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BCC Ruling No. 97-54-596

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clause of "the 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. Paul Heleno, Project Manager, Eminent Construction Ltd., 4800 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bernie E. Roth, Chief Building Official, City of Scarborough, Ontario, concerning whether the travel distance from the entry door of certain suites to the exit provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause at the Residences at Bamburgh Gate Inc.,1883 McNicholl Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario.


Mr. Paul Heleno, Project Manager
Eminent Construction Ltd.
4800 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario


Mr. Bernie E. Roth
Chief Building Official
City of Scarborough


Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Michael Steele
Mr. Ross Thomson


Toronto, Ontario


Wednesday, November 26th, 1997


Mr. Randal Brown
Randal Brown & Associates
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Mas Matsuyama
Mgr, Building Inspections
City of Scarborough
The Respondent

Mr. Vishram Bhapkar
Manager, Arch./Struct.Services
City of Scarborough
Agent for the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Paul Heleno is a person who was issued a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a 15 storey residential tower with a mercantile occupancy on the ground floor known as the Residences at Bamburgh Gate, at 1883 McNicholl Avenue, Scarborough,Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to construct a residential condominium tower 15 storeys in building height. The building is constructed of noncombustible construction. It is equipped with a fire alarm system, a voice communication system, a standpipe and hose system, as well as a partial sprinkler system. The structure has a building area of approximately 2,760 m2. The building is classified as having a Group C - residential major occupancy. A certain amount of space on the ground floor has been designated as retail, or Group E - mercantile occupancy.

The Applicant's design for the Suites 1B located on floors 2 through 11 between Grid Lines 11 and 16 creates a travel distance for that unit of 31.82 m as measured from the suite door frame to the exit door frame. (The corridors serving the residential suites of the subject building are separated from the adjacent floor areas by rated fire separations. Therefore, the travel distance may be measured from the entrance doors of the suites.) This exceeds the allowed maximum of 30 m as set out in the OBC. All other suites meet the travel distance requirements.

The firewalls originally proposed that would have allowed the Suites 1B to be in full conformance with the 30 m travel distance requirement were deleted. Instead, the Applicant is intending to provide additional measures to compensate for the excess travel distance. Specifically, these measures include the installation of additional smoke detectors in the corridors in the vicinity of the Suites 1B and providing pressurization in all exit shafts.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the proposed measures provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause of the OBC. This provision stipulates that the travel distance to an exit on a floor in this type of occupancy must be 30 m or less.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code Location of Exits

(1) Except as provided in Sentences (2), (3) and, where more than one exit is required from a floor area, such exits shall be located so that the travel distance to not less than one exit as described in Article shall be not more than (f) 30 m (98 ft 5 in) in any other occupancy.

  1. Applicant's Position The Applicant submitted that these two additional measures provide sufficiency of compliance for the additional travel distance involved regarding the Suites 1B. As the Applicant notes, the Code requires that only the fire fighter's elevator be pressurized in this type of occupancy, and yet they have provide complete pressurization for all exits. This measure goes beyond the mandatory standards in the OBC, they argue.

The additional smoke detectors, as noted, will be located in the public corridors in the vicinity of the Suites 1B. In the event of a fire, these detectors will provide additional early warning to the occupants in the Suites 1B.

Lastly, the Applicant points out that the travel distance issue involves only one suite per floor and given the addition of improved smoke control measures and earlier warning through the pressurization of exits and installation of more smoke detectors, the actual travel distance of 31.82 m should be viewed as equivalent to the requirements of the OBC.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed measures do not provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause In their view, the deletion of the original firewall in the corridor has increased the travel distance and the time required to exit. They believe that additional smoke detectors do not provide equivalent protection.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the distance of travel from suite (1B) provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause of the Building Code provided that

i) the grade stairwells are pressurized to limit smoke movement in accordance with measure G of the supplement to the National Building Code where they connect to the building from above and below grade.

ii) two additional smoke detectors are provided on all typical residential floors in the location of the suite not within the travel distance requirements.

iii) the fresh air supply fans are activated by the fire alarm system and powered by a secondary power source.

  1. Reasons

i) the distance of travel to from the Suite 1B to the exit from the floor level affects only one suite per floor on floors 2 to 11 and exceeds the requirements by only a minimum 6% or 1.82 m.

ii) the additional detection provides increased early warning in a fire conditions.

iii) the pressurization of the stairwells and corridors should allow the occupants more time to evacuate the building.

iv) it is the opinion of the Building Code Commission that these additional measures compensate for the minimal additional egress travel distance of 1.82 m from Suite 1B on floors (2 - 11).

Dated at Toronto this 26th day in the month of November in the year 1997 for application number 1997-67.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Michael Steele

Ross Thomson