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BCC Ruling No. 98-31-636

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-31-636

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.7.1.3. 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 Dr. William Miletic, President, Wm. Miletic Enterprises Inc., Windsor, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ed Link, Building Commissioner, City of Windsor, Ontario to determine whether the as constructed barrier-free path of travel at 1,010 mm (3 ft., 4 in.) provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.7.1.3. of the Ontario Building Code at Wm. Miletic Enterprises Inc., 1730 Huron Church Road, (B. P. H.) D79594, Windsor, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Dr. William Miletic, President
Wm. Miletic Enterprises Inc.
1730 Huron Church Road
Windsor, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Ed Link
Building Commissioner
City of Windsor

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto and Windsor, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

July 16, 1998

DATE OF RULING

July 16, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Greg Verbeem, Bartlet and Richardes
Windsor, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Daniel Piescic, Assistant Building Commissioner
City of Windsor, Ontario
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Dr. William Miletic, President, Wm. Miletic Enterprises Inc., Windsor has received a correction order under the Building Code Act, 1992 to alter the recently constructed offices to provide at least one 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.) wide barrier-free path of travel at Wm. Miletic Enterprises Inc., 1730 Huron Church Road, Windsor, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

In 1994 and 1995 the Applicant renovated the space leased in the subject building to create an office for his dental practice. During construction, it was discovered that the office did not provide a barrier-free path of travel measuring 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.). A correction order was issued on February 5th, 1995.

The subject office is a one storey, 221.7 m2 (2,386 ft2), Group D - Business and Personal Service occupancy. The office design has two parallel corridors leading from the front to the rear, where the barrier-free washroom and two of the rooms with dental chairs are located. Both corridors are measured at 1,010 mm (3 ft., 4 in.) in width.

Since the office space is leased, the renovations completed by the Applicant were interior only. The building is constructed of noncombustible construction.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the as constructed hallways in the subject dental office provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.7.1.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision requires that barrier-free paths of travel for wheelchairs must be at least 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.). The hallways in the Applicant's office are currently measured at 1,010 mm (3 ft., 4 in.).

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 3.7.1.3.Barrier-Free Path of Travel

(1) Except as required in Sentence (4) and except as permitted in Subsection 3.7.3., every barrier-free path of travel shall provide an unobstructed width of at least 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.) for the passage of wheelchairs.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that while the path of travel does not meet the required width found in the OBC, he argued that only a small portion of the subject hallway is not in compliance. Further, the Applicant argued that moving the walls in the deficient hallways would be difficult due to the design of the patient rooms and the placement of equipment in those rooms. Such construction would be costly and may cause a loss of business.

The Applicant also noted that the deficiency has not caused problems for any of his patients. To support this assertion, he provided a signed statement from his patients who use wheelchairs indicating that the "office was satisfactory in meeting all their special needs." As the Applicant noted, the office's design presents no fire or safety risk since wheelchairs and even stretchers are able to pass through both hallways without obstruction.

As well, because there are two hallways this offers all patients an additional route of egress.

Three proposals were offered by the Applicant as compensating measures to demonstrate sufficiency of compliance. Specifically, he proposed that signs be posted at either end of the deficient corridors indicating the undersized dimensions. He also offered to upgrade the lighting in the hallways if necessary. As well, an intercom system could be installed to assist staff and wheelchair patients to communicate about moving through the office.

Finally, the Applicant indicated that the deficiency resulted from a change of contractors during construction. It was not his intention to willfully compromise the standards in the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the as constructed office does not meet the requirements found in Article 3.7.1.3. of the OBC regarding minimum path of travel widths for wheelchairs. They noted that the hallways are 50 mm (2 in.) too narrow. Windsor, the Respondent indicated, has a pro-active stance on issues concerning barrier-free accessibility.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the existing corridor of 1,010 mm (3 ft., 4 in.) in width does not provide sufficiency of compliance with 3.7.1.3. of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i)The new south wall of the sterilization room in the corridor can be revised to provide the minimum width of 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.).

ii)The width of 1,060 mm (3 ft., 6 in.) is considered minimum to allow independent mobility of handicapped patients.

Dated at Toronto this 16th day in the month of July in the year 1998 for application number 1998-31.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Ross Thomson

Mr. Lawrence Glazer