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BCC Ruling No. 99-19-675

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 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 Mr. David McConnell, Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., 953A Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ed Whitmore, Chief Building Official, Village of Bobcaygeon, Ontario to determine whether the structure, with a proposed total building area of 1,508 m2, that is not equipped with a sprinkler system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code at the Valu-Mart, Highway No. 36 and Boyd Street, Bobcaygeon, Ontario.


Mr. David McConnell
Turner Fleischer Architects Inc.
953A Eglinton Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario


Mr. Ed Whitmore
Chief Building Official
Village of Bobcaygeon


Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Robert De Berardis
Mr. James Lischkoff


Toronto, Ontario


March 24, 1999


March 24, 1999


Mr. Randy Brown
Randall Brown and Assoc. Ltd.
Willowdale, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Ed Whitmore
Chief Building Official
Village of Bobcaygeon
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. David McConnell, Architect, Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an addition onto an existing Valu-Mart retail food store at Highway No. 36 and Boyd Street, Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to renovate his existing 860 m2 (9,257 ft2), single storey, Group E - Retail occupancy by constructing a 648 m2 (6,977 ft2) addition on the facility's northern facade, for a total building area of 1,508 m2 (16,234 ft2). The building is of noncombustible construction and the proposed addition will be separated from the existing structure by a four hour firewall. The facility will be equipped with a fire alarm system but not a sprinkler system. The structure is considered to face one street.

The construction in dispute relates to the size of the expanded building and the requirement for the provision of a sprinkler system.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed retail facility, with a building area of 1,508 m2 (16,234 ft2), that is not equipped with a sprinkler system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code. This provision permits a single storey building that faces one street to be unsprinklered as long as the structure has a maximum building area of 1,500 m2 (16,100 ft2). The subject building, including addition, exceeds this limit by 8 m2 (134 ft2) and is not proposed to be equipped with a sprinkler system.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article Group E, up to 3 Storeys

(1) A building classified as Group E is permitted to conform to Sentence (2) provided

(a) it is not more than 3 storeys in building height, and

(b) it has a building area not more than the value in Table

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed structure, including addition, that exceeds the maximum allowed building area for a building of this nature, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the OBC. He based this argument on the following reasons:

The area of the building in excess of the maximum allowed, at 8 m2, he noted, is less than one per cent of the building area of the entire structure. Further, if one were to calculate the inside wall-to-wall area, the actual building area is reduced to 1,454 m2 (15,653 m2), which reduces the total area to within the maximum permitted. The Applicant also indicated that only 76 per cent, or 1,139 m2 (12,263 ft2), of the store is open to the public. The backroom space, consisting of food storage and packaging areas, the receiving facility and staff washrooms, is restricted to employees only.

The Applicant also argued that the exit facilities provided in the subject building are well placed on the north, east and west sides of the structure. These exit doors lead directly to the exterior, all at grade level.

In terms of compensating measures, the Applicant noted that Article permits a building of this size and occupancy to be constructed of combustible construction. This building, while only slightly larger than the maximum building area permitted, is of entirely noncombustible construction. As well, smoke detectors connected to the building's fire alarm system will be provided, thus providing early warning in the event of a fire. This detection exceeds the requirements in the OBC for a building of this type, the Applicant stated.

For these reasons, the Applicant concluded that the proposed expanded building meets or exceeds the level of life safety required under Article for the subject building and thereby provides sufficiency of compliance.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed unsprinklered building, with a building area of 1,508 m2, does not comply with Article While the Respondent recognized that the amount of excess area was minimal, he indicated that the Code requirements clearly stipulate a maximum of 1,500 m2 for such a building. He also argued that OBC Article does not allow him to waive this requirement when the building is noncombustible construction.

In the Respondent's view, since the subject building is only at the plans review stage, scaling the addition down by 8 m2 is still quite feasible. This would allow the project to meet the minimum standards as found under Article, he noted.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the building area of 1,508 m2 not equipped with the sprinkler system provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code provided that

i) The Valu-mart store is equipped with heat detection throughout and connected to the fire alarm system,


ii) the fire alarm system is connected to a central monitoring station.

  1. Reasons

i) The building is single storey (plus mezzanine) and separated from the remainder of the plaza complex by a 4 hour firewall which is understood to be in compliance with the code and is significantly less than the total area permitted under Article of the Building Code.

ii) The building faces two streets for fire department access.

iii) Additional detection and connection to a central monitoring station is provided to allow early warning and fire department response.

iv) The building area is marginally exceeded by 8 m2.

Dated at Toronto this 24th day in the month of March in the year 1999 for application number 1999-11

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Robert De Berardis

Mr. James Lischkoff