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BCC Ruling No. 97-45-587

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #97-45-587

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.1.5.5. 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. Galli Tiberini, President, Piazza Woodbridge Residences Inc., 111 Creditstone Road, Concord, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Mani Navabi, Chief Building Official, City of Vaughan, Ontario, concerning whether the proposed wall assembly, including the Royal Building System exterior cladding, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.5.5. of the Ontario Building Code at the Piazza Woodbridge Residences, 53 Woodbridge Avenue, Woodbridge (Vaughan), Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Galli Tiberini, President,
Piazza Woodbridge Residences Inc.
111 Creditstone Road
Concord, Ontario,

RESPONDENT

Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk
Mr. Ross Thomson

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

Thursday, October 9th, 1997

APPEARANCES

Mr. Galli Tiberini, President
Piazza Woodbridge Residences Inc
The Applicant

Mr. Randy Brown, President
Randal Brown & Assoc
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan Respondent
The Respondent

Mr. Steve Penna
Technical Supervisor
City of Vaughan
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Galli Tiberini is a person who has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct two residential buildings 4 and 6 storeys in height using the 100 mm Royal Building System wall construction, at the Piazza Woodbridge Residences, 53 Woodbridge Avenue, Vaughan (Woodbridge), Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant proposes to construct residential condominium buildings, 4 and 6 storeys in building height. Buildings A and B have building areas of 691 m2 and 2,236 m2 respectively. Both buildings are constructed of noncombustible construction. Each building is equipped with a standpipe and hose system and a fire alarm system. Neither building however contains a sprinkler system, except in the basements.

As part of this renovation, the Applicant is proposing to utilize the 100 mm Royal Building System as the exterior wall/cladding assembly. Similar to pre-cast concrete, this cladding assembly requires that prefabricated wall panels be filled with concrete and attached to the exterior of the building. The casting of the wall panels is done by pouring concrete between two PVC forms held in place by many PVC cross-webs.

There are two proposed exterior wall/cladding assemblies. Assembly #1 on the outside comprises a 100 mm thick concrete panel prefabricated in PVC forms. The exterior of the PVC form is covered with a cementitious coating (a mixture of Type 10 Portland cement and Durock Prep Coat) reinforced with an applied fabric as the final finish. The inside of this assembly is made of 152 mm of thick batt insulation, vapour barrier, and 15.9 mm Type X gypsum wallboard mechanically fastened to steel studs. Assembly #2 is similar to #1 but an additional 50 mm expanded polystyrene rigid insulation is added to the external surface of the concrete panel. The same cementitious coating is applied to the exterior of the insulation.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and respondent is whether the proposed exterior wall/cladding assemblies provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.5.5. of the Ontario Building Code. This provision, which applies to a building that must be of noncombustible construction, does not permit an exterior non-loadbearing wall assembly, which includes combustible cladding components, to be used on a six storey building unless three conditions are satisfied.

These conditions, found in Sentence (1), are that the building must be sprinklered, the interior face of the wall assembly is protected by an appropriate thermal barrier, and that the wall assembly meets the test standards for flame spread and heat flux. Sentence (9) however eliminates these restrictions when adequately protected foamed plastic insulation is used in the wall assembly.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code

Article 3.1.5.5. Combustible Cladding

(1) Except as provided in Sentence (9) or where noncombustible cladding is required by Subsection 3.2.3., an exterior non-loadbearing wall assembly that includes combustible cladding components is permitted to be used in a building required to be of non-combustible construction that is not more than 3 storeys in building height, if not sprinklered, and not more than 6 storeys in building height, if sprinklered, provided the interior surfaces of the wall assembly are protected by a thermal barrier conforming to Sentence 3.1.5.11.(3) and the wall assembly satisfies the criteria of Sentences (5) and (6) when subjected to testing in conformance with Sentences (2) to (4).

(2) The fire testing required by Sentence (1) shall be conducted on a wall assembly that (a) is not less than 5 m (16 ft 5 in) wide and not less than 10 m (32 ft 10 in) high with an opening 2.5 + 0.1 m (8 ft 2 in + 4 in) wide by 1.4. + 0.1 m (4 ft 7 in + 4 in) high, located in the middle of the assembly not more than 3 m (9 ft 10 in) above the lowest edge,

(b) is representative of the exterior wall construction, except for the interior finish, and

(c) incorporates horizontal and vertical joints not more than 3 m (9 ft 10 in) vertically above the opening.

(3) The wall assembly shall be exposed on its exterior face to a flame issuing from the opening that, on a noncombustible wall having a density of not less than 700 kg/m3 (44 lb/ft3) to a depth of 12 mm (1/2 in) from the exposed surface, generates an average heat flux between

(a) 42 and 48 kW/m2 (13,300 and 15,200 Btu/ft2h) measured 0.5 m (19 in) above the opening, and

(b) 25 and 29 kW/m2 (7930 and 9190 Btu/ft2h) measured 1.5. m (4 ft 11 in) above the opening.

(4) The duration of exposure to the flame specified in Sentence (3) shall be not less than 15 min following a 5 min gradual heat flux increase and preceding a 5 min gradual cooldown period after the flame exposure.

(5) Flaming on or in wall assembly shall not spread more than 5 m (16 ft 5 in) above the opening during or following the flame exposure of 25 min.

(6) The heat flux during the flame exposure on a wall assembly shall be not more than 35 kW/m2 (11,100 Btu/ft2h) measured 3.5. m (11 ft 6 in) above the opening.

(7) A wall assembly permitted by Sentence (1) that includes combustible cladding of fire-retardant treated wood shall be tested for fire exposure after the cladding has been subjected to an accelerated weathering test as specified in ASTM D2898, "Test Method for Accelerated Weathering of Fire-Retardant Treated Wood for Fire Testing".

(8) Wood decorative cladding is permitted to be used on exterior canopy fascias of a building required to be of noncombustible construction provided it is fire-retardant treated wood that has been, before testing, conditioned in conformance with ASTM D 2898, "Test Method for Accelerated Weathering of Fire-Retardant Treated Wood for Fire Testing", and the canopy is

(a) a first floor canopy, or

(b) not more than 6 m (19 ft 8 in) above ground level

(9) The requirements in this Article do not apply where foamed plastic insulation is used in an exterior wall assembly of a building and the insulation is protected in conformance with Clause 3.2.3.7.(3)(a).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed wall/cladding assembly provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.5.5. of the OBC. In their opinion, the fuel content of the PVC in these wall systems presents less of a hazard than the foamed plastic insulation currently allowed in exterior walls under Sentence 3.1.5.5.(9) of the OBC. They argue that the PVC in assemblies #1 and #2 will be protected from both sides. The interior sheet of PVC is protected by the Type X (15.9 mm, 5/8 in) drywall mounted on steel studs. The exterior PVC sheet and polystyrene insulation (in the case of assembly #2) will be protected by the Durock finish which will be applied in accordance with ULC listing EW20 designed for protection of exterior claddings.

The Applicants also hold that assembly #2 meets the requirements of Sentence 3.1.5.5.(9) regarding foamed plastic insulation which is appropriately protected according to Clause 3.2.3.7.(3)(a). As a result, they feel that the requirements of Article 3.1.5.5. should not apply to this assembly.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed wall/cladding assemblies do not provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.5.5. They argue that all of the conditions set out in Sentence 3.1.5.5.(1) for a building of six storeys to permit combustible elements in an exterior cladding have not been met. The building is not sprinklered and the appropriate testing has not been done. As a result, the PVC forms and webbing used in these assemblies is a combustible component found in a wall assembly that is required to noncombustible since all conditions have not been met.

They disagree with the Applicant's assertion that because of its foamed plastic insulation, assembly #2 is permitted under Sentence 3.1.5.5.(9) to have the aforementioned conditions waived. In their view, the requirements to protect the insulation in an exterior wall assembly found in Clause 3.2.3.7.(3)(a) are only for the foamed plastic insulation found in that assembly and not other combustible materials, i.e. the PVC in the Royal Building System exterior wall construction.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the exterior cladding panel not containing foam plastic on the exterior face must comply with the provisions of Article 3.1.5.5. of the Building Code

AND

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the exterior cladding panel with foam plastic on the exterior face must comply with Sentence 3.2.3.7.(3)(a) and if the option of 3.2.3.7.(3)(a)(ii) is selected, a test of the complete assembly is required to demonstrate compliance.

  1. Reasons

i) The panel not containing foam plastic on the exterior face contains combustible cladding components and thus is subject to Article 3.1.5.5.

ii) Based on evidence provided, the panel containing foam plastic on the exterior face (under the current wording of Clause 3.1.5.5.(a) of the Building Code) is exempt from compliance with Article 3.1.5.5. but requires compliance with Clause 3.2.3.7.(3)(a) of the Building Code.

iii) This decision is specific for this application only.

Dated at Toronto this 9th day in the month of October in the year 1997 for application number 1997-53.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Lesia Beznaczuk

Ross Thomson