Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1999 > BCC Ruling No. 99-36-692

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 99-36-692

Email this page


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. Greg Sperry, Owner, Sperry Construction Ltd., 1420 Eastview Drive, Ennismore, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ken Currie, Chief Building Official, Township of Smith-Ennismore, Ontario to determine whether the new garage, proposed to be situated with a set back of 150mm from the holding tank, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code at the Poutney residence, 1434 Eastview Drive, Ennismore, Ontario.


Mr. Greg Sperry, Owner
Sperry Construction Ltd.
Ennismore, Ontario


Mr. Ken Currie
Chief Building Official
Township of Smith-Ennismore


Mr. Bryan Whitehead (Chair)
Mr. Bill Fellner
Mr. Frank Wright


Toronto, Ontario


May 27, 1999


May 27, 1999


Mr. Greg Sperry, Owner
Sperry Construction Ltd.
Ennismore, Ontario

The Applicant


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Greg Sperry, Sperry Construction Ltd., has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a new garage on the Poutney seasonal property at 1434 Eastview Drive, Smith-Ennismore Township, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to build a one storey, 4.88 m by 6.1 m (16 ft by 20 ft), wood frame 2 car garage with poured concrete foundation walls situated in the south corner of the subject triangular property. The length of the garage would run roughly parallel to and less than a metre from the north-east lot line, while the width of the garage (with the car entrance) would be set on an angle from the street access off Eastview Drive. The nearest corner of the garage face would be 1.66 m (5 ft 6 in) to the street and the far corner would be 5.87 m (19 ft 3 in) away. The existing seasonal dwelling is located approximately in the centre of the subject property, behind and to the north of the proposed garage. To the north of the dwelling is a lake.

The construction in dispute involves the lack of adequate clearance distance between the north-west wall of the proposed garage and the south-east corner of an existing holding tank. The clearance, as proposed, is only 150 mm (6 in). The 9,000 litre holding tank measuring 2.13 m by 4.14 m (7 ft by 13 ft 7 in) runs lengthwise with the north-south lot line and is set back roughly 1.22 m (4 ft). Between the dwelling and the holding tank 3.05 m (10 ft) clearance is provided.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the new garage, proposed to be situated with a set back of 150 mm from the existing holding tank, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code. This provision, specifically Table, requires that a minimum clearance separation of 1.5 m be provided between a holding tank and a structure. The Applicant, with his proposed garage location, is providing only 150 mm, or 0.15 m, clearance to the existing holding tank.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article Clearances for a Class 4 or 5 Sewage System

(1) Except as provided in Sentences and (2), a treatment unit shall not be located closer than the minimum horizontal distances as set out in Table

(2) Except as provided in Sentences and (2), a distribution pipe shall not be located closer than the minimum horizontal distances set out in Table and these distances shall be increased when required by Sentence

(3) No building shall be constructed closer to any part of a sewage system than the clearances listed in Articles or

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed garage is sited in the best possible location considering the serious constraints of the site such as the unusual shape of the property and the pre-existing location of the holding tank and the dwelling. He also argued that servicing of the holding tank was quite possible even in the proposed location.

Even though it was installed less than five years ago the Applicant offered to move the holding tank by rotating it so that its length runs parallel to the proposed garage and its rear width runs parallel to the front of the dwelling. This option would provide the required 1.5 m setback between the holding tank and the proposed garage and the dwelling. The drawback of this option however, admitted the Applicant, is that it would not meet the clearance distance required between the holding tank and the lot line, the distance available would be less than a metre whereas the Code requires 3 m.

The Applicant also offered to change the foundation wall adjacent to the holding tank to one of concrete piers supporting structural beams. The piers, he proposed, could be set back from the corner of the holding tank so that the clearance distances would be met and that no structural problems would result.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed garage location does not meet Article of the OBC. In fact, he argued that a set back of 150 mm is a serious reduction of the required clearance distance of 1.5 m. For this reason, he felt he could not approve the construction of the garage.

The Respondent did acknowledge the extreme site constraints faced by the Applicant. He noted that even the existing holding tank, approved by the Ministry of the Environment, does not meet the current OBC standards for clearance distances.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the 0.15 metre set back from the proposed garage to the existing holding tank provides sufficiency of compliance with Article, provided that a consulting engineer design the structural support for the garage to ensure that the supports are a minimum of 1.5 m from the tank.

  1. Reasons

(i) The holding tank, although not meeting the existing set back requirements to the lot line was installed with the approval of the appropriate agency.

(ii) The proposed garage is to be constructed without a foundation weeper which will negate any opportunity for the discharge of subsurface leakage to the surface.

(iii) The supporting structure for the garage will be a minimum of 1.5. metres from the holding tank.

(iv) Provided the tank is exposed to confirm its location and construction of the garage is undertaken carefully without construction equipment travelling on the tank, the position of the garage close to the tank will not impact on the performance of the tank.

(v) There is an opportunity to access the holding tank location in the event that the tank must be repaired or replaced.

Dated at Toronto this 27th day in the month of May in the year 1999 for application number 1999-39

Mr. Bryan Whitehead, Chair

Mr. Frank Wright

Mr. Bill Fellner