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BCC Ruling No. 96-32-515

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-32-515

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

AND IN THE MATTER OFArticle 3.3.1.17. 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. Doug Clancey, Partner, Katz Webster Clancey Associates, Ottawa for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Les Batson, Chief Building Official, City of Ottawa, concerning whether the height of the existing balustrade and the provision of a temporary canvas awning attached to the inner side of the openings of an existing balustrade will provides sufficiency of compliance with the requirements in Article 3.3.1.17. of the Building Code at the Chateau Laurier Hotel, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Doug Clancey, Partner
Katz Webster Clancey Associates
Ottawa, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Les Batson, P. Eng.
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

K1N 2M7

DATE OF RULING

June 14, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Doug Clancey, Partner
Katz Webster Clancey Associates
Ottawa, Ontario
The Applicant

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

RULING

  1. The Applicant

The Applicant, Mr. Doug Clancey, Partner, Katz Webster Clancey Associates, Ottawa is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to convert an existing terrace into an outdoor dining area at the Chateau Laurier Hotel, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts (i.e. Chateau Laurier Hotel) proposes to provide access from an existing restaurant to an open air terrace for the purposes of outside dining.

The open air terrace is approximately one storey above ground level. The open side of the terrace is protected by an existing granite balustrade that is 39 3/4" - 40" high. The top is approximately 16" wide and openings in the guard vary from 7" to 12 1/2".

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 3.3.1.17. of the Building Code. At issue is the height of the existing balustrade and the provision of a temporary canvas awning attached to the inner side of the openings of an existing balustrade to meet the opening requirements for guards in the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.3.1.17. Guards

  1. A guard not less than 1070 mm (3 ft 6 in) high shall be provided

    1. around each roof to which access is provided for other than maintenance,
    2. at openings into smoke shafts described in Subsection 3.2.6. that are less than 1070 mm (3 ft 6 in) above the floor, and
    3. at each raised floor, mezzanine, balcony, gallery and other locations where the difference in floor elevations is more than 600 mm (235/8 in).

  1. The height of guards on stairs used by the public but not forming part of a required exit shall be not less than 920 mm (3 ft) measured vertically to the top of the guard from a line drawn through the outside edges of the stair nosings and shall be not less 1070 mm than (3 ft 6 in) around landings.

  1. Except as provided in Sentence 3.3.2.8.(4), the size of any opening through a required guard serving a room, stairway or space to which the public is admitted or serving an exterior balcony shall be such as to prevent the passage of a spherical object having a diameter of 100 mm (4 in) in residential occupancies, day care centres, nurseries or other similar type occupancies where children may be present and 200 mm (77/8 in) in other occupancies, unless it can be shown that the location and size of openings that exceed these limits do not present a hazardous condition.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the Chateau Laurier Hotel is a heritage structure. The owners wish to use an existing terrace as a summer dining terrace. The terrace is quite small and will accommodate approximately 30 patrons. New access doors are being provided from an existing restaurant to the terrace.

The Applicant submitted that there is an existing granite guard (i.e. balustrade) protecting the open side of the terrace. The guard is approximately 40" high and has openings as large as 12 1/2".

The Applicant proposed that in keeping with the heritage character of the hotel, the openings in the guard be covered with a temporary coloured canvas awning attached to the inner side. The awning would be removed at the end of the outdoor dining season. The terrace would not be used during other seasons and the doors to the terrace would be locked.

The Applicant submitted that the existing height of the guard is adequate given the large width of its top.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed construction is regulated under Part 11 of the Building Code in accordance with Article 2.1.1.6. Article 11.1.1.3. of the Building Code states that "where an existing building is subject to material alteration...the Building Code is applicable only to those parts of the building that are subject to the material alteration...". The Respondent submitted that in this case the alterations to allow for the installation of the new doors providing access to the terrace are clearly regulated. Additionally, the proposed installation of a canvass barrier behind the existing guardrail may be considered construction and, as such, regulated by the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that although the canvass barrier may address the issue with respect to the openings in the guard they are concerned with the temporary nature of the installation. Given the seasonal use of the terrace, each spring the Hotel would be responsible to install the canvass barrier. The Respondent submitted that except for Restricted Permits which are issued for a specified time and subject to renewal/reapplication, approvals for building permits and occupancy permits are based on permanent solutions.

The Respondent also submitted that they have reservations concerning the guard height falling 2" short of the required 42" height set out in Sentence 3.3.1.17.(1) of the Building Code. Part 11 of the Building Code does not provide a listed Compliance Alternative for these Part 3 requirements.

The Respondent submitted that they do not have the authority to approve the installation requested by the Applicant.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that providing a temporary canvas applied to the inner side of the openings of an existing balustrade on an outside dinning terrace provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.3.1.7. of the Building Code provided that the canvas is in place when the terrace is occupied.

  1. Reasons:

i. Evidence provided by the applicant demonstrated structural sufficiency required by Part 4 of the Building Code.

ii. The existing 16" guard cap provided on the balustrade which is 40" in height compensates for the 2" deficiency from the Building Code height requirement.

iii. The small size of the terrace limits the occupant load.

Dated at Toronto, this 14th day, in the month of June, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-32.

Roy Philippe

Lesia Beznaczuk

Demir Delen