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BCC Ruling No. 95-62-482

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-62-482

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.9.2.(1) 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. George Chelwick, Project Manager, Casino Windsor Ltd., Windsor, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ed Link, Chief Building Official, City of Windsor to determine whether the building configuration and the provision of a voluntary sprinkler system will provide sufficiency of compliance in lieu of a standpipe and hose system for the Windsor Casino Parking Garage, Windsor, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Casino Windsor Limited
Windsor, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Ed Link
Chief Building Official
City of Windsor

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Sang Shim
Mr. Rick Florio

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

December 21st, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Hine
Morrison Hershfield Limited
North York, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Hung Yip, P. Eng.
Building Official
City of Windsor
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. George Chelwick, Project Manager, Casino Windsor Limited is an applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a four storey parking garage with two basement levels and one occupiable roof for the Windsor Casino, Windsor, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a free standing parking garage for the Windsor Casino. The building is four storeys in building height, with two basement levels and one occupiable roof. The building area is approximately 14,000 m² on all levels except the fourth storey and roof which has an area of approximately 10,800 m². As the building area is 14,000 m², the building cannot be classified to Article 3.2.2.60. nor 3.2.2.61. It is required to be constructed to Article 3.2.2.62.

The height of the building, measured from the roof is approximately 12.8 m. The building will be constructed of non combustible materials.

The above grade portion of the building is open air such that at least 25 percent of the building perimeter walls are open to the exterior. All four streets about the perimeter of the building can be used as fire routes.

The above grade sprinkler system is voluntary. The building is equipped with a fire alarm system.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the Building Code. At issue is whether the voluntary sprinkler system and the building configuration provides sufficiency of compliance in lieu of the standpipe and hose system requirements.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.9.2.(1) Exceptions to the Requirement for Standpipe and Hose Systems

A standpipe need not be installed in a storage garage conforming to Article 3.2.2.60. provided the building is not more than 15 m high.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that sufficiency of compliance with the standpipe and hose system has been achieved by the following:

  • The Building Code waives the standpipe and hose system in an open air parking garage conforming to Article 3.2.2.60. provided the building is not more than 15 m high. This Article limits the building area to 10,000 m², regardless of sprinkler protection. This is the only section in the Building Code where sprinkler protection is not recognized as a method of doubling the building area when classifying a building to the requirements of Section 3.2.2.

Article 3.2.2.60. "Industrial Buildings, Division 3, Storage Garages up to 22 m High" requires the garage to be constructed as follows:

  • noncombustible construction
  • not more than 22 m measured from grade to the ceiling level of the top storey,
  • not more than 10,000 m² in building area, and
  • all areas of the building be within 60 m of an exterior wall opening.

This Article does not recognize the benefits of sprinklers. All other building types (including high hazard occupancies), permit the building area to be doubled. In review of this Article with the National Research Council and the Housing Development and Buildings Branch, there is no record as to why sprinkler protection on this type of building was not considered.

The parking garage has an area of 14,000 m². The height of the building is approximately 12.8 m when measured from the roof to grade. Therefore the proposed garage would comply with Article 3.2.3.60. where sprinkler protection is recognized as a method of doubling building area.

  • The building is equipped with fire department access routes that are superior to those required by the Building Code. The building is only required to face one street such that the principal entrance be within 15 m of the fire route. All four sides of the building are within 15 m of a fire route. Should the fire department be required to use fire hoses, the department is not limited to a particular building facade.

  • The garage is considered "open air" as at least 25 percent of the building perimeter is open to the exterior. For nonsprinklered buildings, the Building Code in Sentence 3.2.5.1.(1) requires that access openings be provided every 15 m of wall in each wall required to face a street in Subsection 3.2.2.

  • Fire department access to all floors exceeds the access opening requirements. All floors and all building faces have unlimited access openings.

  • The building Code does not require the open air floors to be rated in a building subject to the construction requirements of Article 3.2.2.60. The above grade floors of the parking garage will be designed to achieve a rating of at least 1 hour.

  • The open air configuration allows the fire fighters unlimited methods of approach, from any direction, without the boundary layer of heat and smoke impacting on their fire fighting procedures. The smoke will vent to the exterior on the side of the building.

  • The Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) does not require a standpipe and hose system in an open air garage.

  • The Building Code waives the standpipe system in sprinklered buildings up to 3 storeys in building height or 14 m in height measured between grade and the upper most storey. There is no limitation to the building area and the building need not be open air. As such it is possible to construct a fully enclosed 3 storey building with an unlimited area, without a standpipe system.

The free standing Windsor Casino parking garage is open air and faces four streets for purposes of fire department access. The parking garage is less than 14 m high, yet is 4 storeys in building height.

  • Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that he cannot concur or accept the Applicant's proposal. Sentence 3.2.9.1.(1) of the Building Code states that "a standpipe and hose system shall be installed in every building that is more than 3 storeys in building height". The proposed storage garage exceeds three storeys. The exemption of the standpipe and hose system in Sentence 3.2.9.2.(1) is not applicable in this case as the storage garage does not fall under Article 3.2.2.60. of the Building Code for open air storage garages.

  • Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the provision of a voluntary sprinkler system to N.F.P.A. 13 provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Building Code for standpipe and hose systems in storeys at and below grade.

  • Reasons:

    1. The building has a voluntary sprinkler system.

    1. The building is accessible from 4 streets with fire department access openings at all levels above grade.

    1. The building is used as an open air parking garage.

    1. The building exceeds the floor area requirements but is within the height requirements for the standpipe and hose system exception in Sentence 3.2.9.2.(1) of the Building Code.

    1. Security and monitoring system are being included as part of the Casino operations.

    1. The Life Safety Code (N.F.P.A. 101) does not require a standpipe and hose system in an open air parking garage.

Dated at Toronto, this 21st day, in the month of December, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-69.

Roy Philippe

Sang Shim

Rick Florio