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BCC Ruling No. 99-22-678

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #99-22-678

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) and Clauses 3.2.7.3.(1)(i) and 3.2.7.3.(1)(j) 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. Tenzin Gyaltsan, 564069 Ontario Inc., 15 King Street West, Village of Newcastle, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Stephen A. Vokes, Director of Public Works, Municipality of Clarington, Ontario to determine whether the proposed location of a fuel fired appliance and the proposed level of illumination of exit signage complies with Sentences 3.6.2.1.(2) and 3.6.2.2.(3) and Clauses 3.2.7.3.(1)(i) and (j) and Sentence 3.2.7.3.(3) respectively of the Ontario Building Code at the subject retail grocery store, 15 King Street West, Village of Newcastle (Clarington), Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Tenzin Gyaltsan
15 King Street West
Village of Newcastle, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Stephen Vokes
Director of Public Works
Municipality of Clarington

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Michael Steele
Mr. Kenneth Peaker

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

April 8, 1999

DATE OF RULING

April 8, 1999

APPEARANCES

Mr. James Doubt
J.E. Doubt and Associates
Cobourg, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Gregg Powless
Building/Plumbing Inspector
Municipality of Clarington
Designate for the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Tenzin Gyaltsan, 564069 Ontario Inc., has applied for a building permit under Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a new retail grocery store at 15 King Street West, Village of Newcastle (Clarington), Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is currently constructing a new, one storey, Group E - mercantile occupancy (retail grocery store), with a building area of 2,420 m2. The building will be equipped with a sprinkler and fire alarm system. The structure is provided with four exits, only two of which are readily accessible by the public.

There are two areas of construction in dispute. The first involves a fuel fired appliance (furnace) and whether it is required to be located in a service room. The Applicant is proposing to install his gas fired furnace suspended from the ceiling of a bulk storage and receiving room at the rear of the supermarket. The furnace would hang directly above a number of large walk-in freezers and meat and bakery preparation areas. The Applicant does not intend to locate the furnace in a separate room that contains only building service equipment. The original approved drawing showed the furnace unit on the roof, directly above its proposed inside location.

The second involves placement and illumination levels of emergency lighting in the subject grocery store. The Applicant is proposing to install emergency lighting in the large north, south, east, and west aisles at the perimeter of the supermarket, but not in the internal, narrower, intermediate aisles between the shelving units. The Applicant originally submitted, and the permit was based on, drawings stamped by an engineer which showed that the intermediate aisles would also be provided with emergency lighting.

  1. Dispute

There are two issues at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent. The first is whether the proposed location of the fuel fired furnace, suspended from the ceiling above walk-in freezers and food preparation facilities in a storage and receiving area of the building, complies with Sentences 3.6.2.1.(2) and 3.6.2.2.(3) of the Ontario Building Code. Sentence 3.6.2.1.(2) requires that in a mercantile occupancy in a building of this size fuel-fired appliances should be located in a service room with a one hour fire-resistance rating. Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) provides an exception to Sentence 3.6.2.1.(2) regarding the requirement for a fire separation provided that the fuel fired appliance does not serve more than one suite, as is the case in the subject grocery store. This exception does not address whether the fuel fired appliance must still be placed in a separate service room.

The second dispute involves the proposed placement of emergency lighting in only the perimeter aisles of the supermarket and the resultant level of illumination provided and whether this complies with Clauses 3.2.7.3.(1)(i) and (j) and Sentence 3.2.7.3.(3) of the OBC. These Clauses require that an average level of emergency lighting not less than 10 1x at floor level shall be provided in principal routes to exits and in internal aisles serving as principal routes to exits. Sentence 3.2.7.3.(3) provides a minimum level of illumination at 1 1x for Sentence (1). If the internal aisles are considered as principal routes to exits then they must be provided with emergency lighting. If they are not considered principal routes then the level of illumination from the large, principal route aisles at the perimeter must be able to provide adequate lighting to be seen from the intermediate aisles.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.6.2.1. Fire Separations Around Service Rooms

(2) Except as permitted by Article 3.6.2.2., a fuel-fired appliance in a building not containing a Group B or Group F, Division 1 occupancy shall be located in a service room which shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than 1 h if the building is more than 2 storeys in building height or more than 400 m2 (4,310 ft2) in building area.

Sentence 3.6.2.2. Waiver of Fire Separations

(3) Except for buildings classified as Group B or Group F, Division 1 occupancies, the fire separations required by Sentence 3.6.2.1.(2) need not be provided for fuel-fired appliances that serve not more than one room or suite, provided the appliances are not solid fuel-fired appliances referred to in Sentence 3.6.2.1.(3).

Clauses 3.2.7.3. Emergency Lighting

(1) Emergency lighting shall be provided to an average level of illumination not less than 10 1x (0.9.ft-candles) at floor or tread level in

(i) principal routes providing access to exit in a floor area that is not subdivided into rooms or suites of rooms served by corridors in a business and personal services occupancy, a mercantile occupancy or an industrial occupancy, and

(j) internal corridors or aisles serving as principal routes to exits in a business and personal services occupancy, a mercantile occupancy or an industrial occupancy that is subdivided into rooms or suites of rooms, and is not served by a public corridor.

Sentence 3.2.7.3. Emergency Lighting

(3) The minimum value of the illumination required by Sentences (1) and (2) shall be not less than 1 1x (0.09 ft-candles).

  1. Applicant's Position

Regarding the first dispute, the Applicant submitted that the proposed location of the furnace complies with Sentences 3.6.2.1.(2) and 3.6.2.2.(3) of the OBC. In his view, the exception concerning the provision of the fire separation found in Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) is applicable. As he argued, the subject furnace would serve the entire building, but which contains only one suite. As a result, the one hour fire separation can be waived. As he further argued, if the fire separation is waived there is far less rationale for locating the furnace in a service room solely designated for building services equipment. The project engineer for the subject supermarket submitted that in this experience this is the first time they have been required to treat a furnace in this manner.

Concerning emergency lighting, the Applicant argued that both Clauses 3.2.7.3.(1)(i) and (j) apply only to the principal routes leading to exits. He indicated that the only aisles that should be considered as principal routes to exits in the supermarket are the large perimeter aisles. The internal, intermediate aisles are not principal routes. He insisted that they should be considered only as floor area that accesses the principal routes. As a result, he concluded that emergency lighting should only be provided in the perimeter aisles that serve as principal routes. Lastly, the Applicant indicated that the lighting levels of the principal routes would be sufficient to be visible form the floor area in the intermediate aisles, thereby satisfying Sentence 3.2.7.3.(3)

  1. Respondent's Position

On the first issue pertaining to the location of the fuel fired furnace, the Respondent submitted that while they recognized the applicability of Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) that would permit the Applicant to waive the separation requirements, they indicated that, in their view, this same exception does not specifically provide for the placement of furnaces outside of service rooms. In other words, the exception found in Sentence 3.6.2.2.(2) only deals with the fire separation requirements of Sentence 3.6.2.1.(2) and does not affect the requirement of that provision for fuel fired appliances to be located in service rooms. They indicated that the proposed locating of the furnace suspended from the ceiling in storage and receiving area constitutes installation in a service space, not a service room. By placing the furnace unit in a room, even without a fire separation, offers a degree of protection that installation in an open area does not. For this reason, the Respondent felt that the proposed furnace location did not comply with Code.

Regarding the second dispute, the Respondent noted that were willing to accept the engineer stamped drawings that were originally submitted as the emergency lighting plan. They indicated that they had not received an up to date proposal by the Applicant. Nevertheless, the Respondent opposed the idea that emergency lighting is required only in the perimeter aisles which serve as principal routes to exits. They argued that emergency lighting should be provided in the intermediate aisles in accordance with Clause 3.2.7.3.(1)(j) since they form part of the principal routes to exit as well. Finally, they asserted that without emergency lighting in the intermediate aisles it would be difficult to meet the minimum lighting levels set out in Sentence 3.2.7.3.(3) in certain parts of the floor area.

Finally, the Respondent indicated that they formed their opinions on these issues in consultation with the Housing Development and Buildings Branch and Lumacell Incorporated.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the fuel fired appliance and the proposed level of illumination provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) and Clauses 3.2.7.3.(1)(i) and 3.2.7.3.(1)(j) of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i) The provisions of Sentence 3.6.2.2.(3) exempt Group E occupancies from the fire separation requirements of service rooms where the appliance does not serve more than one suit of rooms. The retail grocery store is considered only one suite as defined under Article 1.1.3.2. of the Building Code.

ii) The emergency lighting as proposed provides illumination of the principal routes in access to exits, and the aisles serving the shelves are not considered principal access routes.

iii) Design drawings confirming illumination levels will be submitted.

Dated at Toronto this 8th day in the month of April in the year 1999 for application number 1999-09

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Michael Steele

Mr. Kenneth Peaker