Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1996 > BCC Ruling No. 96-35-518

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 96-35-518

Email this page

BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-35-518

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2) and Clause 3.3.1.14.(1)(c) 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. Patrick Chan, President, Kingsberg Far East Ltd., Markham for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Wright, Chief Building Official, Town of Markham, concerning whether the proposed ground floor market style retail outlet with no fire separations between units nor between units and circulation routes where the corridor widths are less than 5 m wide provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2) and Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) of the Building Code at the New Century Plaza, 398 Ferrier Street, Markham, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Patrick Chan
President
Kingsberg Far East Ltd.
Markham, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Wright
Chief Building Official
Town of Markham

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Rick Florio
Mr. Demir Delen

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

August 23rd, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Syrett
Leber/Rubes Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Chee Tung
Structural Engineer
Town of Markham
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Patrick Chan, President, Kingsberg Far East Ltd., Markham is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a two storey addition to an existing two storey commercial building that will contain 114 market style shops on the ground floor at the New Century Plaza, 398 Ferrier Street, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a 4,574 m² two storey addition to an existing 1,630 m² two storey Group A, Division 2 building. The addition consists of a ground floor "market style" retail occupancy (Group E) and two levels of Group F, Division 3 open-air parking with the uppermost level being on the roof of the building.

A two hour fire separation is proposed between the existing two storey building and the proposed addition. Egress for the existing two storey building will be completely independent of the new addition.

The proposed two storey addition will be fully sprinklered and the expanded building will have one fire alarm system.

The fire department access will be provided on all four sides of the building. Access route required by the Building Code will be provided only to the principal building entrance since the building is sprinklered.

Twelve exterior exit doors will be provided at ground level, each having a width of 915 mm. This amounts to a aggregate exit width of 10,980 mm providing exit capacity for 1,800 persons, or 2.3 times the Building Code required exit capacity.

The proposed design also includes the following:

i. The retail shops will be accessible from the circulation aisles, i.e., no rear service corridors.

ii. Shops will not exceed 200 m? or a depth of 25 m and therefore require only one egress doorway as provided in Sentence 3.3.1.5.(1) of the Building Code.

iii. Travel distance from anywhere on the main floor to at least one exit door will not exceed 45 m as required in Sentence 3.4.2.5.(1)(b) of the Building Code.

iv. At the point where a retail shop opens into a circulation aisle, it will be possible to travel in opposite directions to separate exits as required in Sentence 3.3.1.9.(9) of the Building Code.

v. The demising wall between retail shops will be a (i.e., unrated 13 mm gypsum board on both sides of metal studs, joints filled with tape and compound) fire separation continuous from the concrete floor slab to underside of the ceiling.

vi. Circulation aisles will range in unobstructed width from 3.96 m (13 ft) to 4.88 m (16 ft) wide.

vii. Circulation aisles will not be fire separated from the retail shops. Instead, security closures separating the shops from circulation aisles will permit each shop to be visible. Sliding or rolling security screen permitted by Sentence 3.3.1.11.(3) of the Building Code will be provided in lieu of a swinging egress door.

viii. Smoke detection, connected to the fire alarm system, will be spaced not more than 10 m apart in the circulation aisles.

ix. Circulation aisles will be clearly identified as access to exit routes by the use of directional exit signs at each change in direction and by emergency lighting providing at least a average illumination of 10 lx floor level as required in Articles 3.4.5.1. ad 3.2.7.3. of the Building Code.

x. Building Security and operation for all occupants is provided by building owners so that all floor areas are controlled as if they are occupied by only one tenant.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2) and Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) the Building Code. At issue is the proposed ground floor market style retail layout with no fire separation between units nor between units and circulation routes where the corridor widths are 5 m or less in width.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 1.1.3.2. Definition of Suite

Suite means a single room or series of rooms of complementary use, operated under single tenancy, and includes dwelling units, individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses and dormitories as well as individual stores and individual or complementary rooms for business and personal services occupancies.

Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2) Separations of Suites

1. Except as permitted by Sentence (2), each suite in other than business and personal services by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 h, except that a fire resistance rating of not less than 45 min is permitted where the fire-resistance rating of the floor assembly is not required in Subsection 3.2.2. to be more than 45 min. (See also Subsection 3.3.3. for institutional occupancies, Article 3.3.4.2. for residential occupancies and Article 3.1.8.7. for fire dampers.)

2. In sprinklered buildings, suites of business and personal services occupancy and mercantile occupancy that are served by public corridors conforming with Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) are not required to be separated from each other by fire separations.

Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) Public Corridor Separations

Except as otherwise required in this Part, public corridors shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 hour except that

  1. the fire-resistance rating need not be more than 45 min when the fire resistance rating of the floor assembly is not required to be more than 45 min,

  1. no fire-resistance rating is required when the floor area is sprinklered and the corridor does not serve an institutional occupancy or a residential occupancy,

  1. no fire separation is required in a sprinklered floor area where,

  1. the corridor is more than 5 m in unobstructed width, and

  1. the corridor does not serve an institutional occupancy or a residential occupancy,

  1. a floor assembly above a crawl space that is not considered a basement in Sentence 3.2.2.5.(2) is not required to be a fire separation, and

  1. no fire separation is required in a sprinklered floor area where an occupancy in the corridor conforms to the requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.9.(6).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant proposed that the main floor market style layout be considered equivalent to a department store or exhibition hall rather than each retail shop being a separate suite.

The Applicant submitted that increasing the proposed circulation isles (that range from 3.96 to 4.88 m) to more than 5 m would not be economically viable and constructing unrated fire separations between the shops and circulation isles would defeat the market style concept that is proposed for the ground floor.

The Building Code requires a 1 hour fire separation between shops because the circulation aisles will not exceed 5 m in unobstructed width. No fire separation is required by the Code where the corridor exceeds 5 m in width. A fire separation, continuous from the floor slab to underside of the ceiling, consisting of a layer of unrated 13 mm gypsum board on both sides of metal studs is proposed in this case. The joints will be filled with tape and compound.

The Applicant submitted that it is reasonable to consider the proposed market style retail floor similar to a department store or other indoor market style layout (i.e. St. Lawrence Market) because the proposed retail shops can not operate independently in terms of building systems and security as could be the case in conventional multiple suite floor areas such as those found in office and residential buildings.

The Applicant submitted that each retail shop is a condominium and therefore separately owned, however, the operations and security for the retail floor area will be similar to a department store. The circulation aisles will be more clearly defined in this case by the circulation aisles compared to a department store layout which will reduce the likelihood that access to exit routes could become partially obstructed. The market style layout will in some ways be better than a department store, merchandising layouts and circulation aisles can not be changed or obstructed.

Furthermore, the Applicant submitted that the proposed conditions provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code for the suite and corridor separation provided:

i. proposed aggregate exit width of 10,890 mm for ground floor, provides 2.3 times the Building Code required aggregate exit width of 4,776 mm;

ii. smoke detection, connected to the fire alarm system will be spaces not more that 10 m apart in the circulation isles;

iii. several choices in direction of exit travel in parts of the circulation route compared to conventional shopping mall where there may only be a choice of two directions of exit travel; and,

iv. a signed fire truck route be provided on all four sides of the expanded building.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the ground floor retail area will contain a undetermined number of Group E condominium units. In the opinion of the Respondent, each condominium unit is by definition a suite and must therefore conform to all applicable requirements of the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that Sentence 3.3.1.3.(8) requires each suite to have an exterior exit door or a doorway into a public corridor or to an exterior passageway. Therefore, the aisles between suites on the subject floor area must be designed as public corridors conforming to the requirements of Section 3.3 of the Building Code.

The Respondent submitted that in sprinklered buildings where Group E suites are served by a public corridor greater than 5.0 m in width, no fire separation is required between the suites (Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2)) and furthermore, no fire separation is required between the suite and the corridor (Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(b)).

Furthermore, the Respondent submitted that the public corridors proposed by the Applicant range in width from 4.0 m to 4.8 m. Therefore, the Building Code requires suites to be separated from each other by 1 hour fire separations (Sentence 3.3.1.1.(1)) and be separated from the public corridors by at least a nonrated fire separation (Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(b)).

The Respondent submitted that the Applicant is proposing to eliminate the fire separation between suites and to eliminate the fire separation between the suites and the public corridor. Therefore, the proposal does not comply with the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that not providing fire separations between units, and units and circulation routes on the ground floor of a market style retail mall where the corridor widths are less than 5 m provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.1.(2) and Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) of the Building Code provided:

i. The travel distance from any point in a suite to an exit does not exceed 45 metres.

ii. The common areas operate as a market style retail space operated by a condominium management.

iii. The aisle location, spacing and exit widths that have been provided are maintained.

iv. Security closures separating units from the circulation corridors permit the interior of the stores to be visible.

  1. Reasons:

i. The exit capacity has been designed to accommodate 2.3 times the Building Code required width.

ii. The aisles or access to exits provide several choices in direction of exit travel in parts of the circulation route compared with conventional shopping malls.

iii. Smoke detectors connected to the fire alarm system spaced not more than 10 m apart are provided in the corridors.

iv. Fire access routes are provided on all four sides of the building.

Dated at Toronto, this 23rd day, in the month of August, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-38.

Roy Philippe

Rick Florio

Demir Delen