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BCC Ruling No. 98-33-638

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-33-638

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 9.9.9.1.(1) and 9.9.9.3.(1) 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. Dominique Sevigny, President,E. Brancheurs Sevigny Inc., 811 George Street, Hearst, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Janice Newsome, Chief Building Official, Town of Heart, Ontario to determine whether the proposed second storey addition, which is to include a second dwelling unit but not a second means of exit, provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 9.9.9.2.(1) and 9.9.9.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code at E. Brancheurs Sevigny Inc., 811 George Street, Hearst, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Dominique Sevigny, President,
E. Brancheurs Sevigny Inc.,
811 George Street,
Hearst, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ms. Janice Newsome
Chief Building Official
Town of Hearst

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk
Mr. Ross Thomson

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

Hearst, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

August 11, 1998

DATE OF RULING

August 11, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Dominique Sevigny
The Applicant

Ms. Janice Newsome
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Dominique Sevigny, President, E. Brancheurs Sevigny Inc., property owner, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a second storey dwelling unit over the rear portion of the building at E. Brancheurs Sevigny Inc., 811 George Street, Hearst, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is seeking to construct a second story over the rear portion of an existing mixed use mercantile and residential building. This newly constructed portion would contain a new second dwelling unit of 95m2 (1019 ft2) that is proposed to share a means of egress with an existing dwelling unit located in the front portion of the second storey.

Due to constraints created by the limited space at the rear of the property, the applicant has proposed that both the new dwelling unit and an existing dwelling also located on the second storey open onto a single existing exterior passageway with a single exit stairway located at the end of the balcony passageway.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed means of egress for the new second dwelling unit provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 9.9.9.2.(1) and 9.9.9.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code regarding egress from the dwelling units.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 9.9.9.2. Two Separate Exits

(1) Except as provided in Sentence 9.9.7.2.(1), where an egress door from a dwelling unit opens onto a public corridor or exterior passageway it shall be possible from the location where the egress door opens onto the corridor or exterior passageway to go in opposite directions to 2 separate exits unless the dwelling unit has a second and separate means of egress.

Sentence 9.9.9.3.Shared Egress Facilities

(1)A dwelling unit shall be provided with a second and separate means of egress where an egress door from the dwelling unit opens onto

(a) an exit stairway serving more than 1 suite,

(b) a public corridor serving more than one suite served by a single exit stairway,

(c) an exterior passageway more than 1 500 mm (4 ft 11 in) above adjacent ground level, serving more than one suite and served by a single exit stairway, or

(d) a balcony more than 1 500 mm (4 ft 11 in) above adjacent ground level, serving more than one suite and served by a single exit stairway.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the location of the building does not leave much free space at the rear of the building for any construction in addition to the existing stair from the second storey. The existing space is required for two parking spaces.

The proposed construction is an addition onto the existing building which will result in two apartments sharing a single means of exit. The exterior passage will only be 54 feet (16m) long. There is no space available on the property to construct separate passageways and stairs for each of the two units without eliminating needed tenant parking. The applicant considers the proposed single means of egress to provide adequate safety for the tenants and to generally meet the intent of the building code.

At the hearing, the applicant submitted a new exhibit revising the original proposal. The major changes are to replace the exterior passageway with an interior corridor, to reduce the travel distance in the dead end corridor, to eliminate glazed openings into the corridor, and to add a window on the east wall of the proposed dwelling unit within the limiting distance of 40.6 cm (1 ft. 4 in.).

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposal of the single exterior passageway and single exit to serve two dwelling units does not comply with the requirements of 9.9.9.2.(1) and 9.9.9.3.(1) of the OBC and there are no applicable compliance alternatives. The applicant does not have the lot area remaining to provide a second exit stair without losing parking spaces. The applicant has not provided any alternatives except as noted below . There are other problems (i.e. combustible construction of exterior passageway and exterior wall adjacent to east lot line) which are minor and can be addressed.

At the hearing, the respondent spoke to the revised proposal. The respondent recommended that the revised proposal should be modified to include a smoke alarm system interconnectedbetween the two dwelling units and the mercantile suite, to reduce the window opening in the east wall to a maximum of 25 ft2 (2.32m2) or 10% of the habitable floor area, and to maintain the integrity of the fire separation between the public corridor and the existing and proposed dwelling units.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the Building Code Commission, based on the revised floor plan submitted (Exhibit # 5) that the additions provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 9.9.9.2.(1), 9.9.9.3.(1) of the Ontario Building Code provided that

i)the distance of travel from the existing dwelling to the exterior door does not exceed 20' plus the width of the corridor.

ii)an interconnected smoke alarm system is provided throughout the building in conformance with Section 3.2.4. of the Building Code.

iii)the stair to grade is of non-combustible construction

And

iv)the public corridor is separated by a 3/4 hour fire resistance rated assembly (walls & floors), and self closing devices are provided on the dwelling unit doors into the corridor.

And

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the new window in the living room east wall provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.10.14.5. provided that

i)wire glazing is provided

ii)2 residential sprinkler heads are provided, equally spaced, to protect the window opening.

  1. Reasons

i)The exit affects only two dwelling units

ii)An additional early warning system (interconnected smoke alarms) will be provided

iii)The dead end corridor length is limited and the exit corridor is protected from fire exposure.

iv)The exposure presented by the east window is reduced by the use of wired glazing or sprinklers over the window.

Dated at Toronto this 11th day in the month of August in the year 1998 for application number 1998-40.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk

Mr. Ross Thomson