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BCC Ruling No. 96-33-516

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-33-516

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences 9.9.4.2.(1) and Article 9.10.14.11. 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. Sandra Nadalini Gunn, Director, 1034177 Ontario Ltd., Woodbridge, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Mani Navabi, Chief Building Official, City of Vaughan, concerning whether the separation of exits from the basement and the construction of the south exposing building face provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.9.4.2.(1) and Article 9.10.14.11. of the Ontario Building Code at 7930 Kipling Avenue, Woodbridge, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Ms. Sandra Nadalini Gunn, Director
1034177 Ontario Ltd.

RESPONDENT

Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Michael Lio

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

September 11th, 1996

APPEARANCES

Ms. Sandra Nadalini Gunn, Director
1034177 Ontario Ltd.
The Applicant

Mr. Mani Navabi
Chief Building Official
City of Vaughan
The Respondent

Mr. Steve Penna
Supervisor of Plan Review
City of Vaughan
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Ms. Sandra Gunn, 1034177 Ontario Ltd. is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a single family dwelling (i.e. house) at 7930 Kipling Avenue, Woodbridge, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a three storey house with an attached garage.

Upon completion of the house, the Applicant applied for and received a zoning by-law amendment to permit the use of an office on the first floor. No additional construction was proposed for the office use.

The Respondent issued a deficiency letter to the Applicant requiring the following remedial work be under taken:

i. Existing window openings in the south elevation of the building must be closed in with similar face brick.

ii. Existing exits from the basement are to be protected by a 30 minute fire separation. (Existing exit into garage will be allowed if a clear path to the main door through the garage is maintained.)

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.9.4.2.(1) and Article 9.10.14.11. of the Building Code. At issue is whether the stairway from the basement need be constructed as an exit and if the existing window openings in the south exposing building face must be closed in with similar face brick.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 9.9.4.2.(1) Fire Separation for Exits

Except as provided in Sentence (5) and Article 9.9.8.5., every exit other than an exit doorway, shall be separated from each adjacent floor area or from another exit by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the floor assembly above the floor area. (See Article 9.10.9.10.)

Article 9.10.14.11. Construction of Exposing Building Face

Except as permitted in Articles 9.10.14.12. to 9.10.14.16., each exposing building face and any exterior wall located above an exposing building face that encloses an attic or roof space shall be constructed in conformance with Table 9.10.14.B. and Subsection 9.10.8.

Table 9.10.14.B.
Forming Part of Article 9.10.14.11

Minimum Construction Requirements for Exposing Building Faces

Occupancy Classification of Building

Maximum Precentage of Uprotected Openings Premitted

Minimum Required Fire-Resistance Rating

Type of Construction Required

Type of Cladding Required

Residental, business and personal services, and low hazard industrial

Not more than 10

1h

Noncombustible

Noncombustible

More than 10 but not more than 25

1h

Combustible or noncombustible

Noncombustible

More than 25 but not more than 100

45min

Combustible or noncombustible

Combustible or Noncombustible

Mercantile and medium hazard industrial

Not more than 10

2h

Noncombustible

Noncombustible

More than 10 but not more than 25

2h

Combustible or Noncombustible

Noncombustible

More than 25 but not more than 100

1h

Combustible or Noncombustible

Combustible or Noncombustible

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Column 4

Column5

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that when the first building permit was issued, it was for residential use and the amount of windows on the south side of the building was not a problem.

The Applicant submitted that since the zoning by-law was amended to a allow the operation of a business in 40% of the building, the windows in the residential area must be enclosed. There is only one 5' x 6' window in the commercial floor on the south side of the building. All other windows are for residential use. The Applicant submitted that the windows should be allowed for light and ventilation purposes.

The Applicant submitted that there are two stair ways in the basement, one in the front and one in the back. The back stair way is already enclosed so the front exit is the one in question. The Applicant proposed to install a fire rated door at the bottom of the front stair case and drywall both stair cases on the underside with two sheets of 5/8" fire rated drywall which should provide a 2 hour fire resistance rating.

The Applicant submitted that the rezoning By-law and the Site Plan Agreement were finalized after the entire building was fully constructed.

In summary the Applicant submitted that the professional office that is set up in their household is by appointment only. There are no line ups and it is not a walk in retail outlet. The office area in the home is very minimal compared to the residential occupancy. With all the advertising in the media promoting working at home, the items that are being disputed should be of minor concern. There are many households operating businesses out of their own homes which permit small businesses to survive.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that a building permit was issued to construct a single family dwelling on October 1, 1993. On November 28, 1994 a letter of credit release inspection was conducted by the area building inspector which revealed that the first floor was being used as an office. On August 28, 1995 a permit application was submitted by the owner to allow the office in the first floor. No construction was proposed. On November 7, 1995 a deficiency letter was issued to the owner requiring certain upgrades to the building to allow the use of an office on the first floor.

The Respondent submitted that a 30 minute fire separation is required around the easterly exit stair leading directly to the outdoors. Also, the existing openings in the south elevation must be closed to have a 1 hour fire resistance rating and be constructed of noncombustible construction and clad with noncombustible cladding in accordance with Table 9.10.14.B. of the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that since this is an existing building constructed of combustible construction it would be impractical to re-construct the exterior wall with noncombustible materials. Therefore, it was decided that since this wall was clad with 4" face brick it would be allowed to be of combustible construction provided all existing openings on the south wall were closed in with similar face brick.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the exits from the basement provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 9.9.4.2.(1) of the Building Code and it is the opinion of the Building Code Commission that the requirements of Article 9.10.14.11. to the exposing building face are not applicable.

  1. Reasons:

i. Evaluation under Part 10 of the Building Code does not require evaluation of spatial separations.

ii. There are 2 non-conforming exists from the basement level, which are well separated leading through separate fire compartments on the 1st floor level to the exterior. The building is of a size where only one exit is required.

iii. The building is equipped with smoke alarms and heat detection which are monitored.

iv. The building is operated by a single tenancy.

Dated at Toronto, this 11th day, in the month of September, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-35.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Michael Lio