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BCC Ruling No. 98-38-643

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-38-643

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clauses 3.10.2.4.(2)(b) and (c) 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. Nabil S. Jurdak, Vice President, Secure Max Self Storage, 6300 Northcrest Ste. 10C, Montreal, Quebec, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Richard Hewitt, Chief Building Official, City of Ottawa, Ontario to determine whether corridor walls not constructed to be continuous from the floor to the underside of the ceiling in a self-storage facility achieve sufficiency of compliance with Clauses 3.10.2.4.(2)(b) and (c) of the Ontario Building Code at 458 Catherine Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Nabil S. Jurdak
Vice President
Secure Max Self Storage
Montreal, Quebec

RESPONDENT

Mr. Richard Hewitt
Chief Building Official
City of Ottawa

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. Nabil Jurdak
Secure Max Self Storage
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Chris Freeman
Chief Building Code Plan Examiner
City of Ottawa
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Nabil S. Jurdak, Vice President, Secure Max Self Storage, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate an existing 3 storey building into a self-service storage building at 458 Catherine Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to convert an existing 3 storey, 4,684 m2 (50418 sq.ft.) building into a self-service storage facility, classified as Group F, Division 2 - medium hazard industrial occupancy. The building contains both combustible and non-combustible construction. It is equipped with a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system, but does not have a hose and standpipe system.

Within the storage area of the building, the applicant is proposing that the storage lockers, including the corridor walls, be constructed out of 2286mm (7 ft 6 in) high metal stud gypsum board or galvanized steel partitions with an open mesh ceiling. The corridor walls are not built continuous from the floor to the underside of the floor above, the ceiling or the roof.

The maximum travel distance would be 15m (49 ft 3 in) from the centerline of the locker door to the nearest exit.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the maximum travel distance exceeds 15m (49 ft 3 in) from inside the rental space, and whether corridor walls must be constructed to be continuous from the floor to the underside of the ceiling in a self-storage facility in order to achieve sufficiency of compliance with Clauses 3.10.2.4(2)(b) and (c) of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Clause 3.10.2.4. Safety Requirements Within Floor Areas

(2) A corridor need not be constructed as a public corridor where the travel distance, measured from inside the rental space to the nearest exit, is not more than 15 m (49 ft 3 in) provided that the corridor walls

(b)have no openings other than doors and the doors are of solid construction, and

(c)are continuous from the floor to the underside of the floor above, the ceiling or the roof.

Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the 2286mm (7 ft 6 in) high metal stud gypsum board or galvanized steel partitions are adequate because the building is (or will be) sprinklered, equipped with a central fire alarm system connected to a fire station, and equipped with an intercom and 24 hour camera surveillance. A live-in caretaker will provide surveillance at all times. As well, the building has very low occupancy, with no more than 3 to 5 persons on average on a floor area. The building includes smoke detectors and a smoke exhaust system. There are no dead end corridors. The system has been in use for the last 13 years in 9 similar buildings with excellent results and efficiency.

The mesh ceiling allows surveillance of the contents of locker to identify hazardous or illegal contents.

The applicant submits that the travel distance from the locker entrance to the nearest exit is not more than 15m (49 ft 3 in).

The applicant believes the 2286mm (7 ft 6 in) corridor walls should be acceptable because of the protective measures which are outlined above, and also because of the previous BCC ruling (#94-25-403) on a similar self-service storage building application.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The respondent submitted that the conditions of OBC Clauses 3.10.2.4.(2)(b) and (c) have not been met because the travel distance to the furthest portion of the rental space exceeds 15m, (49 ft 3 in) and the proposed corridor walls terminate short of the floor/ceiling construction above. According to the respondent, in a case such as this proposal where the travel distance is greater than 15m (49 ft 3 in), as measured from inside the rental space to the nearest exit, the Code requires the corridor walls to be constructed as a public corridor in accordance with 3.3.1.4.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the 7.5 foot (2286 mm) high non combustible partitions walls in the self storage and facility provides sufficiency of compliance with Clauses 3.10.2.4(2)(b) & (c) of the building code.

  1. Reasons

i)The travel distance to an exit from any locker entrance is 15 m (49 ft 3 in) or less.

ii)The building is provided with smoke and heat detection; the building will be sprinklered throughout and is provided with a connection to a central monitoring station.

iii)The control over the building occupancy rests with the building management and not with and the individual lessees.

iv)The partition walls required to be continuous to the underside of the floor slab are not required to have a fire resistance rating.

v)The compartment sizes are limited which will limit the degree of fire involvement.

vi)Smoke exhaust is provided on each floor.

vii)A surveillance system is provided that will control and monitor the amount and type of combustibles in the lockers.

It is the opinion of the building code Commission that with the limited occupant load, the sprinkler protection provided, the limited distance of travel, the control of the building by the owner, the installation of smoke exhaust and the connection of the fire alarm system to a central monitoring station, does not provide a hazard to Life Safety for the occupants.

Dated at Toronto this 21st day in the month of October in the year 1998 for application number 1998-47.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Kenneth Peaker

Mr. Ross Thomson