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BCC Ruling No. 97-02-544

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #97-02-544

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4) 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. Lawrence Carter, Architect, Architecture Incorporated, Waterloo, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Jim Witmer, Chief Building Official, City of Kitchener, concerning whether adding a mezzanine to an existing building such that the total area of the mezzanine would be 12.5% of the building area complies with Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4) of the Ontario Building Code at Kuntz Electroplating, 851 Wilson Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Lawrence Carter
Architect
Architecture Incorporated
Waterloo, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Jim Witmer
Chief Building Official
City of Kitchener

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Demir Delen

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

February 26th, 1997

APPEARANCES

Mr. Lawrence Carter
Architect
Architecture Incorporated
Waterloo, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Jim Witmer
Chief Building Official
City of Kitchener
The Respondent

Mr. Michael Seiling
Plan Examiner
City of Kitchener
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Lawrence Carter, Architecture Incorporated Architect, is a holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an addition to join two existing industrial buildings and add a second floor/mezzanine, at Kuntz Electroplating, Kitchener, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The proposed construction is an addition to join two existing one storey industrial buildings with an F3 major occupancy. Plant 1 has an overall building area of 18,112 square metres. The total area of the joined buildings would create an overall building area of 24,241 square metres. The construction also involves an additional mezzanine of 820 square metres. The proposed mezzanine which includes visual obstructions would result in a total mezzanine area of 12.6% of the combined total building area and 9.6% of the Plant 1 area and proposed addition. The building is a mixture of combustible and non-combustible construction, with the newer areas of non-combustible construction having a sprinkler system and standpipe and hose system.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4) of the Ontario Building Code. At issue is whether the construction is to be considered a mezzanine or second storey and therefore whether fire separations and exits are required.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.1.1. Exceptions to Building Height in Storeys

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (4), (5) and (8), a mezzanine shall not be considered as a storey in calculating the building height provided
    1. the aggregate area of the mezzanine floor is not more than 40 per cent of the area of the room or storey in which it is located,
    2. it is used as an open floor area except as provided in Sentence 3.3.2.11.(2), and
    3. the space above the mezzanine floor has no visual obstructions more than 1070 mm (3 ft 6 in) above such floors.
  2. Except as provided in Sentence (5), a mezzanine shall not be required to be considered as a storey in calculating building height and need not conform to Sentence (3) where the aggregate area of the mezzanine floor does not exceed 10 per cent of the area of
  1. the suite in which it is located, where there is more than one suite in the storey, or
  2. the storey in which it is located, in all other cases

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that if Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4) of the Building Code are not mutually exclusive, the floor area requirements of a mezzanine are not exceeded by the proposed construction. The Applicant further submitted that if the floor area percentages are exclusive and the proposed construction exceeds the 10% floor space limit by 2.5%, then factors such as: non-combustible construction; heat detectors and sprinklering in the metal polishing areas; fire alarm system; low occupant loads; fire hose cabinets; and, trained volunteer Emergency Response Team, all contribute to provide sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and (4) are to be considered separately from each other and that unless there is a fire wall provided between Plant 1 and Plant 3 the aggregate area of the mezzanine would be 12.5% of the total combined floor area, and the proposed mezzanine should be considered as a second storey for the purposes of calculating building height and assessing required fire separations and exiting requirements.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the addition of a mezzanine to the existing building to bring the aggregate area of unenclosed and enclosed mezzanines to 12.5% provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences 3.2.1.1.(3) and 3.2.1.1.(4) of the Building Code, provided that Plant 1 is separated from Plant 3 by a 2 hour rated fire separation.

  1. Reasons:

i. The percentage of unenclosed and enclosed mezzanines in Plant 1 is approximately 10%.

ii. Fire emergency procedures with extensive communication systems, early detection and an industrial fire brigade enhance early warning and suppression capabilities.

iii. Stand pipe and hose systems are provided through the complex and large portions of the building are sprinklered.

iv. The occupant loads for the mezzanines are low considering storage and automated manufacturing use.

Dated at Toronto, this 26th day, in the month of February, in the year 1997, for application number 1996-61.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Demir Delen