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BCC Ruling No. 96-46-529

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-46-529

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 11.3.4.1.(4) of "the Building Code" (Ontario Regulation 419/89 as amended by Ont. Reg. 183/88, 581/88, 11/89 and 115/89)

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Nick Dimitrakakis, President, 1142907 Ontario Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Ms. Cathie MacDonald, Deputy Chief Building Official, City Hall, Toronto, concerning whether providing sprinkler protection for the basement and ground floor and not upgrading second floor/ceiling assembly for the proposed increase in ground floor restaurant seating from 30 to 49 (eg. change of major occupancy from Group E to Group A-2) provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 11.3.4.1.(4) of the Building Code at 1402 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Nick Dimitrakakis
President
1142907 Ontario Ltd
19 Treadway Blvd
Toronto, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Ms. Cathie MacDonald
Deputy Chief Building Official
City of Toronto

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

November 13th, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. & Mrs. Dimitrakakis
The Applicant

AND
Mr. George Papadopoulos
AND
Mr. David Syrett
Associate
Leber/Rubes
Toronto, Ontario<
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Al Jasinevicius
Building Code/ Plan Examiner
City of Toronto
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Nick Dimitrakakis, President, 1142907 Ontario Ltd. is a person who has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to increase the ground floor seating provided in a restaurant at 1402 Queen Street, Toronto, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is 3 stories high with a ground floor of 370 square metres currently used as a restaurant with a maximum occupant load of 30. The second and third floors are each 129 square metres and contain a total of 7 apartment units. The partial basement contains a hot water boiler. The building is of mixed combustible and non-combustible construction and is not sprinklered. The floor and roof assemblies are generally lath and plaster on the underside of wood joists. The ceiling between the first and second floor consists of lath and plaster with a suspended ceiling of painted gypsum board and lay-in tile. The ceiling in the basement is a combination of exposed wood floor joists in some areas and damaged gypsum board.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 11.3.4.1.(4) of the Ontario Building Code. At issue is whether providing sprinkler protection for the basement and ground floor and not upgrading the second floor/ceiling assembly for the proposed increase in ground floor seating from 30 to 49 provides an equivalent level of performance to that intended by the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 11.3.4.1.(4) Reduction in Performance Level

Except as provided in Sentence (5), where a major occupancy of all or part of an existing building is changed to another major occupancy and the hazard index of the new major occupancy is greater than the construction index of the existing building, upgrading of early warning and evacuation systems and additional upgrading shall be required in conformance with Tables 11.3.1.A., 11.3.1.B., 11.3.1.C. and 11.4.2.A. so that the construction index of the building is increased to at least equal the hazard index of the new major occupancy that the building is to support.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted the following rationale as to why increasing the occupancy load from 30 to 49 does not warrant sprinklers in the basement and ground floor and further upgrading of the of the second floor rating:

The floor between the basement and ground level will be upgraded to provide a 1 hour fire separation.

There are three exterior exit doors at ground level from the ground floor. Two of the exits have less than 15 metre travel distance and lead directly from the seating area in the restaurant to the street.

The partial basement and ground floor do not share exit facilities.

The subject building is closer in size to buildings which have a hazard index of 3 or 4 rather than 6. The building index will be 4 once the proposed work is completed.

The fire separation between the restaurant and the residential use is for the benefit of the residential use and according to 9.5.2.6.(3) of the Ontario Fire Code, an existing membrane of lath and plaster is deemed to meet the required 1 hour fire separation. Fire rated tiles with hold down clips will be installed in place of the suspended ceiling in the restaurant. A 2 hour fire rated ceiling could be provided between the restaurant and residential occupancies.

The building has been upgraded for compliance with the residential retrofit requirements of section 9.5 of the Fire Code. The building has a recently installed fire alarm and detection system and emergency lighting.

The building faces three fire department access routes as opposed to the minimum one required by the Building Code.

A sign indicating maximum occupant load of 49 will be posted in a conspicuous location.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that under the proposal, the building is to be classified as a group A-2 major occupancy. The proposed major occupancy has an assessed hazard index of 6, and the existing building has a construction index of 5 at best, but is more likely to be 4 or 3. To equal the hazard index the building is required to be upgraded by:

  • providing a 1 hour fire resistance rating for the first and second floor assemblies, and;

  • providing a sprinkler system in the basement and on the first floors.

The Respondent acknowledges that there is a large gap between the two major occupancies. The city has many properties that fall within this gap and expect to make proposals to the Ministry on the 1997 Building Code Amendments regarding sprinklers.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the Building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 11.3.4.1.(4) of the Building Code for the proposed increase in seating from 30 to 49 in the ground floor restaurant provided that

i. The fire separation between the basement and first floor has a 1 hour rating and the fire separation between the first and second floor has a 2 hour rating and

ii. The solid core wood door between the kitchen and restaurant is equipped with a listed self closing device.

  1. Reasons:

i. Fire Department access is provided on 3 sides.

ii. Two exits are provided from the dining hall with travel distance of 15m in lieu of 30m required by the Building Code.

iii. The supervised fire alarm system provided exceeds the Building Code requirements as additional thermal detection is provided at the dinning hall.

iv. The subject building is closer in size to buildings which have a hazard index of 3 or 4.

v. The partial basement and ground floor do not share exits with the 2nd and 3rd floors above.

vi. The degree of compartmentation has been increased within the building.

Dated at Toronto, this 13th day, in the month of November, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-50.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Michael Lio