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BCC Ruling No. 97-41-583

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 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. David Bryer, President, Bryco Construction Management, Guelph, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bruce Poole, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph, Ontario, concerning whether the proposed addition is required to a have stand pipe hose system in accordance with Article of the Ontario Building Code at Gunn Metal Stamping Inc., 32 Airpark Place, Guelph, Ontario.


Mr. David Bryer, President
Bryco Construction Management
201 Alice Street
Guelph, Ontario


Mr. Bruce Poole
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph


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


Toronto, Ontario


Thursday, September 11th, 1997


Mr. David Bryer
Bryco Construction Mgmt
The Applicant

Mr. Kevin W. Hergott
Tacoma Steckley & Associates Inc.
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Gary Jansen
Plans Examiner
City of Guelph
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. David Bryer is a person who has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an addition to the Gunn Metal Stamping plant at 32 Airpark Place, Guelph, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The existing building is a single storey manufacturing plant that was constructed in 1989 and is used for metal stamping. It is described as having a Group F, Division 3, low hazard industrial occupancy. The structure is composed of combustible and noncombustible construction. It is not equipped with a sprinkler system, fire alarm system, nor a standpipe and hose system. The area of the existing building is calculated at 1,482.4 m2, or 1,604.8 m2 including the 122.4 m2 waste bin storage area that was constructed in 1996 and is located to the west or rear of the structure.

The proposed one storey addition would add 1,514.7 m2 to the north building face in order that the metal stamping activities may expand.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the proposed addition should be equipped with a standpipe and hose system as required under OBC Article The origins of the dispute are found in differing calculations of the area of the existing building. The three-sided, waste bin storage area was not considered as part of the building area by the Applicant. The Respondent, on the other hand, included the subject waste bin enclosure as existing building area.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code (Standpipe and Hose Systems) Where Required

(1) Except as provided in Article, a standpipe and hose system shall be installed in every building that (a) is more than (i) 3 storeys in building height, or (ii) 14 m (45 ft 11 in) in height measured between grade and the ceiling of the uppermost storey, (b) is greater in building area than the area shown in Table 3.2.9.A. for the applicable building height shown in the Table where the building (i) is not sprinklered, and (ii) is not more than 14 m (45 m 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey, or(c) contains more than one storey below grade.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that a standpipe and hose system is not required since the total building area of the enlarged structure would only be 2,996.1 m2. It was their intention was to limit the size of the proposed addition so that the total floor area would be less than the 3,000 m2 threshold, over which a standpipe and hose system would be necessary.

In their view the waste bin storage area constructed in 1996 should not be used when calculating the building's area. They argue that the space is uninhabited and was built simply to lessen the water contamination in the waste bins and to provide a visual screen. They point out that the entire west face of the waste bin storage area is open, while the south exposure has a large opening as well.

The Applicant contends that the comprehensive definition of building within in the Building Code Act (BCA) is too onerous when considering the application of Article and the requirements for standpipe and hose systems. They believe that a fairer definition to use in this circumstance is building area, which is found in Article of the OBC. This latter definition refers to exterior walls as a benchmark for calculating area. Without any wall on the west exposure of the waste bin area, the Applicant's position is that this space does not meet the definition of a building and should therefore not be considered as part of the building area.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the total area of the expanded plant would be 3,119.5 m2 and that a standpipe and hose system should be installed in the proposed addition in accordance with Article In their view the waste bin storage area should be considered in the building area calculations.

The municipality relied upon the definition found in the BCA, which states that a building is "a structure occupying an area greater than ten square metres consisting of a wall, roof and floor or any of them...". According to this definition, the waste bin space would clearly qualify as a building and thus should be counted in the building area.

They were prepared, however, to consider the waste bin area as an exterior canopy if the Applicant removed all the wall panels.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the addition without a standpipe and hose system provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Reasons

i) The total building area excluding the bin shelter which is considered an ancillary structure is less than 3000 m2 and is fully open on one side and partially open on a second side.

ii) The shelter is separated from the main building by a metal clad insulated 10 inch block wall and an insulated steel door.

iii) Access to the shelter for fire fighting purposes is provided directly from the exterior.

Dated at Toronto this 11th day in the month of September in the year 1997 for application number 1997-48.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Michael Steele

Ross Thomson