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BCC Ruling No. 98-37-642

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-37-642

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 3.1.3.7.(2) 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. Dung Lam, 1239601 Ontario Ltd., 140 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Yaman Uzimeri, Chief Building Official, City of Toronto to determine whether the existing dry cleaning equipment can continue to be used within a building containing more than 2 dwelling units in accordance with Sentence 3.1.3.7.(2) of the 1990 Ontario Building Code at Unit 1, 140 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Dung Lam
1239601 Ontario Ltd.
Unit 1, 140 The Esplanade
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Yaman Uzimeri
Chief Building Official
City of Toronto

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Ross Thomson
Mr. Lawrence Glazer

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

October 8, 1998

DATE OF RULING

October 8, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Hine
Hine Reichard Tomlin Inc.,
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Peter Au
Chief Building Official
City of Toronto
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr.Dung Lam, 1239601 Ontario Inc, Toronto, has received an Order to Comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 to remove existing dry cleaning equipment at Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners, Unit 1, 140 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The applicant received an Order to Comply on April 27, 1998. The applicant operates a 137 m2 dry cleaning operation on the first floor of a residential building. The dry cleaning operation serves retail customers and also uses a single "Lindus 2518" dry cleaning machine. No flammable liquids are used. The Order to Comply directed the applicant to remove the dry cleaning equipment.

The building that houses this operation is a 7 storey mixed use building containing Group C, Group E, Group A Division 2 and Group F Division 3 major occupancies. The building is of non-combustible construction. It is equipped with a sprinkler system on the first floor and below grade. It is equipped with a fire alarm system and a hose and standpipe system. The suite containing the dry cleaning operation is sprinklered, and is separated from the remainder of the building by a 2 h fire separation.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the dry cleaning operation at 140 Esplanade should be considered Group D or Group F Division 2.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.1.3.7.(2)Prohibition of Occupancy Combinations

(2) Except as provided in Sentence 3.10.2.4.(9), not more than one suite of residential occupancy shall be contained within a building classified as a Group F, Division 2 major occupancy.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the dry cleaning operation at 140 Esplanade should be considered a Group D occupancy, and therefore be permitted within a building with a residential occupancy.

The dry cleaning operation uses a single "Lindus 2518" dry cleaning machine. The capacity of the machine is 55 pounds of clothing per cycle. In discussion with dry cleaning equipment sales personnel, it is understood that the equipment is considered small. The self-service Lindus 2518 dry cleaning machine is exactly the same size as the machine in use at Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners.

The operation at 140 Esplanade has one small cleaning machine that is primarily under the control of the proprietor at all times, as is the quantity of clothing cleaned.

As a "self service" operation, Nova Supreme could install (based on the suite area) up to 10 self-service dry cleaning machines. Then the suite would be classified as a Group D occupancy. As a Group D occupancy, the use is permitted, yet the ability to control the quantity of clothing and the number of persons within the suite is lost. For a small operation like Nova Supreme's, it is questionable whether the "self service" improves life safety over that of the current operational methods.

Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners has been treated as a Group F Division 2 occupancy since the City is not aware of the "self service" capacity of the suite. Typical Group F Division 2 dry cleaning operations refer to a dry cleaning plant/depot. This requires constant vehicle traffic to drop off dirty clothes and pick up clean clothes. The plant would serve various satellite stores. In addition, a plant implies a large operation with numerous large machines and large quantities of dry cleaning chemicals.

A single small dry cleaning machine under the control of a proprietor is significantly safer than that of an F2 occupancy or a self-service operation having many dry cleaning machines. The risks at the Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners are comparable to a self-service laundromat having only one dry cleaning machine.

To comply with the Code for self-service, the proprietor is in agreement to permit the dry cleaning machine to be rented out such that the operation achieves the self-service status.

Therefore, the operation at 140 Esplanade can be considered a Group D dry cleaning operation because the machine can be used as a self service machine, it does not use flammable liquids, and it is a small operation under the control of the owner.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The respondent states that the dry cleaning operation at 140 Esplanade was approved for a dry cleaning depot only.

Under the 1990 OBC, Sentence 3.1.3.7(2) prohibits a Group F Division 2 occupancy (dry cleaning operations) in a building containing more than 2 dwelling units.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the dry cleaning establishment containing one 55 lb capacity self contained dry cleaning unit provides sufficiency of compliance with a Group D occupancy provided a building permit application is made for the installation of the equipment.

  1. Reasons

i)The floor area is sprinklered.

ii)The dry cleaning establishment is separated from the remainder of the building by a separation having a 2 hour fire resistance rating.

iii)The operation of the equipment is under the supervision of staff.

iv)The dry cleaning unit is a closed self contained unit using non flammable solvents.

v)The applicant indicated that dry cleaning activity was limited to this store only, and not to serve other establishments.

Dated at Toronto this 8th day in the month of October in the year 1998 for application number 1998-46

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Ross Thomson

Mr. Lawrence Glazer