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BCC Ruling No. 98-39-644

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-39-644

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 3.2.2.12(1) and 3.2.4.16(5) of Regulation 61, as amended by O. Reg. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93, 383/94, 20/95 and 395/96 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Jim Gillies, Vice President, Hopewell Development Corporation, 2750, 801-16th Avenue S.W., Calgary, Alberta, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Brenda Campbell, Chief Building Official, City of Brampton, Ontario to determine whether post-indicating valves on a looped fire main around the perimeter of an new building are required to be electrically supervised to achieve sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.2.2.12(1) and 3.2.4.16(5) of the 1990 Ontario Building Code at 255 Chrysler Drive, Brampton, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Jim Gillies
Vice President
Hopewell Development Corporation
Calgary, Alberta

RESPONDENT

Ms. Brenda Campbell
Chief Building Official
City of Brampton

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Kenneth Peaker
Mr. Ross Thomson

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

October 21, 1998

DATE OF RULING

October 21, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Allan Larden
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.,
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Ms Brenda Campbell
Chief Building Official
City of Brampton
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Jim Gillies, Vice-President, Hopewell Development Corporation, is the holder of a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a 81,120m2 (873,175 sq. ft.) distribution warehouse known as the Brampton Distribution Campus, at 255 Chrysler Drive, Brampton, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant has recently completed construction of a one-storey, 81,120m2 (873,175 sq. ft.) Group F, Division 2 (medium hazard industrial) warehouse. The building is non-combustible and is constructed under the "any height, any area" requirements of the 1990 OBC Article 3.2.2.55. The building is equipped with a hose and standpipe system, but is not required to have a fire alarm system.

The facility is now occupied and used by RJR Nabisco Limited as a warehouse for their products.

The building is fully sprinklered by means of an electrically-supervised sprinkler system. This system is monitored as a requirement for the unrated roof assembly. The monitoring system includes a Simplex TrueAlarm 4100 control panel which monitors all indoor fire protection valves, the pump controller for alarm and trouble, diesel fuel level, low pump room temperature, water flow in the sprinkler system, sprinkler system low pressure, and excess pressure pump power on status.

A fire main loops around the entire facility and supplies water to sprinkler systems in the project by means of eight 250mm (9.75 inch) dia. pipe connections as well as to outside hydrants. Ten divisional control post indicator valves (P.I.V.'s) and one valve in a roadway box are located in the looped fire main outside of the building in order to facilitate maintenance, alteration or repair of the hydrants and sections of the main, should the need arise. P.I.V.'s are not installed in branch es leading to individual sprinkler systems. The water in the looped fire main is pressurized by a fire pump, which is supplied from a 400mm (15.6 inch) City trunk water main.

The project was designed and constructed with an electrically supervised indicated control valve in each sprinkler system riser in the building and with high quality padlocks for the divisional control P.I.V.'s on the looped fire main around the exterior of the building.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the post-indicator valves located in the looped fire main must be electrically supervised.

Subsequent to a site visit by the fire department at substantial completion of construction, City building officials have indicated that they consider that the manually locked P.I.V.'s on the looped fire main do not satisfy the intent of the OBC Sentences 3.2.2.12.(1) and 3.2.4.16.(5) whereby, in respect of a sprinkler system, the movement of a control valve handle must be electrically supervised.

However, based on other indications from City officials, the applicant understands that electrical supervision of non-indicating divisional control valves in the looped fire main would not be necessary since these valves are located in road boxes.

  1. Provisions of the 1990 Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.2.2.12(1) Sprinklers in Lieu of Roof Rating

(1) The requirements in Articles 3.2.2.16 to 3.2.2.62. for roof assemblies to have a fire resistance rating are permitted to be waived provided

(a)the building is sprinklered

(b)the sprinkler system in Clause (a) is electrically supervised in conformance with Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5), and

(c)the operation of the sprinkler system in Clause (a) will cause a signal to be transmitted to the fire department in conformance in Sentence 3.2.4.7.(3).

Sentence 3.2.4.16(5) Sprinklers in Lieu of Heat Detectors

(5) The sprinkler system referred to in Sentence (1) shall be electrically supervised to indicate a trouble signal on the building fire alarm system annunciator for each of the following:

(a) movement of a control valve handle,

(b) loss of excess water pressure required to prevent false alarms in a wet pipe system,

(c) loss of air pressure in a dry pipe system,

(d) loss of air pressure in a pressure tank,

(e) a significant change in water level in any water storage contained used for fire fighting purposes,

(f) loss of electrical power to any automatically starting electrical fire pump, (see Appendix A) and

(g) a temperature approaching the freezing point in any dry pipe valve enclosure or water storage container used for fire fighting purposes.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the P.I.V.'s on the Brampton Distribution Campus looped fire main are not on the branch water supply lines feeding individual sprinkler system headers, unlike some other installations where P.I.V.'s have been installed on such branches. Two of these valves would have to be shut in order to cut off water supply for all sprinkler systems.

In the applicant's opinion, review of the OBC, NFPA 13, NFPA 24 and the NFPA Automatic Sprinkler System Handbook and consideration of industry practices support the following conclusions:

1.The looped fire main, including the divisional control P.I.V.'s, is not part of the sprinkler systems; it provides water to the sprinkler system and the hydrants.

2.The divisional control P.I.V.'s located in the looped fire main are not "control valves" for a sprinkler system such as are intended to be governed by the electrical supervision requirements of OBC 3.2.4.16.(5).

3.The installation of padlocked P.I.V.'s in the looped fire main of the Brampton Distribution Campus does not represent a violation of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the private looped fire main supplies water to the sprinkler systems and as such, becomes an integral part of the sprinkler system. The post indicator valves control water supply to the sprinkler systems.

Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5) states that the sprinkler system shall be electrically supervised to indicate a trouble signal on the building fire alarm system annunciator for the movement of a control valve handle. Thus the post indicator valves require electrical supervision.

Notwithstanding the commitment of the current owners and their management company to maintain a rigorous maintenance programme, the commitment of future owners/mangers cannot be anticipated. The building has already changed ownership once since occupancy.

It is unreasonable to expect the Fire Department to monitor deviations from required and, therefore, anticipated performance measures.

Other than the manual locking of the valves and the commitment to a high maintenance standard, no additional measures have been introduced which can be considered to provide sufficiency of compliance. The building is not equipped with a fire alarm system.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the post indicating valves on a looped fire main around the perimeter of a new building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.2.2.12(1) & 3.2.4.16(5) of the Building Code as installed.

  1. Reasons

i)Individual dedicated control valves to shut off the water supply to a sprinkler system are required to be electrically supervised in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and are equipped accordingly at the building entrance.

ii)The 10 exterior post indicating valves on the looped mains are installed to facilitate maintenance and shutting off one valve only does not cut off the water supply to a sprinkler system. It requires 2 valves to be closed to isolate any system. In addition, valves are secured with a high quality padlock and weekly inspections are carried out, recorded, and available to the fire department on request.

iii)The loop mains are provided from two feeds from the municipal water supply.

iv)The installation is consistent with industry practices and acceptable to the insurance carrier.

Dated at Toronto this 21st day in the month of October in the year 1998 for application number 1998-48.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Kenneth Peaker

Mr. Ross Thomson