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BCC Ruling No. 96-49-532

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 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. Michael Cowie, President, Self Stor Inc., North York, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Yaman Uzumeri, Building Commissioner, City of North York, Ontario, to determine whether the configuration of the corridors and travel distance for a proposed self storage building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence of the Ontario Building Code at 150 Bermondsey Road, North York, Ontario.


Mr. Michael Cowie Self Stor Inc., North York, Ontario


Mr. Yaman Uzumeri Building Commercial City of North York


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


Toronto, Ontario


November 21st, 1996


Mr. Michael Cowie
& Mr. Mark Cowie
Self Stor Inc.
North York, Ontario
The Applicant
Mr. David Hine
Morrison Hershfield Ltd
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Mario Angellucci
City of North York
For the Respondent
Mr. Melvin Ramkissoon
City of North York
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Michael Cowie, Principal, Self Stor Inc. is a person who has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to provide a self storage facility at 150 Bermondsey Road in North York, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a greater than 5 year old 2 storey industrial building which is proposed to be renovated into a self storage facility. The building area is 3840 square metres, faces 3 streets and is a mix of combustible and non-combustible construction. Travel distance to exits is 35 metres. The individual storage spaces are constructed of steel panels and doors which are 3.06 metres high and are covered by wire mesh. The ceiling is 4 metres high.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentence of the Ontario Building Code. At issue is whether the proposed public corridor provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence Safety Requirements within floor areas

  1. A corridor need not be constructed as a public corridor where the travel distance, measured from inside the rental space to the nearest exit, is not more than 15 m (49 ft 3 in) provided that the corridor walls
    1. are of noncombustible construction,
    2. have no openings other than doors and the doors are of solid construction, and
    3. are continuous from the floor to the underside of the floor above, the ceiling or the roof.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed construction provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code by:

  • being made largely of non-combustible construction;
  • facing 3 streets;
  • having sheet steel walls and doors both on the front and between storage lockers;
  • the installation of a sprinkler system, smoke detectors and a monitored fire alarm system;
  • having fire safety plans in place which include limitations on the substances being stored in the building.

The Applicant further submitted that when compared to other major occupancies (eg. F2) the proposed construction would meet the requirements of the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that a separated corridor provides benefits such as:

  • smoke containment;
  • the minimisation of fire spread; and,
  • assistance in fire fighting because of the increased ability to locate the origin of a fire.

The Respondent further submitted the potential difficulty exists in controlling the substances being stored in the building.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the building provided sufficiency of compliance with Sentence of the Building Code provided that

i. Smoke detectors are provided in the public corridor spaces connected to the fire alarm system

ii. The Fire alarm system is connected to a central monitoring station and

iii. The building is compartmentalized by a minimum of 3 additional zones of approximate equal size by fire separations complete with closures with self closing devices

  1. Reasons:

i. The majority of the building is of non-combustible construction.

ii. 24 gauge sheet steel walls 3.06 metres (10 ft.) in height are provided between each storage unit.

iii. Additional smoke detection is provided in the public corridor system connected to the fire alarm system.

iv. The fire alarm system is monitored by a central monitoring station.

v. Additional containment through compartmentalization will be provided.

vi. Evidence provided indicated a low occupant load.

vii. Sources of ignition are limited. No electrical power is provided directly to each unit and a no smoking policy is in place.

viii. Storage of hazardous materials (i.e. flammable liquid) is restricted by lease agreement.

ix. The fire safety plan is to be posted at each unit.

x. The building is supervised by staff and monitored by a security system.

xi. The storage height is limited by wire mesh ceiling not to impede sprinkler operation.

Dated at Toronto, this 21st day, in the month of November, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-55.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Michael Steele