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BCC Ruling No. 95-34-454

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-34-454

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.2.2.44. & Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93, 160/93 and 355/94 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. A. Howard Tishman, Manager, Keysite Equities, North York for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. J.D. LaRue, Chief Building Official, City of Sault Ste. Marie, concerning whether a sprinkler system is required in a greenhouse addition to an existing mercantile occupancy, at White Rose, 43 Black Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Keysite Equities
North York, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. J.D. LaRue
Chief Building Official
City of Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

PANEL

Mr. Michael Lio, Chair
Mr. Demir Delen
Ms. Susan Friedrich

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

June 28th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Ellis, Architect
David Ellis Architect Inc.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. A. Howard Tishman
Keysite Equities
The Applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. A. Howard Tishman, Manager, Keysite Equities is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct alterations and additions (including a greenhouse) to an existing mercantile occupancy, at White Rose, 43 Black Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The existing 2174 m² single storey masonry building was built around 1975 with an unrated structural steel roof assembly which was protected by a sprinklering system conforming to Article 3.2.2.12. of the Building Code. The Applicant wishes to construct two new additions to the existing building and an unsprinklered 883 m² greenhouse structure with the gables flashed to the main building. The proposed new additions are 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 covered inside by steel studs with 1/2" gypsum board finish. 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 green canopy and except for three 12' sections, there are no permanent exterior nor interior walls.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 3.2.2.44. & Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) of the Building Code. At issue is whether a sprinkler system is required in a greenhouse addition to an existing mercantile occupancy.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

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

    1. as 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 m? (16,100 ft?), and

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

a. the building is sprinklered,

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

c. 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).

  1. Applicant's Position

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 of concrete block and steel construction and is fully sprinklered in compliance with the Building Code.

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. The greenhouse is separated from the building by a 10" concrete block wall covered inside by 3 ?" steel studs to which is applied ?" gypsum board.

6. 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.

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

8. 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.

9. There is such a degree of sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code that sprinklering the greenhouse should not be a requirement in this instance.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that Article 3.2.2.44 and Sentence 3.2.2.12.(1) require mercantile buildings in excess of 16,100 ft² (1500 m²) to be sprinklered and that a supervised sprinkler system may be substituted in lieu of a fire rated roof assembly.

The Respondent also submitted that the existing 23,400 ft². (2174 m²) single storey, masonry building has an unrated structural steel roof assembly. It is undergoing alterations and the construction of two additions totalling 4,300 ft². (404 m²). Both additions and the existing building will be protected by a supervised sprinkler system. An unsprinklered 9,500 ft². (883 m²) greenhouse structure is being placed immediately adjacent to the main building with the gables flashed to the main building.

The Respondent submitted that the dispute arises out of the interpretation that 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. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the greenhouse structure shows sufficiency of compliance to the Building Code provided it is used only for the display and sale of horticultural products.

  1. Reasons:

  1. The unheated structure is used seasonally and not in winter.

  1. The structure is non combustible in construction.

  1. The unenclosed greenhouse provides unlimited means of egress.

  1. The existing building is sprinklered and separated from the greenhouse by a 250 mm (10") masonry wall covered inside by steel studs with ?" gypsum board finish.

Dated at Toronto, this 28th day, in the month of June, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-30.

Michael Lio

Demir Delen

Susan Friedrich