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BCC Ruling No. 97-33-575

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #**-**-***

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b) 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. Steven DaCosta, Extreme Fitness, Markham, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Wright, Chief Building Official, Town of Markham, Ontario concerning whether a precast concrete mezzanine using steel HSS sections and steel plate for structural support provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b) of the Ontario Building Code at Extreme Fitness, 8281 Yonge Street, Markham, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Steven DaCosta
Extreme Fitness
8281 Yonge Street
Markham, Ontario,

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Wright
Chief Building Official
Town of Markham

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Lawrence Glazer

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

Tuesday, August 12th, 1997

APPEARANCES

Mr. Gerald Spring
Gerald Spring Architect Inc.,
Toronto, On
Agent for the Applicant

Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.,
Mr. Les Muniak
For the Applicant

Mr. Tony Boyko
Manager, Building Inspections
Town of Markham
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Steven DaCosta, Owner, Extreme Fitness, is a person to whom a building permit was issued under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate an existing 2 storey building to create an new health club facility (Extreme Fitness) located on the ground floor of the southerly portion of the structure at 8281 Yonge Street, Markham, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant has renovated an existing 2 storey, 4,059 m2 (43,670 ft2) building to include an new health club, known as Extreme Fitness, in the southern end of the structure. The Extreme Fitness club occupies some 2,415 m2 (26,000 ft2) of the building. The other tenancy in the building, located at the north end, occupies the remaining portion of the structure, including the entire second floor. While relatively small, the second storey has an area of 232 m2 (2,500 ft2), which exceeds 10% of the ground floor area of that tenancy. Separating the two tenancies in this building is a 2 h rated fire separation which extends from the foundation to the roof deck.

Located within the Extreme Fitness portion of the building is a mezzanine measuring 86 m2 (930 ft2). In order to maximize headroom clearance under the mezzanine, the Applicant utilized a flat, pre-cast concrete slab construction with steel HSS sections and steel plate for structural support. The Applicant also proposed to apply a spray-on, mastic-type coating to achieve a greater fire-resistance rating. The purpose of the mezzanine is to provide additional space for exercise equipment.

The building is composed of noncombustible construction. It contains a fire alarm and sprinkler system, both of which are monitored by an independant central station facility. The occupant load in the health club facility is 480 persons. It is served by 7 exits, which have a total aggregate capacity of 1,440 persons.

The Structure is classified as having a Group A, Division 2 major occupancy and faces one street.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the pre-cast concrete mezzanine as designed, using steel HSS sections and steel plate with spray-on fire-proofing, provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b), which requires a 1 h fire-resistance rating.

  1. Provisions of the Building Code

Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b) Assembly Buildings, Division 2, up to 5 Storeys, Any Area

(2) Except as provided in Sentence (3), the building shall be of noncombustible construction, and

(b) mezzanines shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 h,

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the Mezzanine, as designed, provides sufficiency of compliance with the 1 h fire-resistance rating requirement of Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b). There are numerous reasons the Applicant uses to support this view.

The nature of the occupancy, as a health club where space is required to carry out exercise activities, means that crowding would not be an issue as in other uses such as nightclubs etc. covered by Article 3.2.2.22. There is also a low fire load in such a facility. In fact, large portions of the health club, such as the general exercise and aerobics areas, have virtually no fire load. The office areas, testing and consultation rooms would have a fire load comparable to that of a general use office area.

The Applicant also notes that the L-shaped mezzanine is located between two two large adjoining open areas, the general exercise area and the aerobics area. A fire that starts under the mezzanine area would easily be seen by anyone in those spaces, they argue. Further, the entire health club is well served by the seven egress points located on the east, west and south facing walls.

In the event of a fire in the tenancy at the north end of the building, the 2 h rated masonry fire separation would provide significant protection. As well, the Applicant indicates that the activation of the building's sprinkler and fire alarm systems would give occupants adequate notification prior to any collapse of the 2 h fire separation. Within the Extreme Fitness facility itself, the activation of the sprinkler system would most likely extinguish any fire before the structural stability of the mezzanine would be challenged.

Pertaining specifically to the mezzanine floor assembly, the Applicant argues that the application of the flame control mastic coating will provide additional fire-resistance protection to the steel components.

Lastly, it is the Applicant's view that although the Code considers the subject building to be 2 floors, even though the second storey is entirely in the building's other tenancy, which is separated by a 2 h rated fire-separation. The Code, however, does not recognize the mitigating effects of this separation on the spread of fire. Consequently, the 1 h fire-resistance rating for the mezzanine is required through the application of Article 3.2.2.22. Given the circumstances of this building, especially when considering the existence of the 2 h separation, the Applicant feels the higher mezzanine standard could be construed as onerous.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the construction of the mezzanine floor assembly does not meet the requirements of Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b). In particular, they point to Article 3.1.7.1. of the OBC which sets out the determination of fire-resistance ratings. It is their concern that while the mastic coating has been tested according to CAN4-S101-M and has been found to contribute to the fire-resistance ratings of certain assemblies, the particular assembly in question has not been tested and therefore it is impossible to determine the overall rating of the assembly. As well, for the assembly in question it is not possible to apply the mastic coating on all surfaces. This reduces the overall fire-resistancy of the applied coating material.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the mezzanine provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.2.2.22.(2)(b) of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i) The building is sprinklered which is electronically supervised and remotely monitored.

ii) The mezzanine is relatively small in comparison with the size of the building.

iii) A partial flame control mastic coating is being applied to the steel structure supporting the mezzanine to provide additional protection.

iv) The exit capacity for the premises is 3 times what is required based on occupant load.

v) The 2 hr separation is provided between the health club and adjacent occupancy.

vi) It is the opinion of the Building Code Commission that the design does not present an increase hazard to life safety from fire.

Dated at Toronto this 12th day in the month of August in the year 1997 for application number 1997-35

Roy Philippe, Chair

Susan Friedrich

Lawrence Glazer