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BCC Ruling No. 96-17-500

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-17-500

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.1.8.12. 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. Michael Murawnik, Building Manager, Standard Life, Ottawa for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Les Batson, Chief Building Official, City of Ottawa, concerning whether the use of electromagnetic hold-open devices to permit doors to remain open on a constant basis in the north and east tower lobby enclosure will provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.8.12. of the Building Code, at the Canada Post Place, 750 Heron Road, Ottawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Michael Murawnik
Building Manager
Standard Life
Ottawa, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr.Les Batson
Chief Building Official
City of Ottawa

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk
Mr. Demir Delen

PLACE

Novotel Hotel
The Daly Boardroom
33 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

June 14, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Roger F. Poulin
Architect/Client Agent
Roger F. Poulin, Architect/Architecte
For the Applicant

Mr. Chris Freeman
Mr. Neil Dillon
City of Ottawa
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Michael Murawnik, Building Manager, Standard Life, Ottawa is an applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to install electromagnetic hold-open device on certain doors to permit them to remain open at all times during normal working hours at the Canada Post Place, 750 Heron Road, Ottawa, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a noncombustible building consisting of a 10 storey east tower and a 12 storey north tower linked by a two storey section. The building area is 60,385 m². The building is provided with a fire alarm and detection system, automatic sprinkler system, and a standpipe and hose system. Canada Post Corporation is the only tenant of this building. The subject doors that are proposed to be equipped with electromagnetic hold-open devices are identified as follows:

i. The double doors leading down the main corridor, from the North Tower to the East Tower, on the Ground Floor.

ii. The double doors leading down the main corridor, from the East Tower to the North Tower, on the Ground Floor.

iii. The double doors leading down the main corridor, from the East Tower to the North Tower, on the 1st Floor.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 3.1.8.12. of the Building Code. At issue is whether doors in the north and east lobby enclosure may be equipped with electromagnetic hold-open devices to permit them to remain open on a constant basis.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.1.8.12. Hold-Open Devices

1. Listed hold-open devices are permitted on doors in required fire separations, other than exit doors in a building more than 3 storeys in building height and doors in a vestibules required in Article 3.3.5.8., provided they are designed to release the door in conformance with sentences (2) to (4).

2. Except as provided in Sentences (3) and (4), hold-open devices permitted in Sentence (1) shall be designed to release

a. upon a signal from a smoke detector located as described in Appendix B of NFPA 80, "Fire Doors and Windows", or from a smoke detector as required in Sentence 3.2.4.12.(1) for sleeping rooms in Group B occupancies, except that hold-open devices on doors other than exit doors, doors opening into public corridor and egress doors referred to in Sentence 3.4.2.4.(2) are permitted to be released by a sprinkler system or a heat-actuated device provided the door does not serve a group A, Group B or Group C occupancy and is not required to function as part of a smoke control system, and

b. upon a signal from the building fire alarm system where a fire alarm system is provided, except that this requirement does not apply to a hold-open device that is designed to release by a heat-activated device in conformance with Clause (a).

3. In Group F, Division 2 and 3 occupancies, the hold-open devices in Sentence (1) are permitted to be designed to release upon a signal from a smoke detector located as described in Appendix B of NFPA 80, "Fire Doors and Windows".

4. In hospitals and nursing homes, a hold open-device on a door located between a corridor used by the public and an adjacent sleeping room shall be designed to release the door upon a signal from the fire alarm system when an alert signal is initiated within the same zone in Sentence 3.3.3.6.(6) or the same fire compartment in Sentence 3.3.3.7.(2).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the owner/client and the tenant (Canada Post) have requested magnetic hold-open devices be installed on doors in the north and east lobby enclosure. The electromagnetic locking devices would be tied into the fire alarm system, connected to a smoke detection system and would release upon any power failure.

The Applicant submitted that the traffic between both towers is very high and has caused the replacement of hardware as well as doors due to overuse. The doors open within the two storey lobby space at one end and a 5 metre lobby at the other. The City of Ottawa considers the doors to be exit doors.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent considers the door in question to be exit doors.

The Respondent submitted that Sentence 3.1.8.12.(1) prohibits the installation of hold-open devices on exit doors in buildings more than 3 storeys in building height. Exit doorways are identified in Article 3.4.4.4. as permitted openings in exit fire separations and furthermore Article 3.4.4.2. requires exit lobbies to conform to the requirements for exits, except as otherwise permitted.

The Respondent submitted that they are sympathetic to the concerns with respect to the maintenance of the door hardware, but it is not within their authority to permit the installation of the hold-open devices.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that providing electromagnetic hold- open devices on the doors to the exit lobbies in the north and east exit towers provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.1.8.12. of the Building Code provided the magnetic hold-open devices are installed in accordance with Clauses 3.1.8.12.(2)(a)&(b) of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i. Evidence was provided that the lobbies are pressurized limiting smoke movement into this area.

ii. The stairwells are separated from the lobby area by doors having a fire resistance rating as required by the Building Code.

iii. Both towers are sprinklered throughout.

iv. Evidence was provide that the stairwells are protected from smoke movement in accordance with Method "A" for high buildings.

v. Evidence was provided that the high usage of these doors has a detrimental impact on the ability to continue to function as proper closures.

Dated at Toronto, this 14th day, in the month of June, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-18.

Roy Philippe, Chair

Lesia Beznaczuk

Demir Delen