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BCC Ruling No. 98-11-616

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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. Norman Landry, Construction Manager, The Home Depot, 426 Ellesmere Road, Toronto (Scarborough), Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Terry Dalkowski, Chief Building Official, City of Nepean, Ontario, to determine whether the shade screen adjacent to the existing building can be considered as a temporary structure adjoining that building and thus be subject to Subsection 3.1.6. and not Subsection 3.2.3. of the Ontario Building Code at The Home Depot, 1900 Baseline Road, Nepean, Ontario.


Mr. Norman Landry, Construction Manager
The Home Depot
Toronto (Scarborough), Ontario


Ms. Terry Dalkowski
Chief Building Official
City of Nepean


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


Toronto, Ontario


Wednesday, March 4th, 1998


Wednesday, March 4th, 1998


Mr. Randal Brown, President
Randal Brown and Associates Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant


  1. The Applicant

The Applicant, Mr. Norman Landry, Construction Manager, The Home Depot, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a shade screen to create a garden centre at The Home Depot, 1900 Baseline Road, Nepean, Ontario .

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to construct a one storey, 2,612 m2 shade screen to create a garden centre abutting the existing Home Depot building to be used for the sale and display of plant material and agricultural products. The shade screen is proposed to be constructed of a steel structure composed of purlins and arches with a polyethylene cover. The garden centre will abut the main building on one side and a 150 mm (6 in) gap will be maintained between the two structures. The other three sides of the garden centre will be surrounded by a 3.66 metre (12 ft) architectural wrought iron fence. The end portion of the shade screen will not have gables. The garden centre will not be heated.

The existing Home Depot store will be allowed to have two exits discharging into the garden centre. These exits will be no more than 25% of the required exits and no more than 25% of the required capacity of exits from the Home Depot building. The egress aisles through the garden centre will have a minimum width of 1.1 metre. The garden centre will be provided with a minimum of two means of egress leading to an open space. The shade screen of the garden centre will be located at least 3 metres, measur ed horizontally, from adjacent buildings on the property or to the property line.

The existing Home Depot building is a single storey, 9,755 m2 structure that is used for the sale and display of home improvement products. The building is of noncombustible construction, including pre-cast concrete exterior walls with a 2 hour fire-resistance rating, except where the existing building meets the garden centre. At this area, the Home Depot structure is provided with a BMEC Authorized sprinkler protected glazed screen with a 2 hour fire-resistance rating, separating it from the garden c entre. The building is equipped with electrically supervised sprinkler and fire alarm systems and there are fire hydrants located adjacent to both the existing building and the garden centre. The sprinkler system and fire alarm system do not extend into the garden centre, however. The exits for the Home Depot structure are located at 60 metre intervals along the perimeter of the building.

The garden centre and existing building are classified as having a Group E - mercantile occupancy.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the proposed garden centre, with its shade screen, can be considered a separate and temporary structure, such as a tent, and thus be permitted to comply with Subsection 3.1.6. (Tents, Air-Supported Structures and Temporary Structures) of the Ontario Building Code. If the shade screen can be considered as separate and temporary, then the spatial separation requirements of Subsection 3.2.3. (Spatial Separation and Exposure Protecti on of Buildings) apply to the existing Home Depot building, which is located only 150 mm from the garden centre. Further, Sentence requires that all "tents" be located at least 3 metres from an adjacent building.

However, if the shade screen cannot be considered as a temporary and separate structure and is interpreted as a permanent addition to the existing building, other provisions of the OBC, must be applied. These provisions include, but are not limited to Subsection 3.2.2. (Building Size and Construction Relative to Occupancy), Subsection 3.2.4. (Fire Alarm and Detection Systems) and Section 3.4. (Requirements for Exits), then must be applied. As well, depending on this latter interpretation, exiting throug h the garden centre and the increase in travel distance from the Home Depot building are also potential issues.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code

Sentence to Other Structures

(1) Except for tents used for camping and other personal uses and except as provided in Sentences (2), (3) and (4), every tent, air-supported structure and temporary structure shall conform to Subsection 3.2.3.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the shade screen, while fitting the definition of a building as found in the Building Code Act since it comprises a roof sheltering an occupancy below, does not have a floor area nor a building area as defined in the OBC because there are no exterior walls. (The Applicant, it appears, does not consider the wrought iron fencing to be a wall.) Based on the openness of the structure and the fact that the shade screens themselves are taken down every winter, the Applicant argues that the garden centre is a temporary structure and is subject to Subsection 3.1.6. of the OBC.

The Applicant also submitted that because the shade screen does not have any exterior walls, it therefore cannot have an exposing building face as defined in the OBC. As such, it is their view that Subsection 3.2.3. is not applicable to the garden centre. They recognize, however, that it does apply to the existing Home Depot building located only 150 mm away. In order

to provide adequate separation between, in their view, what are two distinct buildings, the Applicant is proposing that the Home Depot store meet the OBC standards for a building with a zero metre limiting distance for spatial separation purposes. For a Group E occupancy, Clause requires that the subject exterior wall be of noncombustible construction with a 2 hour fire-resistance rating, and have noncombustible cladding. The Applicant notes that the glazing in the exterior wall of the Home Depot facing the garden centre will provide the required 2 hour resistance rating through the installation of a BMEC Authorized sprinklered window assembly.

Regarding the issue of exiting through the garden centre, the Applicant argues that this is permissible since the structures in question are two separate buildings on the same property and such an egress route is allowed under the OBC. Further, the travel distance within the garden centre can be measured from the exterior wall of the Home Depot.

Finally, the Applicant is proposing that the exit and convenience doors from the Home Depot building into the garden centre will be equipped with close spaced exposure sprinklers on the Home Depot side. The heads will be approximately 2 metres apart and will be connected to the wet ceiling sprinkler system, where the water demand of the close spaced sprinklers will be added. This system is designed to provide a minimum of 3 US gallons per minute per lineal feet of openings.

It is for these reasons that the Applicant believes that the subject garden centre and shade screen is a temporary and separate structure, which is permitted to comply with Subsection 3.1.6. of the OBC and which has provided for adequate spatial separation measures in accordance with Clause

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent offered various possible interpretations of how the proposed garden centre and shade screen could be interpreted under the OBC, including as a temporary structure, a fixed, permanent canopy, as a separate building and as a structure attached to the main Home Depot building. The Respondents were seeking clarification on this matter from the Building Code Commission.

Ultimately, the Respondent submitted that the garden centre could be viewed as a separate and temporary structure, meaning that Subsection 3.1.6. could be applied. However, they did not agree that the 3 metre spatial separation could be waived because there is no exposing building face. The Respondents made comparisons with an open air, multiple storey parking garage and how such a structure can be interpreted as having 100% unprotected openings which therefore requires a 3 metre spatial separation setback.

Lastly, the Respondent noted that a previously Code conforming required exit would now lead directly into the garden centre enclosure and not to an exterior open area.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the temporary and separate structure (shade screen) adjacent to the main building provides sufficiency of compliance with Subsections 3.1.6. and 3.2.3. of the Building Code provided that;

i)Openings facing the shade screen in the main building will be protected by BMEC authorized window assemblies and close spaced sprinklers for doors.

ii)The exterior wall assembly adjacent to the shade screen provides a 2 hr fire separation.

iii)Exiting through the enclosed garden centre fencing will be provided as required under the Building Code.

  • Reasons

i)The shade screen is considered a temporary structure and subject to the requirements of 3.1.6.

ii)The shade screen area is unheated.

iii)The framing elements for the structure are non combustible.

iv)The shade screen covering will have a flame spread rating of less than 25.

v)The additional sprinkler protection in the main building openings provided additional protection from fire spread.

vi)Fire spread through openings from the exterior is addressed through outside storage provisions in the fire code.

Dated at Toronto this 4th day in the month of March in the year 1998 for application number 1998-09.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Ross Thomson

Lawrence Glazer