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BCC Ruling No. 99-28-684

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #99-28-684

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 7.2.5.1. 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. Matthew Maciejowski, Senior Project Manager, Cairn Construction Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Gerry Bilous, Chief Building Official, City of Oshawa, Ontario, to determine whether the fabricated asbestos cement pipe fittings comply with Article 7.2.5.1. of the Ontario Building Code at the Canadian Tire outlet, at 441 Gibb Street, Oshawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Matthew Maciejowski, Senior Project Manager
Cairn Construction Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Gerry Bilous
Chief Building Official
City of Oshawa

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

April 29, 1999

DATE OF RULING

April 29, 1999

APPEARANCES

Mr. Louis Beauregard, President
Logard Inc.
St-Augustin, Quebec
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Kirk Carter
Plumbing Inspector
City of Oshawa
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Matthew Maciejowski, Senior Project Manager, has received an order under the Building Code Act, 1992 to comply with Article 7.2.5.1. of the Ontario Building Code at the Canadian Tire outlet, 441 Gibb Street, Oshawa, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is currently constructing a one storey, Group E - mercantile (retail) occupancy, with a building area of 8,064 m2. The structure is constructed of noncombustible construction and is to be equipped with a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system.

The construction in dispute involves certain aspects of the plumbing system and the internal rain water leaders, specifically the asbestos-cement pipe fittings manufactured by Logard Inc.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the subject asbestos-cement pipe fittings, as installed, in the Canadian Tire store comply with Article 7.2.5.1. of the Ontario Building Code. This provision indicates that all asbestos-cement pipe fittings used in a building above ground shall conform to one of two standards, one of which is the CSA standard B127.1, "Components for Use in Asbestos-Cement Drain, Waste and Vent Systems". While the subject fittings have been used, and continue to be used, extensively for construction in Ontario, they are currently not approved by CSA in terms of conformance with their B127.1 standard, specifically the bending test portion of that standard. The product is currently being evaluated by CSA, however, the CSA standard itself is in the process of being amended.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 7.2.5.1. Asbestos-Cement Drainage Pipe and Fittings

(1) Except as provided in Sentence (2), asbestos-cement pipe and its fittings for use in a drain, waste or vent system shall conform to

(a) CAN/CGSB-34.22, "Pipe, Asbestos-Cement, Drain", or
(b) CSA B127.1, "Components for Use in Asbestos Cement Drain, Waste and Vent Systems".

(2) Asbestos-cement pipe and fittings used underground either outside a building or under a building shall conform to Sentence (1) or to

(a) CAN/CGSB-34.9, "Pipe, Asbestos-Cement, Sewer",
(b) CAN/CGSB-34.23, "Pipe, Asbestos-Cement, Sewer, House Connection", or
(c) CSA B127.2, "Components for Use in Asbestos-Cement Building Sewer Systems".

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that while his product does not currently meet CSA standard, he indicated that he has assurances from CSA that it will be able to meet the standard in the near future. Further, he argued that the Logard asbestos-cement pipe fittings have been used for construction in Ontario for many years and continue to be widely installed. The Applicant noted that the bending test portion of the CSA B127.1 standard was the specific issue at dispute regarding the asbestos-cement fittings.

The Applicant provided some background regarding asbestos-cement pipe fittings and the CSA standard. In their view, the problem began as far back as 1977 when the Ontario Plumbing Code first referenced the CSA B127.1 standard. That standard, they noted, only provided tests for the pipe and not the fittings. Since the fittings were not subject to specific testing they were judged on their performance, which he argued was excellent.

This was the case until 1984 when the Ontario Plumbing Code was updated and amended with the approval of O. Reg. 815/84. Among other things, this regulation amended the provision of the Plumbing Code (which eventually became OBC Article 7.2.5.1) that dealt with testing standards for asbestos-cement pipes. This provision was changed to include the words "and its fittings", thereby requiring that not only the pipe, but also the fittings were to conform to CSA B127.1.

The difficulty with this however, the Applicant noted, was that at the time the CSA standard had not in fact been changed to include tests for asbestos-cement fittings. So in essence manufacturers of asbestos-cement fittings were put in the conundrum of having no standard for the fittings to conform to even though conformance was required by the OBC. It was only in 1990 that CSA changed its B127.1 standard to actually provide tests for fittings, including a bend test. This test, however, is widely regarded as not an effective measure of the product, he argued. It is for this reason that the current CSA B127.1 is being revised.

Lastly, as a result of this rather unconventional situation, the Applicant stated that the manufacturers, designers, contractors and building officials, etc. have had to take a practical approach to the use of asbestos-cement fittings. Part of the approach, he argued, was that municipalities can approve the use of his product as an equivalent under Section 2.7. of the OBC. He noted that all municipalities, with the exception of Oshawa, either have no problems with the subject fittings, or are willing to accept them as an equivalent, and are prepared to wait until the new standard is approved and the product is tested to that more appropriate standard.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the Logard asbestos-cement pipe fitting does not currently meet the CSA B127.1 standard and should therefore not be used in the construction of the subject building. He acknowledged that while other municipalities may be willing to accept the product as an equivalent, Oshawa is not. He indicated that they have had at least two recent experiences of asbestos-cement pipe fitting failures. Even though the failed fittings were not Logard products, the Respondent argued that it is an industry-wide problem.

The Respondent explained that his specific concern with the fittings is that their design does not provide for a smooth bore radius sweep at the joints. Because it is not smooth where the fitting and the pipe join, as liquid passes over this interior lip, friction results. This friction causes undue pressure on the fittings which, due to the nature of their asbestos-cement material, is hardly flexible and will, in extreme cases, cause failure. To compensate for this lack of smoothness inside the fittings extensive, and in the Respondent's view excessive, epoxy caulking must be used on the pipe interior.

The Respondent indicated that when, or if, CSA approval is forthcoming, it should cover this product for use as rain water leaders for storm drainage only. This is due to the fact that rain water does not provide the same extreme fluctuations in terms of hydrostatic pressure as occurs in a sanitary sewage system.

Finally, because the subject product does not currently meet the CSA standard referenced in Article 7.2.5.1., he felt that their use did not comply with the OBC and consequently an order to remove the fittings was issued. The Respondent indicated, however, that there is another standard found in OBC 7.2.5.1., the CAN/CGSB-34.22, to which asbestos-cement products can conform. He allowed that if this standard was relevant, i.e. provides appropriate tests for fittings, and if the Applicant can demonstrate compliance, then he would not object to the use of the subject Logard asbestos-cement fittings in the Canadian Tire Store.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the fabricated asbestos cement pipe fittings do not provide sufficiency of compliance with CSA B.127.1 referenced in 7.2.5.1 of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i) The CSA B.127.1 standard is presently under review by the technical committee to address certification of fittings.

ii) There is a CAN/CGSB-34.22 standard referenced in Article 7.2.5.1 of the Building Code. The Applicant has stated they will provide evidence to the municipality on conformance with that standard.

Dated at Toronto this 29th day in the month of April in the year 1999 for application number 1999-19

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Michael Steele

Mr. Kenneth Peaker