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BCC Ruling No. 96-02-485

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #96-02-485

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 9.8.8. 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. Stan Sukunda, Owner & Builder, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Harold Bratten, Chief Building Official, Borough of East York, concerning whether the height of the guard on the 2nd floor balcony; guard on top of the retaining wall and openings of the guard around interior stairwell provide sufficiency of compliance with Subsection 9.8.8. of the Building Code, at 55 Glenwood Crescent, East York, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Stan Sukunda
Concord, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Harold Bratten
Chief Building Official
Borough of East York

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

January 24th, 1996

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Stan Sukunda, Owner & Builder is the recipient of an order to comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 requiring the guards on the 2nd floor balcony, front porch over the driveway and on top of the retaining wall to conform with the requirements of Subsection 9.8.8. of the Building Code at 55 Glenwood Crescent, East York, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a single family dwelling (i.e. house). The height of guards on the second floor balcony and the front porch over the driveway are 990 mm (39 inches) high instead of 1070 mm (42 inches) as required, and the guards on top of the retaining walls vary from 500 mm (20 inches) to 736 mm (29 inches) instead of 900 mm (35 inches). The openings in guards around the stairwell are greater than the maximum 100 mm (4 inches) diameter.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Subsection 9.8.8. of the Building Code. At issue is the height of the guard on the 2nd floor balcony; guard on top of retaining wall and the openings of the guard around interior stairwell.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Subsection 9.8.8. Guards

Subsection9.8.8.1. Required Guards

  1. Every exterior landing, porch, deck and every balcony, mezzanine, gallery, raised walkway and roof to which access is provided for other than for maintenance purposes, shall be protected by guards on all open sides where the difference in elevation between adjacent levels exceeds 600 mm (23 in).

  1. Every exterior stair with more than 6 risers shall be protected with guards on all open sides where the difference in elevation between the adjacent ground level and the stair exceeds 600 mm (23 in).

  1. When an interior stair has more than 2 risers, the sides of the stair and the landing or floor level around the stair well shall be enclosed by walls or be protected by guards, except that a stair to an unfinished basement in a dwelling unit may have 1 unprotected side.

Subsection9.8.8.2. Height of Guards

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (5), all guards, including those for balconies, shall be at least 1 070 mm (3 ft 6 in) high.

  1. Guards for porches, decks, landings and balconies serving not more than one dwelling unit and which are not more than 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) above the finished ground level are permitted to be a minimum of 900 mm (2 ft 11 in) high.

  1. Except as provided in Sentence (4), guards for stairs shall be not less than 900 mm (2 ft 11 in) high measured vertically from a line drawn through the outside edges of the stair nosings, and 1 070 mm (3 ft 6 in) in height at landings.

  1. Guards for stairs within dwelling units and stairs serving not more than one dwelling unit shall be not less 800 mm (2 ft 7 in) measured vertically above a line drawn through the outside edges of stair nosings, and not less than 900 mm (2 ft 11 in) above landings.

  1. All required guards within dwelling units other than those described in Sentence (4) shall be not less than 900 mm (2 ft 11 in) high.

Subsection9.8.8.3. Guards for Floors and Ramps in Garages

Except for floors of garages referred in Section 9.35, a continuous curb not less than 150 mm (5 in) in height and a guard not less than 1 070 mm (3 ft 6 in) above the floor level shall be provided at every opening through a garage floor and around the perimeter of such floor and ramps where the exterior walls are omitted and where the top floor is 600 mm (23 in) or more above an adjacent ground or floor level.

Subsection9.8.8.4. Openings in Guards

Openings through a guard on balconies, porches, and decks, an exit stair, or stairs, landings and the floor level around a stairwell in a dwelling unit, shall be of a size so as to prevent the passage of a spherical object having diameter of 100 mm (4 in) in residential occupancies and 200 mm (7 in) in other occupancies, unless it can be shown that the location and size of such openings which exceed theses limits do not represent a hazard.

Subsection9.8.8.5. Design to Prevent Climbing

Guards around exterior balconies, porches, and decks of buildings of residential occupancy shall be designed so that no member, attachment or opening located between 100 mm (4 in) and 900 mm (2 ft 11 in) above the floor of the balcony, porch or deck will facilitate climbing.

Subsection9.8.8.6. Guards for ramps

Guards for ramps including vehicular ramps shall conform to the requirements for guards for stairs in Article 9.8.8.2. and 9.8.8.4.

5. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the balcony guard on the second floor is the shape of a half moon and that there is no way the same shape could be maintained if the guard height is increased.

The Applicant submitted that he agreed to increase the height of the guard over the garage, but felt the height of the guard on the retaining wall which varies from 500 mm (20 inches) to 736 mm (29 inches) is high enough to prevent someone from falling.

The Applicant also submitted that the openings of the guard around the interior stair well are 3 inches between the square portion of the spindles and 4 ¬ inches between the round part of the spindles.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the second floor exterior balcony and the first floor guard over the garage measures 990 mm (3ft. 3 in.) above the floor rather than the requisite 1070 mm (3 ft. 6 in.).

The Respondent submitted that the spindles in the interior second floor guard are spaced up to 4 inches apart rather than the required 100 mm (4 inches).

The Respondent also submitted that the guards on top of the retaining wall beside the driveway range from 20 inches to 29 inches in height instead of the required 35 inches (900 mm).

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that:

  1. Openings in the guard rail around the interior stairwell in excess of 100 mm do not provide sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.8.8.4. of the Building Code.

  1. The height of the guard rail on the 2nd floor exterior balcony less than 1070 mm does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. The height of the guard rails on top of the retaining wall where less than 1070 mm does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code where the height of the retaining wall exceeds 1 metre as identified in Articles 4.4.3.1. and 2.1.2.1. of the Building Code.

  1. Reason:

The guard height and openings through guards do not comply with the Building Code and no alternatives were provided to consider sufficiency of compliance.

Dated at Toronto, this 24th day, in the month of January, in the year 1996, for application number 1996-01.

Roy Philippe

Michael Lio

Susan Friedrich