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BCC Ruling No. 95-39-459

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Articles & 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. Don Duncan, C.E.O., Guelph YMCA-YWCA for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bruce Poole, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph, concerning whether the means of egress from the gymnasium and exercise space provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code, Re: Article, Minimum Number of Exits; and, Article, Fire- Resistance Rating of Exit Separations, at 130 Woodland Glen Drive, Guelph, Ontario.


Guelph, Ontario


Mr. Bruce Poole
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph


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


Toronto, Ontario


August 3rd, 1995


Mr. David McAuley, Architect
J. David McAuley Architect Inc.
Brian McCulloch, Associate
James Fryett Architect
Guelph, Ontario
For the Applicant

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


  1. The Applicant

Mr. Don Duncan, C.E.O., Guelph YMCA-YWCA is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a YMCA-YWCA comprising a childcare area, recreation area and gymnasium with an interconnected floor space at 130 Woodland Glen Drive., Guelph, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The portion of the project subject to the dispute is a basement gymnasium with an interconnected floor space at ground level. The second floor (i.e. ground level) is one large open exercise area that is interconnected with the gymnasium below.

The space is sprinklered and has direct exit to grade from the upper (ground) floor level and lower (basement) floor level. It also has two open stairs between the floor levels (one at each end).

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns whether the means of egress from the gymnasium and exercise space provides sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code. At issue is whether the an open stair between the floor areas may be used as an exit.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article Minimum Number of Exits

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2) to (4), and (6), every floor area as regulated in Article shall be served by not less than 2 exits.

  1. In building not more than 2 storeys in building height, a floor area is permitted to be served by one exit provided the floor area and travel distance requirements conform to Table 3.4.2.A. and the total occupant load served by the exit is not more than 60.

  1. Except as provided in Sentence (4), where a single exit is permitted in Sentence (2) from a floor area classified as Group B or Group C occupancy, the exit shall be an exterior doorway not more than 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) above adjacent ground level.

  1. A floor area containing only dwelling units having access to exit conforming to Sentences to (4) need not comply with Sentence (1).

  1. Exits are not required directly from roof top-enclosures that are provided with access to exit in conformance with Sentences and (6).

  1. Every room containing an assembly occupancy serving a hotel, and located in the building containing the hotel, shall be provided with not less than
    1. 3 separate egress doorways from the room where the occupant load is more than 600 persons, and
    2. 4 separate egress doorways from the room where the occupant load is more than 1000 persons.

  1. Each egress doorway in Sentence (6) shall be considered as contributing not more than
  1. one third of the required width where 3 egress doorways are required, and
  2. one fourth of the required width where 4 egress doorways are required.

Article Fire-Resistance Rating of Exit Separations

  1. Except as provided in Article and Sentences (2), and, every exit shall be separated from each adjacent floor area by a fire- separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the floor assembly above the floor area and, where there is no floor assembly above, not less than that required by Subsection 3.2.2. for the floor assembly below, but in no case shall the fire-resistance rating be less than 45 min.

  1. The fire-resistance rating of the fire separation in Sentence (1) need not be more than 2 h.

  1. Where an exit stair in an assembly hall or theatre serves more than one balcony level, the exit stair shall be separated from the remainder of the building in conformance with Sentence (1).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the gymnasium and overlooking exercise equipment area is one large open floor space that is supervised by staff. The floor levels are completely open separated only by railings.

The Applicant also submitted that the Building Department is asking for an exit stair with a fire separation and an additional exterior door. This would obstruct supervision and provide security concerns. The Applicant submitted that adequate means of egress are provided via the two interconnecting stairs between the floor levels.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that the gymnasium is located in the basement floor area. Article requires every floor area to be served by not less than 2 exits except for exemptions with respect to size of floor area, travel distance, and maximum occupant load.

The Respondent submitted that the basement floor area is 733 m², exceeds 15 m travel distance, and has an occupant load exceeding 60 persons. Therefore two exits are required.

The Respondent submitted that Article requires an exit to be separated from each of the floor areas with a ½ hr rated fire separation.

The Respondent also submitted that the reason for non-acceptance of the Applicant's proposal is that it does not comply with the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the current exit design from the basement gymnasium does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Article and Article of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

    1. The floor area of the basement gymnasium required that a minimum of 2 exits must be provided.

    1. If any exit is required through the first floor, the exit from the basement gymnasium must be separated by fire separation as required by Article

Dated at Toronto, this 3rd day, in the month of August, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-36.

Roy Philippe

Michael Lio

Susan Friedrich