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. 98-07-612

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 98-07-612

Email this page

BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #98-07-612

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.3.1.5. 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. Rae Gardner, President, Rae Gardner Construction, R.R. # 2, Port Carling, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Wib Bethune, Chief Building Official, Humphrey Township, Ontario, to determine whether the guard height and the openings in the guard, as constructed, provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.8.2.(1) and Article 9.8.8.4. of the Ontario Building Code at the Robert Lantos cottage, Township of Humphrey, District of Parry Sound, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Rae Gardner, President
Rae Gardner Construction
Port Carling, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Wib Bethune
Chief Building Official
Township of Humphrey

PANEL

Mr. Michael Lio (Chair)
Mr. Ross Thomson
Mr. Lawrence Glazer

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

Wednesday, February, 25th, 1998

DATE OF RULING

Wednesday, February, 25th, 1998

APPEARANCES

Mr. Rae Gardner, President
Rae Gardner Construction
Port Carling, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Wib Bethune
Chief Building Official
Township of Humphrey
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Rae Gardner, President, Rae Gardner Construction, is the holder of a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 for the construction of a seasonal residential building, known as the Robert Lantos cottage at Part Lot 13, Concession 1, Township of Humphrey, District of Parry Sound, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant has erected two seasonal residential buildings on the subject property; a two storey structure intended for use as a main cottage, and a two storey boathouse built on the water. The structures are classified as Group C - residential major occupancies. Both buildings are constructed of combustible construction.

On both buildings, the Applicant has constructed guards and railings in various locations. The main cottage building has a large semi-circular shaped deck at the front with stairs and associated railings leading to grade level. The boathouse has an exterior stair with railings from grade level serving the second floor; the second floor has an enclosed porch/deck area recessed into one corner of the second floor surrounded by a guard. All of the guards and stair railings have been built with natural and therefore irregularly shaped cedar logs.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the as built guards and railings constructed of natural logs provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.8.8.2.(1) and Article 9.8.8.4. Respectively, these provisions of the Building Code provide standards for the height of guards around balconies and the spacing of the openings in the guard. The irregular shaped nature of the cedar logs has apparently made compliance with these requirements difficult. In some parts, the guard is only 1,030 mm (40 1/2 in), which is 40 mm (1 1/2 in) too low, whereas the spacing between the pickets varies between 152 mm (6 in) and 114 mm (4 1/2 in), which ranges from 13 mm (1/2 in) to 52 mm (2 in) too wide.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code

9.8.8.2. - Height of Guards

(1) Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (5), all guards, including those for balconies, shall be at least 1 070 mm (3 ft 6 in) high.

9.8.8.4. Openings in Guards. Openings through a guard on balconies, porches, and decks, an exit stair, or stairs, landing and the floor level around a stairwell in a dwelling unit, shall be of a size so as to prevent the passage of a spherical object having a diameter of 100 mm (4 in) in residential occupancies and 200 mm (7-7/8 in) in other occupancies, unless it can be shown that the location and size of such openings which exceed these limits do not represent a hazard.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the height of the guards and the spacing between the pickets complies with Sentence 9.8.8.2.(1) and Article 9.8.8.4. of the OBC. In their view, the construction material used for the guards, railings and pickets, natural cedar logs, made it difficult to maintain precise and uniform heights and spacings. As a result, they argue that the as built guards and railings are within allowable variations and should be construed as providing sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the guards and railings, as constructed, do not meet the relevant provisions of the Building Code. They argue that the Building Code is very specific with regard to guard heights and openings through guards and the subject construction does not meet the prescribed standards.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the guards do not conform to the requirements of the Building Code.

Guard height should be measured from grade at the base of the landing or deck to the top of the guard.

  1. Reasons

i) The boathouse guards do not meet the minimum 1070 mm height as required by the Building Code.

ii) Openings through guards exceed the maximum size permitted by the Building Code to prevent the passage of a 100 mm diameter spherical object.

iii) Sufficiency of compliance was not demonstrated.

Dated at Toronto this 25th day in the month of February in the year 1998 for application number 1997-82.

Michael Lio, Chair

Ross Thomson

Lawrence Glazer