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BCC Ruling No. 95-23-443

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-23-443

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 10.2.1.1., Sentence 3.1.2.1.(1) and Article 1.1.3.2. for the definition of Business and Personal Services Occupancy, Mercantile Occupancy and Assembly Occupancy, 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. Davis Thompson, Owner, 773978 Ontario Inc. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Edward Stechishen, Chief Building Official, Town of Deep River, concerning whether a Group D or E major occupancy classification is more appropriate for the proposed Teen Activity Centre (TAC) than a Group A-2 classification, thereby eliminating the need to upgrade the vertical fire separation between TAC and the adjacent Drug Store at 7 Champlain St., Deep River, Ontario.

APPLICANT

73978 Ontario Inc.
Deep River, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Edward Stechishen
Chief Building Official
Town of Deep River

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair
Mr. Demir Delen
Mr. Michael Lio

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

May 18th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. David Earle, Chairman
Teen Activity Centre
Deep River, Ontario
For the Applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Davis Thompson, Owner, 773978 Ontario Inc. received an Order to Comply under the Building Code Act, 1992 requiring the fire resistance rating of the vertical fire separation between a Teen Activity Centre (TAC) and an adjacent Drug Store at 7 Champlain St., Deep River, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject one storey building originally contained a drug store and an adjoining shoe store. The wall separating these premises is constructed with two layers of drywall. The Applicant proposed to change the use of the shoe store portion of the building to a Teen Activity Centre. The building area is 528 m² (5684 ft²). The area of the proposed Teen Activity Centre is 125 m ² (1346 ft²). The building is of combustible construction, unsprinklered and does not contain a fire alarm system.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concern an interpretation of Article 10.2.1.1., Sentence 3.1.2.1.(1) and Article 1.1.3.2. (i.e. the definition of Business and Personal Services Occupancy, Mercantile Occupancy and Assembly Occupancy) of the Building Code. At issue is whether a Group D or E major occupancy classification is more appropriate for the proposed Teen Activity Centre (TAC) than a Group A-2 classification, thereby eliminating the need to upgrade the vertical fire separation between TAC and the adjacent Drug Store.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

10.2.1.1. Classification of Major Occupancy

Every existing building or part thereof shall be classified according to its major occupancy in accordance with the requirements of Subsection 3.1.2.

3.1.2.1. Classification of Buildings

Except as provided in Articles 3.1.2.3. to 3.1.2.6., every building or part thereof shall be classified according to its major occupancy as belonging to one of the Groups or Divisions described in Table 3.1.2.A.

1.1.3.2. Definitions of Words and Phrases

Assembly Occupancy means the occupancy or the use of a building, or part thereof, by a gathering of persons for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or like purposes, or for the consumption of food or drink.

Business and Personal Services Occupancy (D) means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the transaction of business or the rendering or receiving of professional or personal services.

Mercantile Occupancy (E) means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the displaying or selling of retail goods, wares of merchandise.

  1. Applicant's Position

he Applicant submitted that Group D or E occupancy classification is more appropriate than a Group A occupancy because of the nature of the activities and the number of occupants that will use the Teen Activity Centre.

The Applicant submitted that the function of the building is primarily a preventative crisis centre with an adult always on duty. The occupant load is never more than 15 persons and is usually less than 10. The applicant noted that although restaurants are classified Group A-2, restaurants with an occupancy load less than 30 are classified Group E. TAC would accept a less than 30 occupancy requirement. Furthermore, there is no smoking, no drinking, no drugs and no cooking permitted at the centre.

The Applicant submitted that the building has exits front and back. The fire hazard has not increased from the previous use as a shoe store.

The Applicant referred to Appendix A-3.1.2.A (Major Occupancy) with respect to the TAC premises and submitted that the appropriate classification may be ambiguous. In some ways the Group A-2 occupancy classification would seem appropriate since people do assemble there. However, all of the Group A-2 examples in the appendix are for large assembly areas such as schools, dance halls, lecture halls etc. The TAC premises is approximately 1300 ft² and there are seldom more than a dozen people present.

The TAC is used for teen age counselling and discussion groups concerning pregnancy issues, drug abuse, referrals to other agencies and Young Drivers of Canada. The small floor area, the presence of a staff person and because the major purpose of TAC is to help troubled teens, the closest identified classification is a Business & Personal Services occupancy.

TAC will be employing a full time social worker to organize programs for teens and preteens. Part of the space will be used as an office by the new employee.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that the required 1.5 h fire separation between the space used by TAC and the Drug Store has not been provided. A Group A-2 occupancy classification is applicable since teenagers congregate in the building to socialize.

The space was formerly a shoe store (i.e. Group E, mercantile occupancy ). The result is a change of use from Group E to Group A-2 with an adjoining Group E occupancy (i.e. drug store) sharing a common fire separation.

The Respondent submitted that the main concern is the provision of the required 1.5 hour fire separation between TAC and the drug store.

The Respondent submitted that an integrated operation such as TAC should be judged by the most stringent requirement (i.e. a gathering of persons for recreational or like purposes) which is Group A-2.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that a Business and Personal Service Occupancy (Group D) classification of the Teen Activity Centre complies with the Building Code provided the occupant load does not exceed 30 persons.

  1. Reason:

The use as described by the applicant is more consistent with the rendering or receiving of personal services, such as counselling, crisis intervention, and other related referral services with a staff person present at all times.

Dated at Toronto, this 18th day, in the month of May, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-21.

Roy Philippe

Demir Delen

Michael Lio