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BCC Ruling No. 96-13-496

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-13-496

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 2.1.1.11. and Subclause 6.2.1.1.(1)(a)(v) 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. Fred Schiedel, President, Schiedel Construction Incorporated, Cambridge for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bruce Poole, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph, concerning whether ducts in a return air plenum for a commercial building need be insulated and sealed in accordance with Article 2.1.1.11. and Subclause 6.2.1.1.(1)(a)(v) of the Building Code, at Olympic Honda, 995 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Fred Schiedel, President
Schiedel Construction Incorporated

RESPONDENT

Mr. Bruce Poole
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Demir Delen
Mr. Kenneth Bacon

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

April 23rd, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Fred Schiedel Schiedel Construction Incorporated
The Applicant
AND
Mr. Rolland Jonker
O.C.A. Architect Inc.
AND
Mr. Michael Luzar
Michaels Engineering Consultants
For the Applicant.

Mr. Robert Reynen
City of Guelph
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Fred Schiedel, President, Schiedel Construction Incorporated is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a two storey building to be used as an automobile dealership at 995 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is an unsprinklered two storey noncombustible building. The building area is 1158 m². The building does not contain a fire alarm system nor a standpipe and hose system. Air handling ducts are located within a conditioned return air plenum in the office and showroom area. The ducts do not meet the insulation, sealing and leakage test requirements of ASHRAE/IES 90.1-1989, "Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings".

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 2.1.1.11. and Subclause 6.2.1.1.(1)(a)(v) of the Building Code. At issue is whether ducts in a return air plenum for a commercial building need be insulated and sealed in accordance with the requirements of ASHRAE/IES 90.1-1989, "Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings".

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 2.1.1.11. Energy Efficiency

Except for buildings of residential occupancy within the scope of Part 9, farm buildings and areas of buildings intended primarily for manufacturing or commercial or industrial processing, the energy efficiency of all buildings shall be designed to good engineering practice such as described in ASHRAE/IES 90.1-1989, "Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings" and the "Guidelines for the Interpretation of ASHRAE/IES 90.1-1989" issued by the Ontario Buildings Branch of the Ministry of Housing.

Subclause 6.2.1.1.(1)(a)(v) Good Engineering Practice

Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, including related mechanical refrigeration systems, shall be designed, constructed and installed to conform to good engineering practice appropriate to the circumstances such as described in

  1. the ASHRAE Handbooks as follows:

(v) ASHRAE/IES 90.1-1989, "Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings".

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that insulating and sealing the ducts in the conditioned return air plenum will not alter the energy required to condition this space.

The Applicant submitted that the intent of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 is to provide an energy efficient design of the building. The Applicant submitted that although there would be a decrease in temperature to the duct, the system now acts as a heat exchanger. There is a transfer of energy occurring at the duct/plenum interface, not a loss of energy.

The Applicant submitted that based on a cost approach, the amount of energy needed with or without the insulation would be insignificant. This analysis is based on the plenum being part of the system.

The Applicant submitted that on a cost analysis basis, the cost required to install the insulation will not pay for itself in a practical amount of time, if ever.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the Applicant proposed to use exception (b) of Article 9.4.8.3. of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 - 1989 to show that air handling ducts in a return air plenum do not need to be thermally insulated in accordance with Table 9-2.

The Respondent submitted that he does not accept the Applicant's proposal because uninsulated ducts in a ceiling plenum carrying air that has a supply air to ambient air temperature difference of over 15 degrees F will increase energy costs. This is inaccordance with interpretation IC 90.1-1989-7 of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 - 1989 dated April 15, 1992.

The Respondent does not accept the Applicant's proposal because Sentence 9.4.8.4.(b) of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 - 1989 requires that supply ductwork operating at static pressures from 0.25 to 2.0 in water column be sealed accordingly.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the building project provides sufficiency of compliance with Articles 2.1.1.11. and Subclause 6.2.1.1.(1)(a)(v) of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

i. Exception (b) of Article 9.4.8.3. of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 - 1989 permits uninsulated ducts where it can be shown that the heat gain to or heat loss from ducts without insulation will not increase energy costs.

ii. In this application the supply ducts are considered to be located within the conditioned space which they serve.

Dated at Toronto, this 23rd day, in the month of April, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-10.

Roy Philippe

Demir Delen

Kenneth Bacon