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BCC Ruling No. 95-10-430

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-10-430

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 9.35.2.1. 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. James McLellan, Owner/Builder for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Fisher, Chief Building Official, City of St. Catharines concerning whether enclosing more than 60% of the carport perimeter with 6 mil poly and an overhead door requires the carport to be considered a garage in accordance with Article 9.35.2.1. of the Building Code, at 29 Victoria Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. James McLellan, Owner/Builder
St. Catharines, Ontario

RESPONDENT

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

PANEL

Mr. Michael Lio, Panel Chair
Mr. Remus Tsang
Mr. Rick Florio

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

March 13th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. James McLellan, Owner/Builder
St. Catharines, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. John Fisher
Chief Building Official
City of St. Catharines
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. James McLellan, Owner/Builder is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct an attached carport on the south east side of an existing one storey dwelling at 29 Victoria Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

A building permit was issued in 1993 to construct an attached carport, 4.3 m (14 ft.) wide and 7.3 m (24 ft.) long, on the south east side of an existing one storey house. The plans that formed the basis of the building permit issuance showed the carport open at both ends and one side. Approval was given during construction to install an overhead door that increased the enclosed perimeter to 50%. The carport was then further enclosed by the owner with 6 mil poly. This increased the enclosed perimeter from 50% to 68%.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the technical interpretation of Article 9.35.2.1. of the Building Code. At issue is whether enclosing more than 60% of the carport perimeter with 6 mil poly and an overhead door requires the carport to be considered as a garage.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 9.35.2.1. Roofed Enclosure Considered as Garage

Where a roofed enclosure used for the storage or parking of a car or cars has more than 60 per cent of the total perimeter enclosed by walls, doors or windows, the enclosure shall be considered a garage.

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant submitted that the rear wall of the carport is temporarily closed off during the winter months with a roll down sheet of 6 mil poly to prevent snow accumulation and damage.

The applicant does not consider this to be a violation of the Building Code.

The Building Code states that a carport perimeter cannot be enclosed in by more than 60% with walls, doors or windows. The applicant submitted that a wall is a permanent structure composed of wood framing, sheathing and exterior cladding.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent submitted that enclosing part of the carport perimeter with 6 mil poly is considered a material alteration since Clause 9.10.9.16.(3)(a)&(b) and Sentence 9.10.13.15.(1)&(2) of the Building Code require the following to ensure the safety of the occupants of the dwelling:

  • the construction between the garage and the dwelling must provide as effective barrier to gas and exhaust fumes and

  • every door between the garage and dwelling unit must be tight-fitting and weatherstripped to provide an effective barrier against the passage of gases and exhaust fumes and must be fitted with a self-closing device and

  • a doorway between an attached or built-in garage and a dwelling unit must not be located in a room intended for sleeping.

The gas-tight barrier between a dwelling unit and an attached garage is intended to provide reasonable protection from carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes from entering the dwelling unit. Carbon monoxide is a colourless odourless gas that is highly poisonous when inhaled.

The applicant submitted that making a material alteration to a building is by definition, performing construction and Subsection 8 (1) of the building Code Act states that "No person shall construct - unless a building permit has been issued therefore by the Chief Building Official". To date no building permit has been applied for nor issued.

On January 11, 1995, an inspection of the site revealed that the rear wall of the carport was enclosed with 6 mil poly. This increases the percentage of the perimeter that is enclosed from 50% to 68%.

According to Funk and Wagnalls Canadian College Dictionary, a wall is "a continuous structure designed to enclose an area". The poly is designed to enclose an area to keep the snow and wind out, to act as a wall. This wall of poly, which is designed to keep the snow and wind out will keep the poisonous carbon monoxide in.

The applicant states that the 6 mil poly installed at the west end of the carport is only in place during the winter months, December to March. This is not a valid reason for not requiring the wall between the garage and the dwelling and to be constructed as a barrier to gas or exhaust fumes. There is always the possibility of the build up of carbon monoxide and it could seep into the dwelling even if the wall was only in place one day a year.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Respondent. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that enclosing more than 60% of the carport perimeter with 6 mil poly and an overhead door constitutes a garage in accordance with Article 9.35.2.1. of the Building Code.

A free standing snow screen may be installed no closer than 450 mm (18") from the rear of the carport.

  1. Reason:

The installation of 6 mil poly on the rear wall of the carport limits the ventilation of the space and would require conformance to Article 9.10.13.15. and Article 9.10.9.16. of the Building Code.

Dated at Toronto, this 13th day, in the month of March, in the year 1995, for application number 1994-16.

Michael Lio

Remus Tsang

Rick Florio