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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-17-622

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 3.3.1.2.(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. Guy Souligny, Secretary-Treasurer, Souligny Mackenzie and Robert Salon Funeraire - Funeral Home, 2871 St. Joseph Blvd., Orleans, Ontario for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Liz Hilfrich, Chief Building Official, City of Gloucester, Ontario to determine whether a gas-fired fireplace is allowed in a corridor which is considered a required exit under Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3) of the Ontario Building Code at Souligny Mackenzie and Robert Salon Funeraire - Funeral Home, 2871 St. Joseph Blvd., Orleans, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Guy Souligny, Secretary-Treasurer
Souligny Mackenzie and Robert Salon Funeraire - Funeral Home
Orleans, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ms. Liz Hilfrich
Chief Building Official
City of Gloucester

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. James Lischkoff
Mr. Ross Thomson

PLACE

Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

April 9, 1998

DATE OF RULING

April 9, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Roch Landriault, Consultant
Durell Construction
Head, Permit Services
Kanata, Ontario
For the Respondent

Mr. Ross Berrigan
City of Gloucester
Agent for the Applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Guy Souligny, Secretary-Treasurer, Souligny Mackenzie Robert Salon Funeraire - Funeral Home, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a funeral home known as Souligny Mackenzie and Robert Salon Funeraire - Funeral Home at 2871 St. Joseph Blvd., Orleans, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicants proposes to construct a two storey plus basement, funeral home with a building area of 586.2 m2 (6,050 ft2 ). The building is proposed to be constructed of noncombustible construction. It will be equipped with a fire alarm system. The building is classified as a Group A, Division 2 - assembly (funeral home) occupancy.

The Applicants also propose to install a gas-fired fireplace in the main corridor leading to the front entrance. The fireplace is not intended as a appliance for heating, its purpose is aesthetic only. Intersecting the main corridor near the location of the fireplace is a second corridor which leads to an exit door. The main corridor is not considered a required exit.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed gas-fired fireplace is allowed in a corridor which is considered a required exit under Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision stipulates that fuel-fired appliances shall not be installed in any corridor serving as access to exit. At issue is whether the fireplace, located at the junction of the two corridors, is considered to be within a corridor serving as access to exit.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3)Hazardous Substances, Equipment and Processes

(3) Fuel-fired appliances shall not be installed in any corridor serving as access to exit.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicants submitted that the proposed fireplace is located in the main corridor leading to the front door, which is not considered as an access to exit. They contend that the fireplace is not within the secondary corridor, which is an access to exit. In their view, therefore, they do not contravene the provisions of Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3).

The Applicants also note that the building's fire alarm system is equipped with an automatic gas shut off valve which when activated would terminate the flow of gas thus eliminating all potential hazards. The Applicants further note that the fireplace as an aesthetic item would have its front windows that face the subject corridors constantly closed.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed fireplace is located in a corridor that provides access to exit and therefore does not comply with Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3) of the OBC. The Respondent contends that the main corridor and the front doors are an access to exit and a required exit respectively. As such, they believe that a potential fire hazard originating from the subject fuel-fired appliance would put occupants at risk as they attempted to exit through the main corridor.

The Respondent, however, note that their concerns are reduced with the proposed installation of the shut-off valve as part of the fire alarm system. Nevertheless, they are also seeking that a permanent barrier be constructed around the appliance to prevent occupants from coming in contact with the open flame.

Finally, the Respondents state that they do not object to the proposal, but they feel it is beyond the municipality's jurisdiction to accept, nor does it fall within the parameters of equivalents according to Section 2.7 of the OBC.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the installation of the fire place in the corridor provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.2.(3) provided that

i)an additional exit is provided directly to the exterior or to an enclosed stairway leading to the exterior from room # 1 and from the chapel.

ii)The fuel supply to the fire place is shut off by activation of the fire alarm system or loss of power.

iii)A permanent barrier surrounding the unit is installed to prevent occupants coming in contact with open flame.

  1. Reasons

Additional exits to the exterior will act as the primary means of egress from the rooms noted.

Dated at Toronto this 9th day in the month of April in the year 1998 for application number 1998-11.

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. James Lischkoff

Mr. Ross Thomson