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BCC Ruling No. 95-24-444

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-24-444

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 9.9.6.8. 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 Ms. Joy McCormack, Muskoka Women's Advocacy Group for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Randy Gardner, Chief Building Official, Town of Bracebridge, concerning whether the electromagnetic locking devices on two exterior doors sufficiently comply with Article 9.9.6.8. of the Building Code, at "Muskoka Interval House", 43 Mary Street, Bracebridge, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Muskoka Women's Advocacy Group
Bracebridge, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Randy Gardner
Chief Building Official
Town of Bracebridge

PANEL

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

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

May 18th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. Michael Gooch
Building Inspector
Town of Bracebridge
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Ms. Joy McCormack, Muskoka Women's Advocacy Group is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a Part 9 building, classified as a Group C major occupancy to be used as a battered women's shelter, "Muskoka Interval House", 43 Mary Street, Bracebridge, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The subject building was designed and built as a single family dwelling (i.e. house). It is being used as a shelter for battered women. The building has 10 sleeping rooms with an occupant load of 20. In-house supervision is provided 24 hours a day.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Article 9.9.6.8. of the Building Code. At issue is whether the electromagnetic locking devices on two exterior doors sufficiently comply with the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 9.9.6.8.: Door Opening Mechanism

Exit doors and doors to suites, including exterior doors to dwelling units, shall be openable from the inside without requiring keys, special devices or specialized knowledge of the door opening mechanism.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the operating procedures for this shelter for battered women provides that only staff members may open from the interior, any of the five exterior doors. The doors in contention (i.e. the 'front door' and the 'basement door') are equipped with electrically operated unlocking devices activated by touch-keys, the fire alarm system, and a power failure.

The applicant submitted that two of the exterior doors, door D31 (i.e. the east exit door) and door D43 (i.e. the west exit door) are equipped with door release hardware conforming with Article 3.4.6.15. The Building Department has accepted this arrangement as an equivalent with respect to these two doors complying with Article 9.9.6.8. of the Building Code.

It is the Applicant's position that:

  1. the east exit door and the west exit door are the required exits to the exterior,

  1. the east exit door and the west exit door are the only required exits to the exterior,

  1. the front door and the basement door are not required exits to the exterior,

  1. the required exit doors comply with Article 9.9.6.8.

  1. the front door and the basement door are not required to comply with Article 9.9.6.8., and

  1. in addition to the above, the intent of the Building Code with respect to door release hardware on doors that are not required exits is found in Sentence 3.4.6.15.(3).

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent submitted that Article 9.9.6.8. requires that all exterior doors to dwelling units be openable without the use of keys, special devices or specialized knowledge. The latches that have been installed are electromagnetic, using pins or latches that can be opened with a touch key. They can be programmed or wired to not open on power failure or on the activation of the fire alarm. The Building Department has not been provided with the specifications for the latches. These latches do not comply with Article 9.9.6.8. or Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4).

The Respondent does not have the authority to permit a condition that deviates from the Building Code and the use of equivalents regulated by Section 2.7 is not applicable.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the subject exterior doors from the building provide sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

  1. Two exits that comply with the Building Code have been provided from every floor area.

  1. Twenty four hour supervision is provided by staff.

  1. Emergency procedures on exiting the building are included in the fire safety plan.

  1. All residents are oriented on fire emergency procedures.

  1. The building has limited public access.

Dated at Toronto, this 18th day, in the month of May, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-22.

Roy Philippe

Demir Delen

Michael Lio