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BCC Ruling No. 96-15-498

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-15-498

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 9.9.9.1. of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93, 383/94 and 20/95 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Rob Gollanek, The Daniels Corporation, Toronto for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John C. Wright, Chief Building Official, Town of Markham, concerning whether an openable roof window installed on a pitched roof provides sufficiency of compliance with the requirements in Article 9.9.9.1. of the Building Code, at the Reesor's Marmill Townhouse Project, Markham, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Rob Gollanek
Estimator
The Daniels Corporation

RESPONDENT

Mr. John C. Wright
Chief Building Official
Town of Markham

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Michael Lio
Mr. Michael Steele

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

May 16th, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Randal Brown
President
Randal Brown & Associates Ltd.
For the Applicant.

Mr. Chris Bird
Manager, Plan Review
Town of Markham
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Rob Gollanek, Estimator, The Daniels Corporation, Toronto is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a residential townhouse development containing 47 dwelling units situated in nine blocks known as Reesor's Marmill Townhouse Project, Markham, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject project is a residential townhouse development containing 47 dwelling units situated in nine blocks. The blocks contain between three and eight single family dwelling units that range in height between two and three storeys.

The portion of the project that is the subject of this dispute are those units that offer third floor bedrooms, family rooms or dens. The applicant is proposing to use skylights in the roof to satisfy the egress requirements for an openable window from the third storey.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 9.9.9.1. of the Building Code. At issue is whether an openable roof window installed on a pitched roof satisfies the egress requirements for an openable window from the third storey.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 9.9.9.1. Travel Limit to Exits or Egress Doors

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (3), every dwelling unit containing more than one storey shall have a sufficient number of exits or egress doors so that it shall not be necessary to travel up or down more than 1 storey to reach a level served by

  1. an egress door to a public corridor, enclosed exit stair or exterior passageway, or

  1. an exit doorway not more than 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) above adjacent ground level.

  1. Where there is no dwelling unit above or below another dwelling unit, the travel limit from a floor level in a dwelling unit to an exit or egress door may exceed 1 storey where that floor level is served by an openable window providing an unobstructed opening of not less than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in height and 0.55 m (21 5/8 in) in width, located so that the sill is not more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) above the floor and not more than 7 m (23 ft) above adjacent ground level.

  1. The travel limit from a floor level in a dwelling unit to an exit or egress door may exceed 1 storey where that floor level has direct access to a balcony.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that an openable roof window installed on a pitched roof satisfied the egress requirements for an openable window from the third storey.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed use of skylights to satisfy the egress requirements of an openable window from the third floor does not comply with the Building Code. The Respondent submitted that the positioning of the skylights makes egress or rescue from the floor area hazardous to both occupants and fire fighters.

The Respondent submitted that the skylights are located at the rear of the units and open onto the third storey roof which has a 9 in 12 slope. Typically the bottom edge of the proposed skylight is located approximately 2 m (6'-6") horizontally back from the edge of the roof, approximately 2.4 m (8'-0") up the slope of the roof and between 6.83 m and 7.28 m vertically above the finished grade measured at the rear wall of the subject unit. In addition, the skylights are positioned near a proposed roof valley making them not immediately adjacent to the edge of the roof or ground below.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the openable roof window on the pitched and gabled roof does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.9.9.1. of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i. The steepness of the roof and the roof and gable configuration limit the accessibility to the roof window by fire department apparatus.

ii. It is the opinion of the Building Code Commission that the proposal does not achieve the level of occupant safety intended by the Ontario Building Code.

Dated at Toronto, this 16th day, in the month of May, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-15.

Roy Philippe

Michael Lio

Michael Steele