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BCC Ruling No. 97-11-553

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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 Ms Fung Ching Chan, Owner, Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bernie Roth, Chief Building Official, City of Scarborough concerning whether a spiral stair which is a secondary exit provides sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Building Code at 196 Carolbreen Square, Scarborough, Ontario.


Ms Fung Ching Chan
Scarborough, Ontario


Mr. Bernie Roth
Chief Building Official
City of Scarborough


Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Doug Clancey
Mr. Demir Delen


Toronto, Ontario


Thursday, April 24th, 1997


Ms Fung Ching Chan
Scarborough, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Bernie Roth
Chief Building Official
City of Scarborough
The Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Ms Fung Ching Chang, owner, is a person to whom an Order to Comply was issued under the Building Code Act, 1992 to remove a circular stair, at 196 Carolbreen Square, Scarborough Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The subject building is a 2 storey house with a building area of 167 square metres (1800 sq ft). A spiral stair with a run less than 150 mm has been installed between the basement and the first floor.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Article of the Ontario Building Code. At issue is whether the run on the spiral stair provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  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 basement is a walkout basement and has a patio door which serves as the main exit, and that there is an additional exterior stair from the basement to another patio door serving the main floor level. The Applicant further submitted that the stair has been in use for more than one year.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the spiral stair was installed instead of a curved stair as noted on the original permit drawings, and that the spiral stair does not meet the requirements of because the stair run at the narrow end is tapered to significantly less than the minimum required 150 mm. The Respondent further submitted that while there are ample exits from each floor the spiral stair is the only internal connection between the basement and main floor.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the installed spiral stair which is not required as an exit, does not comply with the requirements of Article of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i) The stair is the only interior communicating stair from this basement to the first floor.

ii) Non complying stair geometry may impose an increased likelihood of injury.

iii) No alternatives were proposed for sufficiency of compliance.

Dated at Toronto this 24th day in the month of April in the year 1997 for application number 1996-68.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Doug Clancey

Demir Delen