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BCC Ruling No. 95-50-470

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-50-470

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.3.4. 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 Fanshawe College, London for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Jim Foster, Chief Building Official, City of St. Thomas, concerning whether providing a fully sprinklered building with a 1 hour fire separation between the high school and college in lieu of a party wall (i.e. firewall) provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.3.4. of the Building Code, at Fanshawe College St. Thomas, Elgin Campus, Bill Martyn Parkway, St. Thomas, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Fanshawe College
London, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Bob Brown
Chief Building Official
City of St. Thomas

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Remus Tsang
Mr. Sang Shim

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

October 26th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. L.A. Lex Bullock, Lawyer
Siskind, Cromarty, Ivery & Dowler
London, Ontario
AND
Eric Esselink
Leber/Rubes Inc.
For the Applicant

Mr. Bob Brown
Chief Building Official
City of St. Thomas
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Harry Cavender, Fanshawe College, London is the applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a new College building as an addition to an existing high school that would permit the shared utilization of various rooms and facilities at Bill Martyn Parkway, St. Thomas, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is a new campus facility for Fanshawe College. The new one storey facility is proposed to be connected to the existing St. Joseph's High School. The proposed connection will traverse a property line. The properties on both sides of the property line will be separately owned by the college and the high school.

The proposed connection of the college and high school facilities is intended to cost effectively facilitate sharing of a library- resource centre and cafeteria spaces.

The following matters apply to the existing building and the proposed addition:

i. Existing St. Joseph's High School

    • building height of one storey
    • sprinklered
    • noncombustible construction
    • building area: 7520 m²
    • building faces one street for fire department access
    • roof assembly is not rated per sprinkler waiver in Article 3.2.2.12.
    • equipped with a single stage fire alarm and detection system
    • sprinklers provide primary means of fire detection and suppression
    • construction completed in 1993
    • major occupancy: Group A, Division 2 assembly occupancy
    • construction classification: Article 3.2.2.22.

ii. New Fanshawe College Expansion:

    • building height of one storey
    • fully sprinklered
    • noncombustible construction
    • building area of expansion: 3868 m²
    • building faces one street for fire department access
    • roof assembly is not rated per sprinkler waiver in Article 3.2.2.12.
    • fire alarm system in high school expanded to serve college (i.e. single system throughout)
    • sprinklers provide primary means of fire detection and suppression
    • major occupancy: Group A, Division 2 assembly occupancy
    • construction classification: Article 3.2.2.22.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 3.2.3.4. of the Building Code. At issue is whether providing a fully sprinklered building with a 1 hour fire separation between the high school and college in lieu of a party wall (i.e. fire wall) provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.2.3.4. Party Wall

Every wall that is a party wall shall be constructed as a firewall.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the college and high school can be treated as a single building. The applicant proposes to address life safety and property concerns in reviewing the high school and college as separate suites under the Building Code. A 1 hour fire separation is proposed between the college and high school spaces.

The Applicant submitted that the Building Code does not prohibit a single building from traversing a property line. Also, the Building Code does not require a building to be separated by a firewall into two buildings solely for the reason of traversing a property line.

The Applicant submitted that Subsection 3.2.3 "Spatial Separation and Exposure Protection of Buildings" addresses exposure requirements for separate buildings and separate fire compartments where such separate buildings or separate fire compartments present an external fire exposure to a separate building or separate fire compartment. The exposure requirements apply to separate buildings and separate fire compartments that may be located on the same property or may be located on separate properties. The exposure requirements apply to external fire exposure. This Subsection does not require an internal fire separation or an internal fire separation constructed as a firewall, to be constructed at a property line where a single building traverses a property line.

The Applicant submitted that Article 3.2.3.4 Party Wall, states, "Every wall that is a party wall shall be constructed as a firewall". Party wall is defined as, "...a wall jointly owned and used by 2 parties under easement agreement or by right in law, and erected at or upon a line separating 2 parcels of land each of which is, or is capable of being, a separate real-estate entity." The requirement and the definition, do not require a party wall/firewall to be constructed at a property line where a single building traverses a property line.

The Applicant submitted that Subsection 3.1.10 "Firewalls", specifies that a firewall must meet depending on the major occupancy of the buildings. This Subsection does not require that a firewall be constructed where a single building traverses a property line.

The Applicant submitted that the college and high school are considered separate suites within a single building of shared ownership. The suites will be separated by a 1 hour fire separation in accordance with Article 3.3.1.1. The Building Code does not require that the fire separation proposed between suites follow the property line.

The Applicant summarized his position that the expanded building, including the 3 year old existing high school can be reviewed under the requirements of the Building Code as a single building. The building will comply with the Building Code in all respects as a single building. A fire separation will be provided between the college and high school in conformance with the requirements of the Building Code to separate suites.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that Subsection 3.2.3 "Spatial Separation and Exposure Protection of Buildings" and Subsection 3.1.10 "Firewalls", requires the structure to be fire separated into two separate buildings by a firewall along the property line. The reason that this is required is that the structure traverses a property line and that the properties on either side of the property line are separately owned by the high school and college.

The Respondent concurred that in concept a 1 hour fire separation in a fully sprinklered building as proposed by the Applicant, sufficiently complies with the Building Code. However, the Respondent's position is that sufficiency of compliance must be determined by the Building Code Commission.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that providing a 1 hour fire separation between the fully sprinklered high school and Fanshawe College provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.3.4. of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

1. Both buildings are designed as an Assembly Occupancy Division 2 (A-2) and will be operational as one complex.

2. Both parties will enter into an agreement with respect to the management, maintenance, and the conditions of future sale of either property.

Dated at Toronto, this 26th day, in the month of October, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-55.

Roy Philippe

Remus Tsang

Sang Shim