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BCC Ruling No. 98-45-650

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-45-650

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Part 8 and Article 11.4.2.5. 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.Christine Grant, homeowner, 178 Grandview Road, Nepean, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Terry Dalkowski, Director of Building City of Nepean, Ontario to determine whether changes to the existing tile field are required as a result of a proposed addition to an existing house in order to achieve sufficiency of compliance with Part 8 and Article 11.4.2.5. of the Ontario Building Code at 178 Grandview Road, Nepean, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Ms. Christine Grant
Homeowner
178 Grandview Road
Nepean, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ms. Terry Dalkowski
Director of Building
City of Nepean

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Bryan Whitehead
Mr. Bill Fellner

PLACE

Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

November 18, 1998

DATE OF RULING

November 18, 1998

APPEARANCES

Ms. Christine Grant
Homeowner
Nepean, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Terry Davidson
Manager, Ottawa-Carleton
Septic System Office
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Ms. Christine Grant, homeowner, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate her existing home by adding a sunroom and a second storey and by remodelling certain existing rooms at 178 Grandview Road, Nepean, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to renovate an existing 1 storey, detached, Group C occupancy, dwelling unit which is located near the shore of Lake des Chenes. Her plan is to enlarge her existing house, as well as substantially renovate its interior.In terms of additions to the existing structure, it is the Applicant's intention is to construct a small sunroom located off the kitchen and diningroom and a second floor. The interior renovations consist of transforming the two existing ground floor bedrooms into a family room and storage area. Replacing these would be two new bedrooms built on the second storey. The existing ground floor laundry room would also be moved to the second floor. (A third ground floor bedroom would also be removed.) The renovations, including the addition of a second floor and sunroom, will increase the total finished area in the dwelling to approximately 200 m2 (2,152 ft2) from the existing 120.8 m 2 (1,300 ft2) .

The proposed construction will increase the total fixture units from the current level of 9.5 to 18. The number of bedrooms will be reduced from three to two. The number of people living in the house will not change, it will stay at three.

The Applicant is not proposing any changes or upgrades to her existing sewage system as part of the overall work. The existing system is described as conventional Class 4 sewage treatment facility. It has a 3,600 L (800 gallon) septic tank and transmits effluent to a 91.4 m (300 ft) tile leaching bed by gravity disposal. The leaching bed has six 15 m (50 ft) runs of PVC pipe spaced 0.92 m (3 ft) apart on centre. The pipes are located approximately 60 cm (2 ft) below the surface and are reported to be resting on imported sand and gravel. The existing daily design sanitary sewage flow based on the OBC formula (assuming a 3 bedroom house with less than 20 fixture units) is 1,600 L/day. The septic tank and leaching bed are located at adequate distances from the proposed house.

The soil at the subject site is described as sand and native shale that measures between 60 to 120 cm (2 to 4 ft) in thickness above the bedrock, with the shallower soil located at the south end of the property.

The sewage system, located in the rear or south yard from the house, has a flat leaching bed area that is open and grass covered. It appears to be functioning without problems.

The water supply is piped to the subject residence from a municipal water system.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether changes to the existing on site sewage system are required as a result of a proposed addition to the subject existing house in order to achieve sufficiency of compliance with Part 8 and Article 11.4.2.5. of the Ontario Building Code. Article 11.4.2.5., in particular Sentence (3) cited below, sets out three criteria under which the performance level of an existing building will be considered as reduced due to assumed increases in total daily design sanitary sewage flow. Situations causing a performance level reduction such as construction described in Sentence 11.4.2.5.(3), an increase in occupant load, an increase in total daily design flow, or a change in amount or type of sanitary sewage are dealt with in Sentence 11.4.3.6.(1), which states that the upgrading of the adversely affected system shall comply with Part 8 of the OBC. In the subject application, if the performance level of the building is deemed to be reduced, then upgrading of the existing sewage system in accordance with Part 8 will be required.

  1. Provisions of the 1997 Ontario Building Code

Article 11.3.2.1. Portion of Extended Buildings

(1) Where an existing building is extended

(a) this Part applies to the existing portion of the building, and

(b) the extended portion of the building shall comply with all other Parts of the Code.

Article 11.4.2.5.Sewage Systems

(3) The performance level of an existing dwelling unit is reduced where proposed construction which,

(a) increases the number of bedrooms in the dwelling unit,

(b) exceeds 15% of the gross area of the dwelling unit, or

(c) adds new plumbing fixtures to the dwelling unit, will result in the total daily design sanitary sewage flow of the dwelling unit, calculated in accordance with Article 8.2.1.3., exceeding the capacity of any component of a sewage system serving the dwelling unit.

Article 11.4.3.5. Sewage System

(1) Where the performance level of an existing building is reduced under

Article 11.4.2.5., upgrading of a sewage system which is adversely affected by the construction, increase in occupant load, increase in the total daily design sanitary sewage flow or change in the amount or type of sanitary sewage shall be required in conformance with Part 8.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed construction will not reduce the performance level of her house regarding its sewage system. She argued that while she was increasing the total finished area of the house and the number of fixture units, the number of occupants and the total daily design flow would not increase. In the Applicant's view, since the total daily design flow was not increasing, then no component of her sewage system would exceed its capacity as is the case in Sentence 11.4.2.5.(3). In fact, she argued that her sewage system had excess capacity. As a result, she believed that no upgrades to her existing system was necessary.

Regarding the issue of the shallow soil at the site, the Applicant argued that the existing system is functioning satisfactorily, is well maintained through regular pump outs, and shows no sign of future failure. She also indicated that they have retained an engineering firm to design a new sewage system should the current one fail. The Applicant also noted that municipal sanitary sewers are only one kilometre away, and in all likelihood would probably be extended to their area in the next few years.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed construction would add significantly more than 15 % to the area of the building. In his view, therefore, this would have a negative impact on the performance level of the building when considering Sentence 11.4.2.5.(3). This, he argued, meant that the Applicant's sewage system had to be upgraded in accordance with Part 8 of the OBC.

Further, the Respondent noted that the existing system had not been built with a permit when it was installed in 1979, nor did it meet the applicable standards at that time. In particular, he stated that he was concerned about the shallowness of the soil and the possibility that effluent has, or will eventually, travel along the bedrock and pass untreated in to Lake des Chenes.

The Respondent indicated that he offered the Applicant the option of retaining an engineer to ensure the adequacy of the existing system, or to apply for the installation of a new sewage system in conformance with Part 8 of the OBC.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the performance level of the existing dwelling at 178 Grandview Road is not reduced by the proposed expansion from 120.8 m2 to 250 m2 and the reduction of one bedroom, and provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 11.4.2.5. of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i) Evidence provided indicates, that the increased area of the dwelling unit will not increase the design sanitary sewage flow as calculated according to Table 8.2.1.3.(a) for the new floor area versus the existing building.

ii) It is the opinion of the Building Code Commission, that the performance level of the building will not be reduced, and according to Article 11.4.3.6., Part 8 does not apply.

iii) There is no increase in occupant load and no change in the type of sanitary sewage.

Dated at Toronto this 18th day in the month of November in the year 1998 for application number 1998-54.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Bryan Whitehead

Mr. Bill Fellner