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BCC Ruling No. 98-50-655

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-50-655

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.9.1. 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. Allan Schutten, President, 1201068 Ontario Inc., Stoney Creek, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Henry Dekker, Chief Building Official, City of Stoney Creek, Ontario to determine whether the proposed steel shearing and warehouse facility, with an area of 5,870.68 m2, that is not equipped with a standpipe and hose system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Ontario Building Code at the Janco Steel Plant, 925 Arvin Avenue, Stoney Creek, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Allan Schutten, President
1201068 Ontario Inc.
Stoney Creek, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Henry Dekker
Chief Building Official
City of Stoney Creek

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Cliff Youdale

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

December 15, 1998

DATE OF RULING

December 15, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Nick Vanden Oever, President
Quarrystone Construction Ltd.
Beamsville, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Ned Mijatovic
Plans Examiner
City of Stoney Creek
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Allan Schutten, President, 1201068 Ontario Ltd., has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a new steel shearing and warehouse facility at the Janco Steel Plant, 925 Arvin Avenue, Stoney Creek, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to construct a new, one storey steel shearing and warehouse structure with an area of 5,870.68 m2, which includes 466.26 m2 of office space. The building is of noncombustible construction and is equipped with a fire alarm system, but not a sprinkler system, nor a standpipe and hose system. The structure is classified as a Group F, Division 3 - Low Hazard Industrial occupancy.

The plant is to be used in the production of rolled steel, specifically plates and coils. It will also be used for the storage of the material produced in the plant, as well as similar material produced elsewhere.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed steel shearing and warehouse facility, with an area of 5,870.68 m2 that is not equipped with a standpipe and hose system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Ontario Building Code. Specifically, Article 3.2.9.1. requires that a building with an F3 occupancy exceeding 3,000 m2 must be equipped with a standpipe and hose system. The steel plant proposed is 5,870.68 m2 in building area. The Applicant has, however, proposed an alternative system of fire protection and detection.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code

Article 3.2.9.1.

(1)Except as provided in Sentences (4) to (7), a standpipe system shall be installed in every building that

(a) is more than 3 storeys in building height

(b) is more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey, or

(c) is not more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the to storey but has a building area exceeding the area shown in Table3.2.9.1. for the applicable building height if the building is not sprinklered.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that a standpipe and hose system may not be appropriate for the proposed building because it will be constructed entirely of noncombustible materials, such as concrete and steel. The material stored in the warehouse, steel coils and plates, is also not combustible. Only the limited material used to space the steel plates and hold the coils in place are combustible, the Applicant noted. Even the handling and shearing equipment, which is operated by electric motors and a propane-powered tow motor, could only cause a very localized fire.

The Applicant argued, in fact, that the steel plates and coils stored in the plant would be more severely damaged by water used for fire fighting purposes than by the heat created by any localized fire. He was also concerned about accidental breakage of water pipes due to pipe rupture, etc. In fact, the Applicant stated that any uncontrolled introduction of water into the plant's manufacturing and storage areas would be catastrophic and would render the steel worthless.

In terms of providing sufficiency of compliance for the proposed omission of a standpipe and hose system, the Applicant is proposing three compensating measures. The first measure the Applicant intends to provide is a fire alarm system that includes heat detection devices, bells, pull stations and a system monitoring panel that is interconnected to the security system.

The second compensating measure that the Applicant is providing an access route around the entire plant for fire fighting purposes. He also noted that there is an adequate water supply to the site since there are two fire hydrants on the property, one located on each front corner of the lot. As well, there is a local fire hall only 4 to 5 minutes away.

The third measure proposed by the Applicant is a fire suppression system provided by a series of ABC type portable extinguishers ranging in size from a 1/2 lb. to 20 lbs., with one 15 lb. CO2 fire extinguisher located at the plant's electrical area. The ABC fire extinguishers would be placed in the office area, the plant's overhead door, the shearing machine area, in each crane, in the tow motor, and around the perimeter of the plant at 29 m spaced intervals. He noted that even the areas that had a small potential for fire, such as the motors, are equipped with their own fire extinguishers for additional safety. The staff at the plant would also be trained to check, service and use the fire extinguishers, as well as perform other fire procedures.

The Applicant asserted that their alternative fire safety measures provide sufficiency of compliance with OBC Article 3.2.9.1. In his view, these three compensating measures, the fire alarm system, the fire fighting access routes, and the extinguishers and employee safety plan, compensate for not providing a standpipe and hose system.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that as an F3 occupancy with a building area of 5,870.68 m2, the proposed structure is required to have a standpipe and hose system in accordance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the OBC. He indicated, however, that he does not object to the Applicant's alternative fire protection and detection system. Nevertheless, he stated that he does not have the jurisdiction to allow such a variation from the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the Janco Steel Plant building at 925 Arvin Avenue in Stoney Creek provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.9.1. of the Building Code provided that

i) A fire alarm system conforming to Section 3.2.4. of the Building Code is installed and connected to a central monitoring station.

ii) Fire department access routes are provided around the permiter of all building faces.

iii) Portable extinguishers are installed as proposed.

iv) The exemption of a standpipe and hose system is registered on title for this use only.

  1. Reasons

i) The fire alarm system will provide early warning and central monitoring will provide notification to the Fire Department which are located within a 4-5 minute response time.

ii) The fire access routes which are not required for a building for this size will facilitate access to the whole building.

iii) A fire safety plan will be provided outlining the responsibilities of trained employees in use of fire extinguishers.

iv) Any change in use requires reconsideration of this exemption, as it is registered on title.

Dated at Toronto this 15th day in the month of December in the year 1998 for application number 1998-60.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Ms. Susan Friedrich

Mr. Cliff Youdale