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BCC Ruling No. 95-06-426

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #95-06-426

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) 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. John W. Bate, John Bate & Co. Ltd. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Agris Robeznieks, Chief Building Official, City of Mississauga, concerning whether an automatic dry standpipe and hose system in a frozen space (-26 deg C) and other areas, sufficiently complies with the technical interpretation of Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) of the Building Code, at Conestoga Cold Storage, 2660 Meadowpine Blvd., Mississauga, Ontario.

APPLICANT

John Bate & Company Ltd.
London, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Agris Robeznieks
Chief Building Official
City of Mississauga

PANEL

Mr. Demir Delen, Panel Chair
Mr. Remus Tsang
Mr. Sang Shim

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

February 28th, 1995

APPEARANCES

Mr. John Bate
John Bate & Company Ltd

AND
Mr. Frank Van De Peer

Total Fire Systems
For the Applicant

Mr. Frank Spagnolo
Manager, Building Engineering & Inspection
City of Mississauga

AND

Mr. Dan DeLuca, Plans Examiner
Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services
For the Respondent

RULING

1. The Applicant

Mr. John W. Bate, John Bate & Company. Ltd. is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a cold storage facility at 2660 Meadowpine Blvd., Mississauga, Ontario.

2. Description of Constrution

The building comprises a two storey office and one storey cold storage facility. A firewall divides the building area into 2357.35 m² and
3403.68 m² spaces. An automatic dry standpipe and hose system is proposed in the cold storage area.

3. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with the technical requirements of Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) of the Building Code. At issue is whether the automatic dry standpipe and hose system proposed for the frozen space (-26 deg C) and other areas, sufficiently complies with the Building Code.

4. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9): Standpipe and Hose System Design

(9) Where freezing of piping may occur, a dry standpipe system may be provided and so arranged through the use of listed devices to

  1. automatically admit water to the system by opening of a hose valve, and

  1. transmit a signal to an attended location.

5. Applicant's Position

The applicant proposed to use an automatic - dry system, normally filled with pressurized air that is arranged through the use of devices such as a dry pipe valve to automatically emit water into the system piping upon opening of a hose valve at a hose cabinet.

The City of Mississauga insists the applicant use a semiautomatic - dry system known as a pre-action system such that an electric pull station located in or at the fire hose station be activated in order to trip a deluge valve back at the riser. This also requires the user to manually turn a valve in the hose cabinet in order to have water at the hose. This involves two (2) actions to activate the system, a) pull the electric device in the hose cabinet, and b) open the valve.

The "pre-action" system is much more expensive than the auto-dry system.

The applicant submitted that Building Code Article 2.6.2.1. states that "in the case of a conflict between the provisions of this Code and those of a referenced document the provision of this Code shall govern". This means that NFPA 14 which is the reference document for Article 3.2.9.3., cannot overrule the provisions of that Article.

Sentence 9 of Article 3.2.9.3. sets the rules for standpipe systems "where freezing of piping may occur". It calls for the standpipe to "automatically emit water to the system by opening of a hose valve and transmitting a signal to an attended location". The system proposed by the applicant will conform to Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9).

In the applicant's opinion the pre-action system being required by the City of Mississauga has flaws, not the least of which, is the fact that a fire alarm pull station resides in each fire hose cabinet that will not necessarily be connected to the fire alarm system. The applicant is installing a fire alarm system in this building even though the Building Code does not require it. A person unfamiliar with this system seeing a pull station at the hose cabinet may think he is activating the fire alarm system when in effect he is activating the standpipe system.

6. Chief Building Officials Position

At the commencement of the hearing the Respondent raised a concern regarding one of the Building Code Commission panel member's hearing the dispute because of his involvement in a similar issue six years ago. The Respondent did not elaborate any further on the nature of these concerns.

The respondent stated that the use of a differential dry pipe sprinkler valve is not acceptable due to the following concerns:

    1. NFPA - 14, which is referenced within Article 3.2.9.3. does not permit dry class 2 or 3 standpipe systems.

    1. The National Fire Code of Canada does not permit dry standpipe systems for Class 2 and 3 service.

    1. The 1.5 and 2.5 inch hose valves within the fire hose cabinets do not perform well in maintaining a seal against high air pressures.

    1. There is no design criteria nor regulations with respect to the maximum volumes and trip times permitted.

The system's volume has been estimated at 500 USGAL and the flow area of an 1.5 inch hose is estimated to be equivalent to a single flowing sprinkler head. What is considered an acceptable time to deliver water from the valve to the nozzle.

    1. Typically a pressure of 40 - 50 psi will be maintained in the dry system to prevent tripping.

The discharge of the air pressure along with the built up rust and scale deposits could create a hazard to personnel.

7. Commission Ruling:

The panel considered the representations of the respondent concerning the prior involvement of a Building Code Commission panel member in a similar issue and determined that the issues as presented by the Respondent would not raise a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the Building Code Commission panel. The panel therefore decided to continue with the hearing.

n favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed automatic dry standpipe system complies with Sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) of the Building Code.

8. Reasons:

a. Sentence 3.2.9.3.(1) excepts sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) from the requirements of NFPA - 14.

b. The proposed system complies with sentence 3.2.9.3.(9) of the Building Code.

Dated at Toronto, this 28th day, in the month of February, in the year 1995, for application number 1995-04.

Demir Delen

Remus Tsang

Sang Shim