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BCC Ruling No. 98-30-635

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-30-635

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.1.1.(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 Mr. Dennis Farkas and Ms. Barbara Farkas, property and business owners, Sheree Fashions, Port Colbourne, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ralph Bradley, Chief Building Official, Township of Wainfleet, Ontario to determine whether the proposed mezzanine complies with Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3) of the Ontario Building Code at Sheree Fashions, R. R. # 2, Port Colbourne, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Dennis Farkas and Ms. Barbara Farkas, owners
Sheree Fashions
Port Colbourne, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Ralph Bradley
Chief Building Official
Township of Wainfleet

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

July 16, 1998

DATE OF RULING

July 16, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Dennis Farkas and Ms. Barbara Farkas, Sheree Fashions
Port Colbourne, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Ralph Bradley, Chief Building Official
Township of Wainfleet, Ontario
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicants

Mr. Dennis Farkas and Ms. Barbara Farkas, business and property owners, Sheree Fashions, have applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an intermediate floor area in the recently constructed addition at Sheree Fashions, R. R. # 2, Port Colbourne, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant recently constructed a one storey, 184 m2 (1,984 ft2) addition onto a single storey, 91 m2 (977 ft2) existing building. Both the existing building and the addition are constructed of combustible construction. The structure is classified as a Group E - mercantile major occupancy. The building is not provided with a standpipe and hose system, a fire alarm system, nor a sprinkler system. The renovated building is to be used as a storage area, office and garage for the Applicant's garment business. The building permit for the addition was issued under the 1990 version of the Ontario Building Code.

Due to complications that arose during construction of the addition, the Applicant proposed to construct an intermediate floor area between the ground floor and ceiling in the addition. The proposed mezzanine had an area of 132 m2 (1,426 ft2), which represented approximately 72 % of the area of the addition. This included a balcony that extended from the main mezzanine area found over the garage and office spaces completely around the interior of the new addition. Stairs serving the mezzanine would have been accessible only by travelling over the balcony areas. Believing they had approval for this revision, the Applicants proceeded to construct such a mezzanine. An order to comply from the municipality soon followed.

Attempting to rectify this situation, the Applicants redesigned the subject mezzanine so that it covered only the smaller garage and office areas. The area of the proposed modified mezzanine is 69 m2 (744 ft2), which comprises roughly 37.5 % of the area of the new addition. The new design has relocated the stairs so that they directly serve the smaller mezzanine. The Applicants also proposed to maintain the existing washroom located at the opposite end of the addition from the office and garage areas. The washroom has an area of 8.5 m2 (91 ft2), or 4.6 % of the addition's floor area and had been built as per the plans originally submitted. The spans installed above both the washroom and the garage and office areas (50 x 254 mm (2 x 10 in) s.p.f. beams at 407 mm (16 in) on centre and Nascor I-beams NJ10 joists at 204 mm (8 in) on centre respectively) are capable of supporting substantial live and dead loads.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the modified intermediate floor proposal can be considered as a mezzanine in accordance with Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.8.2.(1) of the Ontario Building Code. Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3) requires, in particular, that the aggregate of the intermediate floor area be no more than 40 % of the room or storey in which it is located. The total of all intermediate floor space in the addition, at 42.1 %, slightly exceeds the 40% requirement.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3)Exception to Building Height in Storeys

(3) Except as provided in Sentences (4), (5) and (8), a mezzanine should not be considered as a storey in calculating building height provided

(a) the aggregate area of the mezzanine floor is not more than 40 per cent of the area of the room or storey in which it is located,

(b) it is used as an open floor area except as provided in Sentence 3.3.2.11.(2), and

(c) the space above the mezzanine floor has no visual obstructions more than 1,070 mm (3 ft, 6 in) above such floors.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicants submitted that the proposed modified mezzanine meets the 40 % requirement found in Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3). They calculated the space over the office and garage areas as being 37.5 % of the area of the addition. They argued that the area over the washroom should not be considered in the aggregate of mezzanine area, even though the joists may be capable of supporting a certain load. In their view, the washroom area is not contiguous with the what is actually being proposed as the modified mezzanine, the area over the garage and office. Further, the Applicants noted that it is not their intention to use the space over the washroom.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the aggregate of intermediate floor area, including the modified mezzanine and washroom areas is 77.6 m2 (835 ft 2). As they noted, this figure exceeds the 40 % requirement by 2.1 %, or 4.6 m2 (50 ft2). According to the Respondent, the area over the washroom must be included because Sentence 3.2.1.1.(3) stipulates that the 40 %criteria is based on the aggregate calculation. Moreover, they believe that factoring in the space above the washroom in the measurement of mezzanine area is valid due to the construction of the ceiling joists. In their view, it is legitimate to expect that the Applicant will ultimately use the space over the washroom because the joists were constructed to handle such loads. They would like to see the walls of the washroom extended to the underside of the ceiling so that the space over the washroom cannot be used.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that a mezzanine(s) conforming to the requirements of 3.2.1.1.(3) of the Building Code is not considered a storey.

Dated at Toronto this 16th day in the month of July in the year 1998 for application number 1998-29.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Ross Thomson

Mr. Lawrence Glazer