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BCC Ruling No. 95-57-477

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-57-477

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5) and Article 3.2.2.12. of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93, 355/94 and 20/95 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Joseph O'Reiley, Ford Motor Company of Canada for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Frank Asta, Chief Building Official, Town of Oakville, concerning whether locked open outside post indicator valves controlling the water supply for a sprinkler system must be electrically supervised in order to obtain a roof rating waiver under Article 3.2.2.12. of the Building Code, at Ford Motor Company of Canada, Truck Body Shop, 1 Canadian Road, Oakville, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Joseph O'Reiley
Ford Motor Company of Canada
Oakville, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Frank Asta
Chief Building Official
Town of Oakville

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

November 21st, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. Leszek Muniak
Principal
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.
For the Applicant

Mr. Frank Asta
Chief Building Official
Town of Oakville
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Joseph O'Reiley, Ford Motor Company of Canada is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a Truck Body Shop at the Ford Motor Company of Canada, 1 Canadian Road, Oakville, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The proposed body shop building is fully sprinklered Low Hazard Industrial (i.e. Group F, Division 3) occupancy. The building is one storey in height and is provided with a standpipe and hose system, and fire alarm system.

An underground water main circles the building and supplies the individual sprinkler zones. Each sprinkler system is individually controlled by an underground gate valve with a post indicator (PIV) located outside the building about 12 m (40 ft) away from the building wall. All 31 of the outside PIV's are locked fully open.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5) and Article 3.2.2.12. of the Building Code. At issue is whether locked open outside post indicator valves controlling the water supply for a sprinkler system must be electrically supervised in order to obtain a roof rating waiver under Article 3.2.2.12. of the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.2.2.12. Sprinklers in lieu of Roof Rating

  1. The requirements in Articles 3.2.2.16. to 3.2.2.62. for the roof assemblies to have a fire- resistance rating are permitted to be waived provided

    1. the building is sprinklered,
    2. the sprinkler system in Clause (a) is electrically supervised in conformance with Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5), and
    3. the operation of the sprinkler system in Clause (a) will cause a signal to be transmitted to the fire department in conformance with Sentence 3.2.4.7.(3).

Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5) Sprinklers in Lieu of Heat Detectors

  1. The sprinkler system referred to in Sentence (1) shall be electrically supervised to indicate a trouble signal on the building fire alarm system annunciator for each of the following:

    1. movement of a control valve handle,
    2. loss of excess water pressure required to prevent false alarms in a wet pipe system,
    3. loss of air pressure in a dry pipe system,
    4. loss of air pressure in a pressure tank,
    5. a significant change in water level in any water storage container used for fire fighting purposes,
    6. loss of electrical power to any automatically starting electrical fire pump, and
    7. a temperature approaching the freezing point in any dry pipe valve used for fire fighting purposes.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the outside PIV's are locked fully open with breakable locks, and are inspected weekly. Inspection records are kept.

The Applicant submitted that sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.2.4.16.(5)(a) of the Building Code has been achieved for the following reasons:

  1. Installation of sprinkler systems for compliance with the Building Code is governed by NFPA 13. The building is required to be sprinklered, and complies with NFPA 13 which offers four options to ensure that valves are open and locking is one of them.
  2. NFPA does not mandate electrical supervision of valves in existing, large spread plants, due to the cost of such a system.
  3. Ford Motor Company of Canada operates its own fire response crew 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and it is this team that would be the first to respond to any fire emergency. Any information regarding closed valves would be relayed to the Oakville Fire Department upon their arrival.
  4. The intent of the Building Code and the NFPA 13 is to ensure valves are open to sprinkler systems, so that early control of any fire is achieved. With all valves open, each sprinkler system is ready to operate at all times.
  5. Watchmen make regular rounds and also inspect valves to ensure that they are open.

The Applicant also submitted that locking PIV's open meets the intent of the Building Code, and provides the necessary level of safety to the occupants. Therefore, the roof rating waiver allowable when supervised sprinkler systems are installed should be permitted.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that all valves controlling water supplies to the sprinkler system must be electrically supervised in accordance with Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5) in order for the roof rating to be waived under Article 3.2.2.12. of the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that providing locked open outside post indicator valves in lieu of electrical supervision of the water control valves to the sprinkler system does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause 3.2.2.12.(1)(b) of the Building Code to waive the fire resistance rating of the roof assembly.

  1. Reasons:

    1. The Building Code requires the specific condition of electrical supervision to waive the roof assembly.

    1. Limited security and inspection procedures were not persuasive in accessing the increased reliability of the system through alternative supervision

Dated at Toronto, this 21st day, in the month of November, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-59.

Roy Philippe

Susan Friedrich

Michael Steele