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BCC Ruling No. 95-40-460

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-40-460

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.9.1. of Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93 and 160/93 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Peter Clewes, Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architects Ltd. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Wright, Chief Building Official, Town of Markham concerning whether providing a standpipe and hose system for the two basement levels only and not throughout the two storey building will provide sufficiency of compliance with the technical interpretation of Article 3.2.9.1. of the Building Code, at the Pacific Mall, 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architects Ltd.

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Wright
Chief Building Official
Town of Markham

PANEL

Roy Philippe, Chair
Michael Lio
Demir Delen

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

August 22, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Syrett, Associate
Leber/Rubes Inc.
For the Applicant

Mr. Chris Bird, Manager
Plans Review
Town of Markham
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Peter Clewes, Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architect Ltd. is an applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a two storey mixed use commercial building at 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The applicant is proposing to construct a two storey mixed use commercial building. The proposed building has a building area of 15,600 m². The main and second floors will be interconnected. The main floor will contain a market style retail layout and the 7,200 m² second floor will contain restaurants. The two basement levels will contain parking and small storage and service rooms.

Each unit on the main floor will face a circulation aisle either 3 m or 5 m wide and at least one 2-1/2 m cross aisle, with no fire separation between units nor between units and circulation and cross aisles (i.e. similar to a department store). Each unit location has been sold as a condominium.

Partitions between units will range from 2.4 to 3 m in height. A security grill will be provided between units and circulation aisles permitting a view into units after business hours. The top of the unit will either be open or have an egg-crate type ceiling.

The entire building perimeter will face fire access routes, although the Building Code requires only 50 percent of this building perimeter to face a fire route.

The fully sprinklered building will have a fire alarm and detection system, emergency lighting system, and smoke exhaust system for the ground floor. The fire alarm system will be monitored by an independent central station. The sprinkler system will be designed to function as part of the required fire detection system. A standpipe and hose system is proposed for the two basement levels.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical interpretation of Article 3.2.9.1. of the Building Code. At issue is the installation of a standpipe and hose system in the two basement levels only and not throughout the two storey building.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.2.9.1. Requirement for Standpipe and Hose Systems

Except as provided in Article 3.2.9.2., a standpipe and hose system shall be installed in every building that:

  1. is more than

i. 3 storeys in building height, or

ii. 14 m in height measured between grade and the ceiling of the uppermost storey,

  1. is greater in building area than the area shown in Table 3.2.9.A. for the applicable building height shown in the Table where the building

i. is not sprinklered, and

ii. is not more than 14 m high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey, or

  1. contains more than one storey below grade.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that Subclause 3.2.9.1.(1)(b)(ii) of the 1990 edition of the Building Code (O.Reg. 413/90) requires a standpipe and hose system in every basement of a building that has more than one storey below grade. Based on the 1990 Building Code, a standpipe system would only be required in the two basement levels of the building.

The Applicant submitted that Clause 3.2.9.1.(1)(c) of the 1993 Building Code (O.Reg. 158/93) requires a standpipe and hose system to be installed in every building that contains more than one storey below grade. Based on the 1993 Building Code, a standpipe and hose system would be required throughout the proposed building.

The Applicant submitted a letter dated February 3, 1994 by the Housing Development and Building Branch, Ministry of Housing that clarifies the interpretation of Article 3.2.9.1. with respect to the requirements of a standpipe and hose system in the basement. The Ministry confirmed that the wording in the Article 3.2.9.1. of the current edition was an oversight they intended to correct in the next edition of the Code. Also, the Applicant submitted that the Office of the Fire Marshall of Ontario agreed with this interpretation and has no objection to the original wording being reinstated. Therefore, the Respondent maintained that it was never the Code writers intention that a standpipe and hose system be installed in storeys above grade as a result of being required below grade.

The Applicant submitted that despite the wording in the current edition of the Building Code, a standpipe and hose system should not be required for the first and second storeys of the fully sprinklered two storey building.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that the language of the Building Code is quite clear. Clause 3.2.9.1.(1)(c) states that a standpipe and hose is required for every building that contains more than one storey below grade. Since the Pacific Mall building contains more than one storey below grade, a standpipe and hose system must be provided throughout the entire building.

The Respondent also submitted that the Pacific Mall building was the subject of a previous Building Code Commission Hearing. It is not clear what value if any, was placed on the existence of a standpipe and hose system in leading the Commission to decision # 94-14-392 rendered on May 31, 1994.

The Respondent submitted that in the aforementioned Ruling the Commission permitted the retail floor areas to remain open and uninterrupted by fire separations presumably on the basis of the floor area being sprinklered and for the reasons given. The Fire Department has serious concerns about their ability to be able to control and fight a fire within such a large open area (202 m by 93 m) with high ceilings (up to 10 m) and no internal means of connecting hoses. As a result of this concern, the Fire Department inserted a clause in the site plan agreement, executed by the owner (Pacific Mall Developments Inc.) and the Town of Markham, to provide a standpipe and hose system throughout the building. Through this agreement the owner agreed to provide such a system.

  1. Commission Ruling:

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that providing a standpipe and hose system for the two basement levels only provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.2.9.1. of the Building Code.

  1. Reason:

The Housing Development and Buildings Branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing confirmed that the present wording in Article 3.2.9.1. of the Building Code is an editorial oversight and will be corrected to reflect the wording in Article 3.2.9.1. of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61.

Dated at Toronto, this 24th day, in the month of August, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-34.

Roy Phillipe

Michael Lio

Demir Delen