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BCC Ruling No. 95-30-450

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-30-450

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3) and Article 1.1.3.2. for the definition of Water Distribution System 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. Bruce Mason, President, Lincoln Mechanical Contractors Ltd., St. Catharines for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Fisher, Chief Building Official, City of St. Catharines, concerning whether a 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized steel pipe to convey potable water is part of the water distribution system and subject to Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3) of the Building Code, at the Ministry of Transportation, 301 St. Paul Street (160 King Street), St. Catharines, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Lincoln Mechanical Contractors Ltd.
St. Catharines, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Fisher
Chief Building Official
City of St. Catharines

PANEL

Mr. Michael Lio, Chair
Mr. Rick Florio
Mr. Kenneth Bacon

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

June 20th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. Robert Silberstein
Vice-President
Niagara Mechanical Contractors
Weston, Ontario AND
Mr. Gunnar Heissler
Chief Operating Officer
The ECE Group Ltd.
For the Applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Bruce Mason, President, Lincoln Mechanical Contractors Ltd. is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to install plumbing in an eleven storey fully sprinklered office building that includes a 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized steel pipe to convey potable water to the building at 301 St. Paul Street (160 King Street), St. Catharines, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building is an eleven storey fully sprinklered high- rise office building. A portion of the sprinklered ground floor consists of office areas, loading docks and truck maneuvering bays. The building also includes a city and inter-city bus terminal comprised of a donut shop, waiting area, ticket office and washrooms located between two bus lanes and a service lane.

Plumbing Permit Number P94-0625 was issued on December 2, 1994, to install plumbing in the building.

A 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized steel pipe is installed in the potable water main starting from the building entry point to the suction side of the domestic cold water booster pumps.

Copper piping is used from the domestic cold water booster pump discharge to the building water distribution system. The 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized pipe with Victaulic couplings (between the two point described above) is installed exposed with the building and it is accessible.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the technical interpretation of Article 1.1.3.2. for the definition of Water Distribution System, and Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3) of the Building Code. At issue is whether a 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized steel pipe to convey potable water is part of the water distribution system and subject to the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 1.1.3.2. Definition of Words and Phrases

Water Distribution System means an assembly of pipes, fittings, valves and appurtenances that conveys water from the water service pipe or private water supply system to water supply outlets, fixtures, plumbing appliances and devices.

Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3) Steel Pipe

  1. Galvanized steel pipe shall not be used in a water distribution system except
    1. in buildings of industrial occupancy, or
    2. for the repair of existing galvanized steel piping systems.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the pipe in question is not a water distribution system in that it is situated prior to the meter and pumps and there is no branch piping running from it. Hence it does not come under Article 7.2.6.7. and the galvanized material should be acceptable.

The Applicant submitted that the pipe in question is completely accessible and therefore the intent of the provision is not contravened.

The Applicant referred to the Building Code which states that galvanized steel piping shall not be used in a water distribution system. The Applicant contends that this is not a water distribution system. There are no branch tees installed throughout the galvanized piping line. All branch tees for water distribution are after the discharge of the pump, which is copper piping.

The Applicant submitted that Niagara Mechanical Contractors would be willing to provide a reasonable extended warranty for the galvanized piping which is currently installed.

The Applicant also stated that other municipalities have accepted this on the basis of the equivalent provisions in Section 2.7 of the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that the applicant has installed a 150 mm (6 inch) galvanized steel pipe to convey potable water from the outside wall of the building to the suction side of the domestic water booster pump. The length of this pipe is approximately 125 feet.

The Respondent submitted that Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3) of the Building Code states that:

"Galvanized steel pipe shall not be used in a water distribution system except

  1. in buildings of industrial occupancy or,
  2. for the repair of existing galvanized steel piping systems".

The Respondent stated that the applicant does not wish to remove the galvanized steel pipe and replace it with pipe of an acceptable material and he was issued an inspection report on March 20, 1995, advising him of this matter. The Respondent submitted that Sentence 7.2.6.7.(1) of the Building Code states that welded and seamless steel pipe shall not be used in a plumbing system, except as follows:

"Galvanized steel pipe may be used in a drainage system or a venting system above ground inside a building". (Sentence 7.2.6.7.(2))

AND:

"Galvanized steel pipe shall not be used in a water distribution system except:

  1. in buildings of industrial occupancy, or
  2. for the repair of existing galvanized steel piping systems". (Sentence 7.2.6.7.(3))

The Respondent submitted that the installed galvanized steel pipe has been designed to carry potable water from the outside wall of the building to the suction side of the domestic water booster pump. This pipe would be considered plumbing since it is part of a water system which by definition is considered plumbing, which means,

"a drainage system, a venting system and a water system or parts thereof".

The Respondent submitted that the pipe is part of a water system and not part of a drainage system or venting system. A drainage system is a system of pipes used to convey sewage and clear water waste to a main sewer. A venting system is a system of pipes that connects a drainage system to open air for circulation. Since this galvanized steel pipe is neither a drainage system nor a venting system the exception to permit the use of galvanized steel pipe does not apply.

The Respondent submitted that the galvanized steel pipe is designed to transport potable water from the outside wall of the building, that is the water service pipe, to the suction side of the domestic water booster pump, a plumbing appliance. By definition, this would be considered part of the water distribution system since water distribution system means,

"an assembly of pipes, fittings, valves and appurtenances that convey water from the water service pipe or private water supply system to water supply outlets, fixtures, plumbing appliances and devices".

This pipe conveys potable water from the water service pipe which means,

"a pipe on the (private) property that conveys potable water from a waterworks or private water source to the inside of the building",

and to a plumbing appliance, that is the booster pump. Therefore, the pipe would be considered part of the water distribution system.

The Respondent reported that the major occupancy of this building, as classified under the Building Code, is Business and Personal Service (Group D) and not industrial (Group F). Therefore, the exception to permit the use of galvanized steel pipe in an industrial occupancy would not apply.

This building is a new building and there is no existing piping. Therefore, the exception to permit the use of galvanized steel pipe to repair existing galvanized steel piping would also not apply.

In conclusion, the Respondent stated that this galvanized steel pipe:

i. is considered plumbing, since it is part of a water system,

ii. is not part of a drainage system,

iii. is not part of a venting system,

iv. is part of a water distribution system,

v. is not located in an industrial occupancy, and

vi. is not being used to repair existing galvanized steel pipe.

Therefore, Sentence 7.2.6.7.(1) of the Plumbing Regulations in Part 7 of the Building Code does not permit galvanized steel pipe to be used as part of the water distribution system. The galvanized steel pipe must be removed and replaced with an acceptable material.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the water service pipe conforms to the requirements of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

1. The pipe is installed before the water meter and is considered a water service pipe. It contains no branches and is not considered part of the water distribution system.

2. The water service pipe is 6" in diameter with a sufficiently slow flow not making it susceptible to restricted flow from corrosion.

3. The water service pipe is accessible across its entire length.

4. Evidence presented suggests that large diameter galvanized pipe has been used in other municipalities on the basis of past performance.

Dated at Toronto, this 20th day, in the month of June, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-28.

Michael Lio

Rick Florio

Kenneth Bacon