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BCC Ruling No. 96-09-492

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-09-492

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.3.1.1. 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. Larry Balaban, Vice- President Real Estate, Chapters Inc. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Antonio W. Chow, Chief Building Official, City of Etobicoke, concerning whether a fire separation is required between two warehousing areas, in accordance with Article 3.3.1.1. of the Building Code, at 90 Ronson Drive, Etobicoke, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Larry Balaban
Vice-President Real Estate
Chapters Inc.
Rexdale, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Antonio W. Chow
Chief Building Official
City of Etobicoke

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe
Ms. Lesia Beznaczuk
Ms. Susan Friedrich

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

April 15th, 1996

APPEARANCES

Mr. Larry Balaban
V.P. Real Estate
Charters Inc. AND
Ms. Louise Trudell-Kruithof
V.P. Engineering
PPL Professional Services Inc.
For the Applicant

Mr. Antonio W. Chow
Chief Building Official
AND
Mr. Robert Sumi
Building Engineer
City of Etobicoke
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Larry Balaban, Vice-President Real Estate is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct alterations to an existing office space and warehouse storage area at 90 Ronson Drive, Etobicoke, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a sprinklered one storey noncombustible warehouse with subsidiary office space that is classified as a Medium Hazard Industrial Occupancy (Group F, Division 2). The building area is 7710 m².

The Applicant proposed to enlarge their office space and construct a new wall separating the expanded office area from the warehouse storage area.

There is an existing wire fence separating the warehouse area from an adjoining warehouse space operated by another tenant. The municipal building department have issued an order to comply requesting the applicant erect a 1 hour fire separation between the two tenancies.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 3.3.1.1. of the Building Code. At issue is whether the existing chain link fence separating two tenants within a warehouse area must be replaced with a 1 hour fire separation.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.3.1.1. Separation of Suites

  1. Except as permitted by Sentence (2), each suite in other than business and personal services occupancies shall be separated from adjoining suites 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 in 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 Articles 3.1.8.7. for fire dampers.)

  1. 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.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the chain link fence that separates the two tenants has been in place since 1990. The Applicant also submitted that the building is fully sprinklered and that Compliance Alternative F27 in Table 11.2.3.F. of the Building Code permits non rated separations where the building is sprinklered.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that two tenants in the warehouse area are separated by a chain link fence. Article 3.3.1.1. of the Building Code requires a minimum 45 minute fire separation between suites of industrial occupancy. The Respondent submitted that a chain link fence provides neither a fire rating nor a fire separation. In sprinklered buildings, only suites of business and personal services and mercantile occupancies served by public corridors conforming with Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) of the Building Code are exempt from requiring a fire separation from each other.

The Respondent submitted that a drawing forming part of the building permit application clearly identifies a rated demising wall (ULC W407) between the two tenants that satisfies Article 3.3.1.1. of the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that a chain link fence does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the required fire separation between the two warehouse tenancies conforming to Article 3.3.1.1. of the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

  1. The compliance alternative F27 in Table 11.2.3.F. of the Building Code permits non rated separations where a building is sprinklered at public corridors separations, but not to required fire separations between suites.

  1. No evidence could be provided that a permit was ever issued for the installation of the chain link fence nor the date of the installation. The fence does impact on the egress requirements and would have been considered a material alteration for permit purposes.

  1. No confirmation could be provided by the applicant as to when the building would be restored to a single tenancy.

Dated at Toronto, this 15th day, in the month of April, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-09.

Roy Philippe

Lesia Beznaczuk

Susan Friedrich