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BCC Ruling No. 96-16-499

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-16-499

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.1.7.(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 Ms. Gloria Taylor, Clerk Administrator, The Corporation of the Town of Paris, Paris for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ron Rashleigh, Chief Building Official, Town of Paris, concerning whether the installation of a fire alarm system, implementation of a fire safety plan and a fire department response time of not more than three minutes will provide sufficiency of compliance with the requirement to provide a fire-fighters elevator or divide the floor area into 2 zones in accordance with Sentence 3.3.1.7.(1) of the Building Code, at the Paris Library, 12 William Street, Paris Ontario.

APPLICANT

Ms. Gloria Taylor
Clerk Administrator
Town of Paris

RESPONDENT

Mr. Ron Rashleigh
Chief Building Official
Town of Paris

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Remus Tsang

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

May 21st, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Bruce Rankin
Project Manager
Rankin Architect Inc.
For the Applicant.

Mr. Ron Rashleigh
Chief Building Official
Town of Paris
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Ms. Gloria Taylor, Clerk Administrator, Town of Paris is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a two storey addition to the public library at 12 William Street, Paris, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a two storey noncombustible addition to an existing public library. An elevator serves both the existing and new addition.

The building area of the existing portion (i.e. 231.4 m²) and the addition (i.e. 226.4 m²) is 457.8 m². A complete fire alarm system is installed throughout the building.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.7.(1) of the Building Code. At issue is the installation of a fire alarm system, provision of a fire safety plan and a fire department response time of three minutes in lieu of providing a fire-fighters elevator or dividing the floor area into 2 zones by fire separations.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.3.1.7.(1) Protection on Floor Areas with a Barrier-Free Path of Travel

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (3), where a barrier- free path of travel is provided above or below the first storey in a building, every floor area having access shall

    1. be served by an elevator conforming to Sentences 3.2.6.9.(4) to (6), protected against fire in conformance with Clauses 3.2.6.9.(3)(b) or (c) and, in a building over 3 storeys in building height, protected against smoke movement in conformance with Sentence 3.2.6.2.(4) or
    2. be divided into not less than 2 zones by fire separations conforming to Sentences 3.3.3.6.(8) and (9) so that

i. persons with physical disabilities can be accommodated in each zone,

ii. the travel distance from any point in one zone to a doorway leading to another zone shall be not more than the value for travel distance permitted by Sentence 3.4.2.5.(1) for the occupancy classification of the zone, and

iii. a barrier-free path of travel is provided to an exit.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that based on the following Sentence 3.3.1.7.(1) of the Building Code should not be applied to this building:

  • The building area of 457.84 m² is less than half the 1,000 m² permitted in Sentence 3.2.2.21.(1) of the Building Code.

  • The travel distance of 14 m is less than one half of the 30 m allowed under Clause 3.4.2.5.(1)(f) of the Building Code.

  • The total occupant load of the entire building is never expected to exceed a maximum of 50 persons.

  • The existing 92 year old building was completely brought up to current Building Code standards during the project.

  • The addition is constructed of noncombustible construction.

  • A complete fire alarm system, although not required by Article 3.2.4.1. is installed throughout the building.

  • The fire safety plan requires two staff to jointly search the building for occupants in the event of a fire alarm. Trials show that this can be accomplished in two minutes.

  • The fire department can respond within thee minutes of an alarm and remove disabled occupants without the use of the elevator.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that a two storey addition to the original library includes an elevator serving both the existing and new addition. The elevator permits barrier free access thereby requiring the provision of protection on floor areas in accordance with Clauses 3.3.1.7.(1)(a) or (b) of the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that the municipality does not have the authority to permit a condition that deviates from the Building Code. The use of equivalents regulated by Section 2.7 of the Building Code is not applicable.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the current design of the library addition provides sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of Sentence 3.3.1.7.(1) of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i. A fire alarm system is provided for the building in excess of the Building Code requirements of Section 3.2.4.

ii. The fire alarm system is monitored to notify the fire department in accordance with article 3.2.4.7. of the Building Code.

iii. A fire safety plan has been prepared designating supervisory staff and outlining the responsibilities for the safety of the physically challenged until the fire department arrives.

iv. The Applicant stated that the exit stairwell design permits the stairwell enclosure to be used as an area of refuge at all levels without impacting on the exiting.

v. The fire department response time has been measured and will be less than 3 minutes in a fire emergency.

vi. The building is small in size with a limited occupant load.

Dated at Toronto, this 21st day, in the month of May, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-16.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Remus Tsang