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BCC Ruling No. 97-12-554

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence and Sentence 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 Bate, President, John Bate & Company Ltd., London, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Mani Navabi, Chief Building Official, City of Vaughan concerning whether the fire fighting access requirements of Sentences and Sentence of the Building Code should apply to the Atlas Cold Storage at 316 Aviva Park Drive, Vaughan, Ontario.


Mr. John Bate
John Bate & Co. Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario


Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan


Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Rick Florio
Mr. Cliff Youdale


Toronto, Ontario


Thursday, May 8th, 1997


Mr. John Bate
John Bate & Co. Ltd.
Toronto, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Steve Penna
Technical Supervisor
City of Vaughan
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. John Bate, President, John Bate & Co. Ltd. is a person who has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a freezer warehouse at Atlas Cold Storage Vaughan Limited, Vaughan, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The subject building is a one storey freezer warehouse of F2 major occupancy with a building area of 5,495 square metres (59,148 sq ft). The unsprinklered building is of non-combustible construction and is to be held at a continuous temperature of (-20 degrees F).

  1. Dispute

The issue under dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the building is required to have access panels for fire fighting purposes adjacent to the fire routes on the east and north sides of the building in accordance with Article

  1. Provisions of the Building Code Access to Above Grade Storeys

(1) Except for storeys below the first storey, direct access for fire fighting shall be provided from the outdoors to every storey having its floor level less than 25 m (82 ft) above grade by not less than one unobstructed window or access panel for each 15m (49 ft 3 in) of wall in each wall required to face a street in Subsection 3.2.2.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that it is impractical to place access panels every 15 metres around the perimeter of the building for fire fighting because: vandals would be able to enter the building; access to the panels would be blocked by contents of the warehouse; openings would increase the risk of vapour entry in the freezer; and, dimensions for the height of the sill imply that windows were presumed to be part of the structure which does not apply to a freezer warehouse.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that Article requires access to the first storey of this building for fire fighting purposes every 15 metres along the faces of the building adjacent to the fire route. The Chief Building Official also submitted that the Applicant has not proposed any alternative measures.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence and (2) of the Building Code on the conditions that;

i. A fire alarm system conforming to 3.2.4. of the building is installed with fire, heat or smoke detection throughout the freezer and the system shall be designed to notify the fire department as required by of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i. The fire alarm system and central connection to the fire department will increase notification of a fire condition in the building and reduce fire department response.

ii. Although not conforming to the specific locations for access for fire fighting outlined in and (2) access is available from the exterior on 3 sides and from the loading dock to the south.

iii. The occupant load of the building is low (2 - 6) persons.

iv. The low operating temperatures (-20 degrees F) may have an effect in reducing the development of fire growth.

Dated at Toronto this 8th day in the month of May in the year 1997 for application number 1997-15.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Rick Florio

Cliff Youdale