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BCC Ruling No. 99-13-669

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #99-13-669

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98 and 122/98 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Ms. Denise Orlando, Corporate Real

Estate Manager, Data General Corporation, 4400 Computer Drive, Westboro, MA, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Agris Robeznieks, Chief Building Official, City of Mississauga, Ontario to determine whether the proposed single exit public corridor serving two suites, each having access to a second exit, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of the Ontario Building Code at the Data General Corporation, DuPont Building, 7070 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Ms. Denise Orlando
Corporate Real Estate Manager
Data General Corporation
Westboro, MA

RESPONDENT

Mr. Agris Robeznieks
Chief Building Official
City of Mississauga

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Kenneth Peaker
Mr. Robert De Berardis

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

February 24th, 1999

DATE OF RULING

February 24th, 1999

APPEARANCES

Leszek Muniak, Principal
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Frank Spagnolo, Manager
Plans Exam. & Inspection
City of Mississauga
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Ms. Denise Orlando, Corporate Real Estate Manager, Data General Corporation has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate a portion of their leased space within an existing low-rise office complex, known as the DuPont Building, 7070 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to renovate their existing tenant space on the third floor of a Group D - Business occupancy in order to create a self-contained suite that can be sublet to another tenant. The Data General Corporation currently leases a total of approximately 2 434 m2 (25 836 ft2) in the subject building. The sublet area (intended for a Apak Systems Ltd.) is to 518 m2 (5 575 ft2). Data General's remaining area would be approximately 1 916 m2(20621 ft2).

The building itself is described as three storeys in building height, and has a building area of approximately 5 000 m2 (53 800 ft2). The building is of noncombustible construction. It is equipped with a smoke control, standpipe and hose, fire alarm and sprinkler systems. The fire alarm and sprinkler systems are electronically supervised, with the former having a signal that transmits to the fire department.

There are five separate atria in the building that extend the full height of the building. Due to these atria, the entire third floor area is considered interconnected floor space. Both the Data General and Apak Systems offices will be arranged with walled offices at the perimeter of the floor area, while open plan office areas will occupy the middle portions of their respective suites. The open plan office areas in both suites face two separate atria that connect to floor areas below.

The construction in dispute involves the creation of a public corridor on the south-east portion of the floor where the two suites are adjacent to each other. The proposed corridor is to be located beside an existing exit stair. Both the Data General and Apak Systems offices are to have an egress door leading to this corridor. Both egress doors will be unlocked during business hours. The subject public corridor is served by two elevators, which are located beyond the suite's egress doors in the direction exit travel. The corridor, as designed, provides only one exit stairway.

Each suite has access to other exit stairs on the floor area, and the Data General office has its own exit stair at the west end of its offices. However, the second egress route to be provided for the Apak Systems office is also in dispute. This proposed exit leads from the north of the Apak Systems suite into a circular public corridor that follows the perimeter of the rotundaatrium. While this public corridor does have access to two exit stairs, both exits are in the same direction away from Apak Systems north egress door. Three separate suites have access to the rotunda corridor.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed design of the sublet space, especially the public corridor serving two suites, that provides only one exit, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision requires that an egress doorway that opens into a public corridor must have two separate exits in opposite directions from the egress doorway. In the proposed design one public corridor is served by only one exit stair, and the other has both exits in the same direction, therefore both are considered dead end corridors.

Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) Means of Egress

(9) Except as permitted by this Section and by Sentence 3.4.2.1.(2), at the point where a doorway referred to in Sentence (8) opens onto a public corridor or exterior passageway, it shall be possible to go in opposite directions to each of 2 separate exits.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed layout of the subject sublet space, including the single exit public corridor served by two suites, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of the OBC. He argued that the intent of this provision is to ensure that all suites on a multi-tenanted floor area are provided with two exits each, and in his view both suites meet this requirement.

The Applicant noted that Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) contains certain exceptions. In particular, he pointed out that where it refers to "this Section" means all of Section 3.3, "Safety Within Floor Areas", of the OBC. He interpreted this to mean that all options within Section 3.3 which provide access to two separate exits serving each suite in a floor area, and therefore consistent with the intent of 3.3.1.3.(9), can stand as exceptions to that Sentence.

The Applicant asserted that Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) offers protection to those suites on a multi-tenanted floor area that have a single egress door by allowing a choice of exit routes in their only accessible public corridor. Moreover, he added that this provision also protects larger suites that are required to have more than one egress doorway and which may open on the same public corridor. The same principle is evident in Sentence 3.3.1.9.(11), he noted, as it protects suites in buildings with a single public corridor by reducing the potential of creatinglong dead end corridors.

Building on this premise, the Applicant then argued that both suites have access to more than two exits. The Data General and the Apak Systems offices have access to three and two possible exit stairs respectively, not including the proposed single exit public corridor. This number of exits would more than adequately serve the occupant load of the two suites, which he described as approximately 40 for Data General and 20 for Apak Systems. Further, he noted that the travel distances from any area in both suites to an egress door and the travel distance between the egress doors and exit doors are all less than 40 m (131 ft 3 in), thereby complying with the Code. The Applicant also indicated that not only would the safety of the suites be enhanced by the number of exit options, but the fact that these exit routes would lead to different corridors, not just a single public corridor with two exits, would provide a higher degree of occupant safety as well.

In this way, with both suites having access to at least two separate exits, the Applicant concluded by stating the proposed sublet design, including the single exit public corridor, by utilizing the exceptions allowed in Section 3.3, meets the intent of Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9).

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the subject public corridors are both considered dead end corridors due to the fact that the south-east exit is served by only one exit stair and the rotunda exit has both exit stairs in the same direction. This would result, they argued, in the Apak Systems office being served by two public corridors, both of which are considered dead end. In their view, Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) allows a suite that is required to be served more than one egress to have one of those egress routes through a dead end corridor, but not both. As a result, they held that design of the subject public corridors contravened Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of the OBC.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed single exit public corridor serving two suites, each having an access to a second exit does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.3.(9) of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Reasons

No compensative features were proposed to the Commission to consider sufficiency of compliance.

Dated at Toronto this 24th day in the month of February in the year 1999 for application number 1999-02

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Kenneth Peaker

Mr. Robert De Berardis