Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1995 > BCC Ruling No. 95-38-458

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 95-38-458

Email this page

BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-38-458

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 4.3.6.1., Article 3.2.2.44., and Sentences 3.2.2.12.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(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 the Wellington County Roman Catholic Separate School Board for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bruce Poole, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph, concerning the following two issues: (1) whether the glass on the roof of a greenhouse addition must comply with CAN\CGSB-12.20-M, "Structural Design of Glass for Buildings" in accordance with Article 4.3.6.1. of the Building Code; and (2) whether a sprinkler system is required in a greenhouse addition to an existing mercantile occupancy in accordance with Article 3.2.2.44. and Sentences 3.2.2.12.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code, at 265 Edinburgh Road North, Guelph, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Wellington County
Roman Catholic Separate School Board
Guelph, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Bruce Poole
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

August 3rd, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. Earl Reinink
AND
Mr. Evert H. Langendoen
Westbrook Greenhouse Systems Ltd.
Grimsby, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Robert Reynen
Senior Building Inspector
AND
Mr. Bradley S. Coutts, City Prosecutor
City of Guelph
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

The majority of the subject building is leased by White Rose Craft and Nursery Sales Limited from the Wellington County Roman Catholic Separate School Board for retailing purposes. A building permit (No. 95-00232) has been issued under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a greenhouse type addition to an existing building at 265 Edinburgh Road North, Guelph, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The existing 3035 m² single storey masonry building contains two occupancies. White Rose Craft and Nursery Sales Limited occupies 2480 m² and the Wellington County Roman Catholic Separate School Board occupies 55 m² for the storage of maintenance equipment. The building is protected by a fire alarm and sprinklering system.

The Applicant has constructed a new unsprinklered 562 m² greenhouse addition with the gables flashed to the main building. The proposed new addition is required to be sprinklered in accordance with the NFPA-13 standard. This is based on the general Size and Occupancy requirements for fire safety regulated by Article 3.2.2.44. of the Building Code. The greenhouse is separated from the existing building by a 250 mm (10 inch) thick concrete block wall. Direct access is provided from the existing building into the greenhouse. The construction of the greenhouse provides complete ease of egress from the greenhouse in the event of a fire. The greenhouse has a tempered glass roof and except for three 12' sections, there are no permanent exterior nor interior walls.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the technical interpretation of Article 4.3.6.1. of the Building Code, and sufficiency of compliance with the technical interpretation of Article 3.2.2.44. and Sentences 3.2.2.12.(1) and 3.2.5.13.(1) of the Building Code. At issue is the determination of the following two matters: (1) whether the glass on the greenhouse roof must comply with CAN\CGSB-12.20-M, "Structural Design of Glass for Buildings"; and (2) whether a sprinkler system is required in a greenhouse addition to an existing mercantile occupancy.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 4.3.6.1. Glass

Glass shall be designed in conformance with CAN\CGSB-12.20-M, "Structural Design of Glass for Buildings".

Article 3.2.2.44. Mercantile Buildings, up to 3 Storeys

  1. A building classified as Group E shall conform to Sentence (2) provided the building

    1. is not more than 3 storeys in building height, and
    2. has a building area not more than the value in Table 3.2.2.M.

  1. The building shall be of combustible or noncombustible construction used either singly or in combination, and

  1. floor assemblies shall be fire separations with a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,
  2. mezzanines shall have, if of combustible construction, a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,
  3. roof assemblies shall have a fire resistance rating of not less than 45 min, except that in buildings not more than 1 storey in building height, the fire- resistance rating is permitted to be waived provided the roof assembly is of noncombustible construction or is constructed as a fire-retardant treated wood roof system conforming to Article 3.1.14.1., and

i. if unsprinklered, the building area is not more than 1 500 m² (16,100 ft²), and

ii. if sprinklered, the building area is not more than 2 400 m² (25,800 ft²) if facing 1 street, 3 000 m? (32,300 ft²) if facing 2 streets, or 3 600 m² (38,800 ft²) if facing 3 streets,

  1. all loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min or shall be of noncombustible construction, except that such members and assemblies supporting a fire separation shall have a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for supported assembly.

Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) Sprinklers in Lieu of Roof Rating

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

  1. the building is sprinklered,

  1. the sprinkler system in Clause (a) is electrically supervised in conformance with Sentence 3.2.4.16.(5), and

  1. 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 3.2.5.13.(1) Automatic Sprinkler System

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) and (3), where a sprinkler system is required, it shall be designed, constructed, installed and tested in conformance with NFPA 13, "Installation of Sprinkler Systems".

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that Appendix A of CAN\CGSB-12.20-M references the Commentary on Glass Design in Chapter 4 of the Supplement to the National Building Code 1990. The commentary states that "Where special circumstances such as sloped or overhead glazing give rise to unusual hazards, such as increased risk of injury to occupants of the general public, the provision of safety glass may be required." The Applicant stated that it always accepted this as a requirement, thus the glass installed on this project is 4 mm tempered glass (e.g. manufactured labelled safety glass). The Applicant submitted that CAN\CGSB-12.20-M does not cover greenhouses. The subject Standard states that it is not intended to be used for glass employed in greenhouses. The Applicant further submitted that there is much precedence for this by the acceptance of similar projects by other building departments throughout the Province. The Applicant submitted that the requirement to sprinkler the greenhouse is excessive and should not be required in this instance for the following reasons:

    1. The main building is fully sprinklered in compliance with the Building Code.

    1. The greenhouse is accessory and subordinate to the Occupant's main use and the volume of people will be far less than in the main building.

    1. The building/greenhouse arrangement was not contemplated when the subject Building Code regulation was being developed.

    1. The purpose of the greenhouse is to provide an area of protective covering for plants and therefore the goods offered for sale to the public are non-combustible.

    1. The nature of the greenhouse construction allows complete ease of access/egress to the public in the event the need to exit the greenhouse should ever arise.

    1. The greenhouse is composed of a tempered glass roof. Except for three 12'- 0' sections, there are no permanent exterior nor interior walls.

    1. The structure will not be used year round. Sprinkler or any other systems will be frozen over the winter months and will be affected by the elements.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that Article 4.3.6.1. of the Building Code requires compliance with CAN/CGSB-12.20-M89. The Standard requires protection for the public such as laminated glass, wired glass or other measures. The Supplement of the National Building Code also requires safety glass for public protection. The Respondent submitted that the reason for not accepting the Applicant's proposal is that the CAN/CGSB-12.20-M89 Standard only exempts greenhouses not occupied by the public. This facility is used as a retail area and may have a high occupant load. The Respondent addressed the requirement to sprinkler the greenhouse addition as follows:

  1. The building is required to be sprinklered in conformance Article 3.2.2.44. The greenhouse is an extension of the main building and therefore must be sprinklered due to the total building area and the waiving of fire protection of the roof assembly as set out in Article 3.2.2.44. and Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) respectively.

  1. NFPA 13 requires sprinkler protection below noncombustible canopies that contain combustible storage.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that not providing sprinklering for the greenhouse provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code provided

  1. an annual permit be obtained as required if the structure was temporary in nature, reconfirming its use for the display and sale of horticultural products; and

  1. combustible storage be limited and considered as outdoor public storage under the Fire Code for exposure hazard.

It is also the decision of the Building Code Commission that the tempered glass used on the sloping roof does not provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

    1. The unheated structure is used seasonally.

    1. The structure is non-combustible construction.

    1. The unenclosed greenhouse provides unlimited means of egress.

    1. The existing building is sprinklered and is separated from the greenhouse by masonry walls.

    1. Fire-spread through unprotected openings is addressed through the combustible storage provisions of the Fire Code.

    1. The proposed structure of mercantile use is not a low human occupancy building as described in CAN/CGSB-12.20 -M89 Structural Design of Glass for Buildings as referenced in Part 4 of the Building Code.

    1. CAN/CGSB-12.20-M89 does not permit the use of tempered glass alone for sloped glazing and skylights since no restraining system is provided to prevent glass particles from falling in the event of glass breakage.

Dated at Toronto, this 3rd day, in the month of August, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-34.

Roy Philippe

Michael Lio

Susan Friedrich