Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1997 > BCC Ruling No. 97-18-560

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 97-18-560

Email this page


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. John Ward, Owner, Country Produce Orillia Ltd., P.O. Box 18, 301 Westmount Drive North, Orillia, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Rick Bullick, Chief Building Official, City of Orillia, concerning whether the subject building is required to be sprinklered in accordance with Article of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) at Country Produce Orillia Ltd., 301 Westmount Drive North, City of Orillia, Ontario.


Mr. John Ward
Country Produce Orillia Ltd.
P.O. 18
Orillia, Ontario

Mr. Rick Bullick
Chief Building Official
City of Orillia

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Demir Delen
Mr. Lawrence Glazer

Toronto, Ontario

Thursday, June 12th, 1997

Mr. John Ward, Owner
Country Produce
Orillia Ltd.
The Applicant

Mr. Rod Young
Roderick H. Young
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Rick Bullick
Chief Building Official
City of Orillia
The Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. John Ward, Owner, Country Produce Orillia Ltd., is a person who has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate an existing commercial retail facility by constructing an addition on the east side of the building at Country Produce Orillia Ltd., City of Orillia, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The existing retail facility is described as a 1 storey building, facing 2 streets, constructed mostly from noncombustible material. Fifteen percent of the existing building has a combustible roof structure. The building is classified as a Group E, mercantile occupancy under the OBC. The area of the existing building is 1,302 m2. The structure does not have a fire alarm system, a standpipe and hose system, nor a sprinkler system. It is currently being used as a fresh produce retail outlet.

The applicant proposes to attach a 1 storey, 280 m2 addition to the existing building. The total area of the proposed structure would be 1,582 m2. They are not proposing to include sprinklers throughout the facility as a result of this construction.

  1. Dispute

The issue under dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the proposed enlarged building, without sprinklers, provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the 1990 Ontario Building Code. The renovated building would exceed the allowable floor area for an unsprinklered, 1 storey mercantile building, facing 2 streets by 86 m2. (The area allowable under Article is 1,496 m2, while the renovated structure they are proposing would be 1,582 m2.)

  1. Provisions of the Building Code Mercantile Buildings, up to 3 Storeys

(1) A building classified as Group E shall conform to Sentence (2) provided the building

(a) is not more than 3 storeys in building height, and

(b) has a building area not more than the value in Table 3.2.2.M.

(2) The building shall be of combustible or non-combustible construction used either singly or in combination, and

(a) floor assemblies shall be fire separations with a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,

(b) mezzanines shall have, if of combustible construction, a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,

(c) roof assemblies shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min, except that in buildings not more than 1 storey in building height, the fire-resistance rating is permitted to be waived provided the roof assembly is of noncombustible construction or is constructed as a fire-retardant treated wood roof system conforming to Article, and

(i) if unsprinklered, the building area is not more than 1 500 m2 (16,100 ft2), and

(ii) if sprinklered, the building area is not more than 2 400 m2 (25,800 ft2) if facing 1 street,

3 000 m2 (32,300 ft2) if facing 2 streets, or

3 600 m2 (38,800 ft2) if facing 3 streets,

(d) all loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting as assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min or shall be of noncombustible construction, except that such members and assemblies supporting a fire separation shall have a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the supported assembly.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed renovation of the Country Produce Orillia building should be considered as providing sufficiency of compliance with Article As they note, the combined area of the expanded building will be only 86 m2, or 5.75% over the maximum building area allowed without sprinklers. They also point out that the occupant load is relatively low. In addition, only approximately 60% of the building is open to the public, meaning that the sizeable rear portion of the structure has an even lower occupant load. As well, all exits are at grade enabling quick evacuation and good fire fighting access.

The applicants argue that it is impractical to install a sprinkler system due to construction difficulties and a lack of adequate water supply service. To mitigate the absence of sprinklers, it is proposed that an interconnected smoke detection system be installed in the non-public areas of the building.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed renovation would enlarge the subject building beyond the allowable unsprinklered limit as set out in Article They concur with the applicant regarding their rationale that the expanded Country Produce Orillia structure would provide sufficiency of compliance with the OBC, however, they believe they do not have the authority to accept such a proposal.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed addition provides sufficiency of compliance with Article without sprinklers provided that 1) that interconnected smoke alarms are installed in the staff/support areas of the building, and 2) that work area is separated from the remainder of the building by a 1 hour fire separation through the installation of closures having a 45 min. fire protection rating.

  1. Reasons:

i) The total area of the building in this category requiring sprinklers is only 87 m2 or approximately 6% above the maximum area.

ii) Increased early warning detection and alarm is provided in the building.

iii) The building is a single storey with no basement with access for fire fighting directly at grade from three access routes.

iv) The addition is non combustible construction.

v) The building is subdivided by separation having a 1 hour fire protection rating.

Dated at Toronto this 12th day in the month of June in the year 1997 for application number 1997-33.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Demir Delen

Lawrence Glazer