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BCC Ruling No. 97-59-601

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #97-59-601

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 9.10.19. and Sentence 3.2.5.8.(2) of "the Ontario Building Code" (Ontario Regulation 419/89 as amended by Ont. Reg. 183/88, 581/88, 11/89 and 115/89).

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Rick McConnell, Director, Engineering, Tribunal Developments Inc., 23 Lesmill Road, Ste. 401, North York, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Jack Tupling, Director of Public Works, Town of Orangeville, Ontario, to determine whether the proposed fire hydrant spacing in relation to the distance to the rear lane garages provides sufficiency of compliance with Subsection 9.10.19 and Sentence 3.2.5.8.(2) of the Ontario Building Code at Montgomery Village, Phases 2 and 3, Orangeville, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Rick McConnell, Director, Engineering
Tribunal Developments Inc.
North York, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Jack Tupling
Director of Public Works
Town of Orangeville

PANEL

Ms. Susan Friedrich (Chair)
Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk
Mr. Douglas Clancey

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

Thursday, December 18th, 1997

APPEARANCES

Rick McConnell, President
Tribunal Developments Inc.
North York, Ontario
The Applicant

Randal Brown, President
Randal Brown & Associates
Willowdale, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Jack Tupling
Director of Public Works
Town of Orangeville
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Rick McConnell, Tribunal Developments Inc., applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 for Montgomery Village 1, Phases 2 and 3, a residential subdivision in Orangeville, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

Montgomery Village comprises a combination of single-detached dwellings and row houses. Each dwelling may have a detached frame garage abutting the rear lane. The access to the garage is from the rear lane. Side yard set-backs in the zoning by-law allow a minimum separation of 1.8 metres between dwellings. Montgomery Village, Phase I, was the first subdivision of this configuration (public streets and rear lanes) in the Town of Orangeville and the Town developed servicing standards in Phase I which were applied to Phases 2 and 3. The servicing standards developed for Phase I and implemented by the Applicant included the provision of fire hydrants in the rear public lanes.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether fire hydrants are required on both a main street and rear lane in a residential development having a detached garage at the rear of the lots to provide compliance with the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Subsection 9.10.19.3. Fire Department Access to Buildings

(1) Access for fire department equipment shall be provided to each building by means of a street, provided to each building by means of a street, private roadway or yard.

(2) Where access to a building as required in Sentence (1) is provided by means of a roadway or yard, the design and location of such roadway or yard shall take into account connection with public thoroughfares, weight of fire fighting equipment, width of roadway, radius of curves, overhead clearance, location of fire hydrants, location of fire department connections and vehicular parking.

Sentence 3.2.5.8. Water Supply

(2) Hydrants shall be located within 90 m (295 ft 3 in) horizontally of any portion of a building perimeter which is required to face a street in Subsection 3.2.2.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant's position is that there are no requirements in Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code for placement of fire hydrants. Sentence 3.2.5.8.(2) of the Ontario Building Code requires a fire hydrant to be located within 90 metres of the building perimeter which is required to face a street. For Part 9 buildings, only the front of the houses is required to face a street for fire department access. Fire hydrants are proposed to be provided so that they are within 90 metre of the front of each house.

The houses in Montgomery Village are provided with detached garages which are located at the rear of the residential lot and are accessed from a rear lane. It is the Applicant's position that the garages are considered to be part of the same building as a house since it waives the requirements for spatial separation between these two elements in Sentence 9.10.14.14.(4) of the OBC. The Applicant's opinion is that the provision of a fire hydrant within 90 m of the front of the house meets the intent of Sentence 3.2.5.8.(2) of the Ontario Building Code. This would necessitate the fire department pulling hose between houses to reach a garage fire. The Respondent's opinion is that the Municipal By-law of Orangeville requires fire hydrants within 100 m of the garage. However, it should be noted that the By-law only requires water mains to be provided to each lot or block and does not require water mains to be provided to both sides of a lot.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent took the position that there was no dispute between the Respondent's Chief Building Official and the Applicant concerning the application to the subject property of the Ontario Building Code.

The Director of Public Works for the Town of Orangeville has requested additional fire hydrants in 3 locations in the rear lane. The Public Works Department is of the opinion that access between houses to the detached garages is inadequate for fire fighting purposes and may be obstructed by fences, snow and other material. Therefore fire fighting equipment should be brought in through the rear lanes. In consultation with the Fire Department, the Public Works Department has established the requirements for the location of fire hydrants.

The dispute concerns the standard for municipal services and public streets in a subdivision and does not concern a "building" within the meaning of the Building Code Act, 1992.

Municipal water mains and hydrants in public streets and laneways are not "plumbing" within the meaning of the Building Code Act, 1992. The installation of municipal water mains and hydrants is regulated under the Ontario Water Resources Act, and the Applicant has sought and obtained approval under that Act.

The Respondent submits that, in any event, the Applicant's reference to Sentence 3.2.5.8.(2) of the Ontario Building Code is inappropriate. The buildings under dispute are governed by Part 9 and not Part 3 of the Ontario Building Code.

Finally, there is no basis for concluding that because Section 9.10.14.14.(4) of the Ontario Building Code waives the requirement for limiting distance between a detached garage and the dwelling unit where both are located on the same property, a detached garage is not to be considered a separate "building" within the meaning of the Building Code Act, 1992. The term "building" is defined Section 1 of the Act and not in the Ontario Building Code, which is a regulation. The definition of "building" under the Act clearly includes a detached garage.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that under s. 24(1) of the Building Code Act, 1992, the Building Code Commission does not have the jurisdiction to determine this dispute.

  1. Reasons

1) Under s. 24(1) of the Building Code Act, 1992, the Building Code Commission has jurisdiction to resolve disputes:

- that are between a chief building official or building inspector and an applicant for, or holder of, a permit or a person to whom an order is given; and

- that concern the interpretation of, or the sufficiency of compliance with, the technical requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

While there appears to be a dispute between the Applicant and the municipality in respect of the fire hydrant spacing, this dispute is not with the municipality's Chief Building Official or building inspector, and it does not relate to the interpretation of, or sufficiency of compliance with, the technical requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

2) The dispute arises on property which is not part of the subject property of the buildings in question. Evidence was provided that the rear laneway in question is a dedicated street.

Dated at Toronto this 18th day in the month of December in the year 1997 for application number 1997-65.

Susan Friedrich, Chair

Lesia Beznaczuk

Douglas Clancey