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BCC Ruling No. 97-10-552

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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. Edward Vigmond & Darlene Rigo, Home Owners, 340 Crawford Street, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms Pamela Coburn, Chief Building Official, City of Toronto, Ontario concerning whether an exterior spiral stair not required as an exit and with a minimum run of 123 mm (4-7/8 in), provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code at 340 Crawford Street, Toronto, Ontario.


Mr. Edward Vigmond & Darlene Rigo
Home Owners
340 Crawford Street
Toronto, Ontario


Ms Pamela Coburn
Chief Building Official
City of Toronto


Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Ross Thomson PLACE

Toronto, Ontario


Thursday, April 10th, 1997


Mr. David Winterton

Toronto, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Edward Vigmond &
Darlene Rigo
The Applicant


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Edward Vigmond was issued a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate a house at 340 Crawford Street, Toronto, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The subject building is a residential 2 1/2 storey attached house. The proposed construction is to convert the 3 unit house to 2 units and as part of that work to construct a roof deck and exterior spiral stair from the roof deck to grade at the rear of the house.

  1. Dispute

The issue under dispute is whether the exterior spiral stair meets the minimum run requirements of Article

  1. Provisions of the Building Code Curved Stairs Not in Exits

Except as permitted in Article, a curved stair not required as an exit shall have an average run of not less than 200 mm (7 7/8 in) and a minimum run of 150 mm (5 7/8 in) and shall have risers conforming to Article

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the stair is not required as a means of egress, that the building has other code complying stairs, that there is a lockable gate at the top of the stair and a chain at the bottom, and, the stair is installed for occasional use as access to the rear garden, garage and alley. The Applicant further stated that because of the constricted lot size a straight run of stairs would have reduced the usable space in the already small rear yard.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Chief Building Official submitted that the spiral stair does not comply with the minimum run requirements specified in The Chief Building Official further submitted a sketch showing that while the tread width is 123 mm (4-7/8 in) the usable tread width at the centre post when going down the stair is effectively reduced to 0 because of the overhang of the upper tread.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the exterior spiral stair not required as an exit stair provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Building Code provided that;

i) A barrier consisting of a projection from the centre post is installed to ensure minimum run of 5-7/8" at the upper most tread only and;

ii) The barrier is to extend vertically from the upper most tread to the top of the centre post.

  1. Reasons:

i) This is a secondary stair and access is limited by a gate at the top.

ii) The provision of the barrier will direct movement down the stair to the wider part of the tread.

iii) The stair has been in use for approximately 2 years by the owners.

Dated at Toronto this 10th day in the month of April in the year 1997 for application number 1997-10

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Ms. Susan Friedrich

Mr. Ross Thomson