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BCC Ruling No. 96-14-497

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-14-497

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) 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 the Rev. James Woolley, Incumbent, The Incumbent and Church Wardens of St. Thomas a Becket Anglican Church, Mississauga for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Agris Robeznieks, Chief Building Official, City of Mississauga, concerning whether the width of aisles for the addition to the existing church building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) of the Building Code at the St. Thomas a Becket Anglican Church, 3535 South Common Court, Mississauga, Ontario.

APPLICANT

The Rev. James Wooley, Incumbent
The Incumbent and Church Wardens of
St. Thomas a Becket Anglican Church

RESPONDENT

Mr. Agris Robeznieks
Chief Building Official
City of Mississauga

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Ms. Susan Friedrich
Mr. Remus Tsang

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

May 21st, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Murray Ross, Principal
Brown Beck & Ross Architect
For the Applicant.

Mr. Frank Spagnolo
City of Mississauga
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

The Rev. James Woolley, The Incumbent and Church Wardens of St. Thomas a Becket Anglican Church is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an addition consisting of a new worship space for the St. Thomas a Becket Anglican Church, 3535 South Common Court, Mississauga, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject project is a one storey addition consisting of a new worship space, plus new entrance, foyer, and ancillary rooms to be added to the existing church building which is shared by the Anglican and Presbyterian congregations.

The building is classified as a Group A, Division 2 (i.e. church) occupancy. The addition is of combustible construction with an area of 462 m² giving a total building area of 1579 m². The new worship space is provided with fixed bench seating designed for a capacity of 295 people.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) of the Building Code. At issue is the width of aisles in the new worship space.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) Aisles

Aisles shall terminate in a cross aisle, foyer or exit, and the width of such cross aisle, foyer or exit shall be not less than the required width of the widest aisle plus 50 per cent of the total required width of the remaining aisles that it serves.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the subject of this dispute is the seating, aisles and exits from the worship area.

The Applicant submitted that the exit capacity of the worship area is more than adequate for the occupant load, and that the safety of persons using this space will not be diminished by a fixed seating layout instead of an approved non-fixed seating of indeterminate layout.

The Applicant submitted that the aisle with and exit locations provide adequate compliance with the Building Code.

The Applicant submitted that Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) of the Building Code is not appropriately applicable to worship spaces where members regularly use the facility and are familiar with the exits. This Sentence is clearly intended for theatres and cinemas rather than spaces regularly used by same persons.

The Applicant submitted that applying Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) to worship area reduces the seating capacity and negatively affects the liturgical practices of the users.

The Applicant further submitted that they have designed and built many places of worship similar in plan to the current application, and never experienced this Sentence being applied or interpreted in this way.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the reason for nonacceptance of the applicant's proposal is that the cross aisles and exit widths provided by the Applicant do not comply with Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) of the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:


It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the width of the aisles for the addition to the existing church provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.3.2.4.(4) of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

  1. The design provides for 5 exits from the room with exiting capacity for 862 persons, well above the occupant load of 295 and the exits are well distributed.

  1. The required width of aisles based on exiting capacity determinations is maintained to required exits from the room and provide an acceptable level of safety from this area.

  1. The provision of fixed seating does not increase the risk for the space over non fixed seating.

Dated at Toronto, this 21st day, in the month of May, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-12.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Remus Tsang