parts, referred to as wings A (east wing), B (south wing), and C (west wing) connected through the central building (wing D). All wings are operated as one single entity. Wings A, B and C contain residential sleeping rooms. Wing D contains ancillary occupancies to serve the needs of the occupants of the entire facility.

The construction in dispute involves the dead-end corridors constructed on the ground floor and second floor of the wings consisting of residential sleeping rooms. The dead-end corridor configuration occurs, therefore, at six separate locations. Each of the six corridor extensions measures 7.4 m in length by 3.2 m in width and serves only a single sleeping room. The travel distance from the egress door of each sleeping room to the point in the corridor where the resident has two directions of travel toward an exit is 4 metres.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed corridor design provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.3.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code.

Article 3.3.3.3. sets out the design criteria for corridors serving care and detention facilities. According to Sentence (1) of this Article, no dead-end portion is allowed in the design of the above mentioned corridors unless there is a second separate exit located within the area served by the dead-end portion. The corridors subject to this dispute serve residents of a Group B, Division 2 - Care occupancy. These corridors are fully sprinklered. In addition, all corridors and resident's rooms are provided with early warning smoke detection. However, no separate exit has been provided in the area (i.e. the sleeping rooms) served by the dead-end portion of subject corridors.

At issue is whether the proposed fire safety measures incorporated into the design of the facility in dispute sufficiently compensate for the Code variance in providing dead-end extensions in the design of the corridors.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 3.3.3.3. Corridors

(1) A corridor used by the public or serving patients or residents shall have no dead-end portion unless the area served by the dead-end portion has a second and separate means of egress.

5. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the dead-end portions of subject corridors do not reduce the life safety of the residents.

The Agent stated that there are patients with dementia in this facility. These patients do not normally get outside the building and, in order to exercise, they walk in the corridors. The glazed windows at the dead-end portions of these corridors allow patients to have a view of the outdoor environment. This is an important consideration for patients who are confined to the buildings interior.

The Agent argued that the subject corridors are fully sprinklered and equipped with early warning smoke detection. In addition, there is no occupancy of the corridors, nor are there any furnishings. As a result, although the design of subject corridors does not literally comply with the OBC requirements, it does not create any hazardous situation to the residents occupying the rooms adjacent to these portions. Therefore, it is the Applicant's position that the design of the subject corridors provides sufficiency of compliance with the intent of the Code by minimizing life safety hazards to the residents.

6. Respondent's Position

The Respondent chose not to attend the hearing. His position was that the Ontario Building Code is clear with respect to its requirements under Article 3.3.3.3 concerning the design of corridors. As, the dead-end portion of the corridors are 7.4 m in length, the Code, therefore, requires that the area served by this portion of the corridor shall have a separate means of egress.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed corridor design provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.3.3.3. of the Ontario Building Code at the Extendicare Canada Long Term Care Facility, North Talbot Road, Windsor, Ontario on the condition that:

  1. An extra smoke detector be provided in close proximity to the end of each corridor with a dead-end extension;

  2. The smoke detectors in the rooms adjacent to dead-end corridors be located within 1.52 m of their egress doors;

  3. The smoke detectors in the dead-end corridors be identified by point indicators in the annunciator box; and

  4. The smoke detectors in the dead-end corridors be identified at the nursing station.

8. Reasons

i. The nurses will carry pagers that can be used to identify problems at dead-end corridors.

ii. The nursing stations are occupied 24 hours.

iii. The conditions imposed above provide an acceptable level of early smoke detection, thereby providing a sufficient degree of life safety to the occupants.

Dated at Toronto this 2nd day in the month of November in the year 2000 for application number 2000-64.





_________________________________________________________________

Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair-Designate





_________________________________________________________________

Mr. Fred Barkhouse





_________________________________________________________________

Mr. Donald Pratt