Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1998 > BCC Ruling No. 98-16-621

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 98-16-621

Email this page


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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 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. Richard Epple, President/Owner, 657602 Ontario Incorporated, 16 Stubbs Court, Tillsonburg, Ontario for the resolution of various disputes with Mr. Douglas Robertson, Chief Building Official, Town of Tillsonburg, Ontario to determine, among other things, whether the subject building is required to meet the structural requirements under Article of the Ontario Building Code at 67 Simcoe Street, Tillsonburg, Ontario.


Mr. Richard Epple, President/Owner
657602 Ontario Incorporated
Tillsonburg, Ontario


Mr. Douglas Robertson
Town of Tillsonburg


Mr. Michael Lio (Chair)
Mr. James Lischkoff
Mr. Ross Thomson


Toronto, Ontario


April 9, 1998


April 9, 1998


Mr. Richard Epple, President/Owner
657602 Ontario Incorporated
Tillsonburg, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Douglas Robertson
Chief Building Official
Town of Tillsonburg
The Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Richard Epple, President/Owner, 657602 Ontario Incorporated, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a one storey, multi-unit mercantile/business plaza at 67 Simcoe Street, Tillsonburg, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to construct a one storey mercantile plaza with a building area of 230 m2 (2,475 ft2 ). The building is constructed of noncombustible construction with a block exterior wall and an open web steel joist roof supported by intermediate steel columns. It is equipped with a fire alarm system. The structure is classified as a Group D - business occupancy.

It is the intention of the Applicant to divide the building into two halves, with one half used as a single unit by a spa and hot tub retail store and the other half used by the Applicant himself. In the Applicant's half, he proposes to use one third of the space to create an office unit for his own business and the other two thirds as a separate unit for a building supply shop also operated by 657602 Ontario Incorporated.

The site on which the building is proposed was previously occupied by a motel. The soil conditions, especially regarding imported topsoil, are unknown.

In terms of spatial separations, the proposed building is considered to face two streets. The distances to the property lines for the remaining two sides of the building are 1.2 m (4 ft) on the south side and 3 m (10 ft 6 in) on the west side.

The Applicant proposes to install two washrooms, one in either half, located at the rear of the building. Wastewater is to be discharged to the existing sanitary sewer located to the east under Pine Street. Fresh water will be drawn from the main at the front end of the lot facing Simcoe Street. Stormwater will be collected through a drain in the centre of the building and discharged to a catch basin under the parking area at the front of the building. Heating and ventilation will be provided by two units located on the roof of the building.

  1. Dispute

There are various disputes concerning the subject building between the Applicant and Respondent. Initially the Applicant submitted a list of ten disputed areas, however, as some of the issues were beyond the mandate of the Building Code Commission he subsequently withdrew five of the disputed areas. The five remaining items are listed below.

1)Whether the subject building is required to meet the structural requirements under Article of the Ontario Building Code.

2)Whether the soils have been investigated by a qualified person as per Article of the OBC to ensure that their bearing capacity is adequate.

3)Whether the spatial separations conform to Article of the OBC.

4)Whether the plumbing systems for the washrooms, accessibility for barrier free design, roof drainage and separation between units complies with the respective standards in the OBC.

5)Whether all other requirements of the OBC had been met. The Applicant sought clarification as to the precise meaning of this condition applied by the municipality.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article Structural Design

(1) Except as provided in Sentence (2) and Sentence, Subsections 9.4.2. to 9.4.4. and Subsection 9.40.3., structural members and their connections shall be designed in conformance with Part 4.

(2) Where structural members and their connections conform to the requirements listed elsewhere in this Part, it shall be deemed that the structural design requirements have been met.


(1) A review shall be carried out by the designer or by another suitably qualified person to ensure that the subsurface conditions are consistent with the design and that construction is carried out in accordance with the design and good engineering practice.

(2) The review required in Sentence (1) shall be carried out

(a) on a continuous basis

(1)During the construction of all deep foundation units with all pertinent information recorded for each unit, and
(ii)During the installation and removal of retaining structures and related backfilling operations, and

(b)as required, unless otherwise directed by the authority having jurisdiction,

(I)In the construction of all shallow foundation units, and
(ii)In excavating, de-watering and other related works.

Article Maximum Percentage of Unprotected Openings

(1) Except as provided in Sentence (2) and in Articles to, the maximum percentage of unprotected openings in an exposing building face shall conform to Table 9.10.14.A., or to Subsection 3.2.3., whichever is the least restrictive for the occupancy being considered.

(2) An opening in an exposing building face not more than 130 cm (20 in ) shall not be considered an unprotected opening.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted the following presentations regarding the five issues.

1) The Applicant argued that drawings stamped by an engineer analysing the complete structural design were not necessary for the subject building. He noted, however, that an engineering firm was retained and he submitted a letter from them covering all disputed issues and that stamped drawings were submitted for the structural steel. Regarding other aspects of the structural design, the Applicant noted that his engineer, upon review of the drawings prepared by the Applicant and the structural steel fabricator, stated they were adequate for the construction of the proposed building with two minor additions. (The items added were a pier and footing under the central column and that all pilasters and block work supporting structural steel is to be reinforced with 15 m rebar and filled with concrete.) The Applicant further noted that the engineer would undertake to inspect the structural construction of the building to ensure it meets OBC standards.

2) Regarding the soil adequacy, the Applicant again referred to the engineer's letter. It stated that the building as designed requires soils with a bearing capacity of 2,000 psi. The engineer believes that the soils at the subject site can easily provide this capacity. The Applicant indicated that the engineer would inspect the excavation before the pouring of footings. The Applicant reiterated his engineer's view that confirmation of soil capacity is not required before a building permit can be issued.

3) The Applicant asserted that the spatial separation of the proposed building is adequate. Since the north and east exposures face streets, it is only the south and west exposures where the unprotected openings must be calculated with respect to the limiting distance. The engineering analysis conducted for the Applicant states the west exposure, at 1.2 m (4 ft), is allowed 7% of the exposing wall to be unprotected openings, or up to 14% if both side yards are counted. The Applicant indicated that since he owns the adjacent property to the west he is planning to build a lane between the proposed building and the existing one to the west. This would mean that the unprotected openings would meet OBC standards. At the hearing, the Applicant also stated that he would consider registering on title of the two adjacent properties he owns (the subject one and the one to the west) in order to satisfy the limitingdistance requirements. For the south wall at the rear of the building, the Applicant claimed that the 3 m (10 ft 6 in) distance allows 18% unprotected openings. This will more than suffice for the proposed openings.

4) The Applicant described the plumbing, drainage, heating and ventilation systems. He indicated that they all meet Code standards as proposed.

5) The Applicant reiterated his request for clarification as to what the Tillsonburg Building Department meant with their request that all other OBC requirements be met. In the Applicant's view, his project had been unfairly scrutinized by his local building department with unnecessary requirements being asked of him. Lastly, the Applicant stated that his engineer would review the entire project to ensure Code compliance.

For these reasons, the Applicant argued that his building as designed should be issued a building permit.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent addressed each one of the issues raised. His response was as follows.

1) The Respondent argued that according to Article structural members and their connections must conform to the requirements of Part 4 of the OBC or the structural requirements found in Part 9, in which case the structural design shall be deemed to have conformed with the OBC's structural requirements. Since the design does not conform to the structural standards found in Part 9, in the Respondent's opinion, based on Article, the building must be designed in accordance with Part 4, meaning that the plans submitted must be certified by an engineer or a qualified person. As an example of how the proposed building does not meet the structural standards in Part 9, the Respondent pointed to Sentence which states that where the supported joists exceed 4.9 m (16 ft 1 in), as in the case of the subject building, the footings shall be designed according to Section 4.2. The Respondent noted that the structural steel drawings were not submitted to him until last week. He also indicated that there was a discrepancy between the building size shown on the site plan and the building drawings. He attributed this to the Applicant using engineering drawings from another building.

2) The issue of soil verification was a misunderstanding, the Respondent believed. In his correspondence with the Applicant the Respondent meant to communicate that soil verification may be required if necessary, not that it must be required prior to the issuance of a building permit. As the Respondent explained, the motel that previously occupied the site may have used imported fill during its construction. This was the basis of his soil-related concerns.

3) Concerning spatial separations, the Respondent indicated at the time of the review when the dispute arose that no elevation drawings had been submitted to the municipality. There had been no discussion at that point either regarding the west exposure in terms of registering on title the limiting distances of the buildings. The Respondent indicated that he would accept the registrations on title. He rejected, however, the engineer's claim that if a lane were constructed between the adjacent existing building own by the Applicant and the one currently proposed that OBC compliance would result. As the Respondent argued, Subsection 9.10.14. dealing with spatial separation measures the limiting distance to the lot line, not the adjacent building. Regarding the south exposure, he noted that the OBC allowed 10 % unprotected openings, and judging from the rough sketches provided by the Applicant, the proposed openings appeared to exceed the allowable limit by one or two per cent.

4) The Respondent also indicated that no drawings were submitted detailing the plumbing, drainage and heating and ventilation systems. Without such plans the Respondent indicated that they could not properly review the plumbing system serving the two proposed washrooms. Nor could they review the drainage system for the roof stormwater. The Respondent indicated that their concern was that the pipes proposed for transporting stormwater to the catch basin pass through air plenums, meaning that they are required to meet the appropriate fire stopping standards in the OBC. The Respondent was also seeking details on how the Applicant proposes to provide adequate fire separations between his office space and his adjacent retail occupancy.

5) The respondent explained that the final issue, requiring the Applicant to comply with all other OBC standards, was a standard message meant to communicate to the Applicant that when the completed drawings or other requirements were submitted there may still be clarifications needed from the Applicant after a review. As the Respondent noted, since certain essential drawings and other information had not yet submitted for this project they felt it was especially prudent to include this message on correspondence with the Applicant.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed construction demonstrates sufficiency of compliance provided:

i)At the discretion of the municipality, a soil investigation will be performed prior to pouring the footing.

ii)Spatial separations comply with the requirements for the Code, and are registered on title of both properties owned by the applicant where limiting distances to the lot line are exceeded.

iii)Additional plumbing, heating and ventilation details are provided as required by the municipality to ensure code compliance.

  1. Reasons

Additional information was received at the hearing which addressed a number of issues raised at the time of application and included drawings acceptable to the Chief Building Official.Dated at Toronto this 9th day in the month of April in the year 1998 for application number 1998-02.

Mr. Michael Lio, Chair

Mr. James Lischkoff

Mr. Ross Thomson