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BCC Ruling No. 94-42-417

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #94-42-417

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Articles 3.3.1.13., 3.4.2.5. & 3.4.4.1. 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 The President of the Lethbridge Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Henry N. Dekker, Chief Building Official, City of Stoney Creek, concerning the determination of whether the means of egress provided for the attic service room must comply with Articles 3.3.1.13., 3.4.2.5. & 3.4.4.1. of the Building Code.

APPLICANT

The President of the Lethbridge Stake
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Lethbridge, Alberta

RESPONDENT

Mr. Henry N. Dekker
Chief Building Official
City of Stoney Creek

PANEL

Sarah Maman, Chair
Mr. David Lam
Mr. Sang Shim

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

December 15, 1994

APPEARANCES

Mr. Greg Sather, Associate
Mr. Trevor P. Garwood-Jones, Partner
Trevor P. Garwood-Jones Architect Inc
Hamilton, Ontario
For the Applicant

Mr. Ned Mijatovic, Plan Examiner
Mr. Collin Potter, Plan Examiner
City of Stoney Creek
For the Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

The President of the Lethbridge Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the holder of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a one storey church at 345-351 Highway No. 8, Stoney Creek, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

The building is designated as an assembly occupancy, Division 2 (A-2) single storey structure, facing three streets. Construction is combustible wood frame with brick face. The building area is 1083 m² (11,657 sq. ft.). The attic service area is 183.9 m² (1980 sq. ft.) and contains 10 residential type gas fired furnaces.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the interpretation of the technical requirements of Articles 3.3.1.13., 3.4.2.5. & 3.4.4.1. of the Building Code. At issue is the determination of whether the means of egress provided for the attic service room complies with the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 3.3.1.13. Ramps, Stairways and Passages

  1. Except as provided in Sentence (2), Articles 3.3.4.8. and 3.3.1.14., ramps, stairways and passageways used by the public as access to exit shall conform with the requirements in Subsection 3.4.6.

  1. Ramps and stairways that do not conform to the requirements of Sentence (1) are permitted to service rooms and service spaces and are permitted in industrial occupancies, provided the ramps and stairways are intended only for occasional use for servicing equipment and machinery.

Article 3.4.2.5. Location of Exits

  1. Except as provided in Sentences (2), (3) and 3.3.2.4.(6), where more than one exit is required from a floor area, such exits shall be located so that the travel distance to not less than one exit as described in Article 3.4.2.4. shall be not more than

    1. 25 m (82 ft) in any Group F, Division 1 occupancy,
    2. 45 m (147 ft 8 in) in any sprinklered floor area that contains an occupancy other than Group F, Division 1,
    3. 40 m (131 ft 3 in) in any Group D occupancy
    4. 105 m (344 ft 6 in) in any floor area, served by a public corridor, in which rooms and suites are not separated from the remainder of the floor area by a fire separation, provided

i. the public corridor has a width of not less than 9 m (29 ft 6 in),

ii. the ceiling height in the public corridor is not less than 4 m (13 ft 1 in) above all floor surfaces,

iii. the building is sprinklered, and

iv. not more than one half of the required egress doorways from a room or suite open into the public corridor when the room or suite is required to have more than one egress doorway.

    1. 60 m (196 ft 10 in) in any storage garage that conforms to the requirements of Article 3.2.2.60., and
    2. 30 m (98 ft 5 in) in any other occupancy.

  1. Except for a Group F, Division 1 occupancy, Sentence (1) need not apply if exits are placed along the perimeter of the floor area and are not more than 60 m (196 ft 10 in) apart, measured along the perimeter, provided each main aisle in the floor area leads directly to an exit.

  1. Where more than one exit is required, every exit shall be considered as contributing not more than one half the required exit width.

  1. Exits shall be located and arranged so that they are clearly visible or their locations are clearly indicated and they are accessible at all times.

Article 3.4.4.1. Fire-Resistance Rating of Exit Separations

  1. Except as provided in Article 3.4.4.3. and Sentences (2), 3.3.5.5.(3) and 3.4.4.2.(2), every exit shall be separated from each adjacent floor area by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the floor assembly above the floor area and, where there is no floor assembly above, not less than that required by Subsection 3.2.2. for the floor assembly below, but in no case shall the fire-resistance rating be less than 45 min.

  1. The fire-resistance rating of the fire separation in Sentence (1) need not be more than 2 h.

  1. Where an exit stair in an assembly hall or theatre serves more than one balcony level, the exit stair shall be separated from the remainder of the building in conformance with Sentence (1).

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant stated that, (a) the space is not a 'Floor Area', it is a roof top enslosure as per Sentence 3.2.1.1.(1), and (b) the space is a Service Room and therefore, has no occupancy. Further, Sentence 3.1.1.13.(2) states that the stairways do not have to comply with Subsection 3.4.6. regarding access to exits. The Applicant said that spiral stair and ladders are positioned so the maximum travel distance is 120 ft. to the exit doors.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The Respondent's reasons for non-acceptance is "The proposed Attic Plan is a defined Floor Area requiring adequate exit facilities to be provided in order to comply with the Building Code requirement pertaining to exiting and fire protection for the occupants."

The respondent stated that Sentence 3.3.1.13.(2) provides substantial relief from the requirements of Subsection 3.4.6. only. The requirements for fire separations for exits (OBC 3.4.4.1.) and maximum travel distance (OBC 3.4.2.5.) are not addressed and are still required.

The Building Code only permits ladders in a below ground service room situation as noted in Sentence 3.3.1.3.(10), and also prohibits spiral stairs in exits as noted in Article 3.3.1.15.

The respondent submitted that exit facilities from the floor area must still comply with the requirements for exits found in Article 3.4.1.1. of the Building Code.

It is for these reasons that the Respondent does not support the applicant's position.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the use of a spiral stair and fixed ladders to provide means of egress from the service rooms shows sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code provided that additional fixed ladders are installed so that the maximum travel distance from any part of the service rooms to an exit does not exceed 30 m.

  1. Reason:

  1. The building is being considered an one storey building, with a service area containing the building's heating equipment above.

  1. Since the service area will not be accessible to the public, the spiral stair and the fixed ladders are considered adequate for egress purposes.

  1. The maximum travel distance from any point of the service area to the exit doors on the main level will not exceed 30 m. This would not cause a significant increase in the time required to exit the building.

  1. The service area is separated from the main floor by a 1 hr fire separation.

  1. The service area will be provided with heat detectors connected to a supervised fire alarm system.

  1. Emergency lighting will be provided in the service area.

Dated at Toronto, this 15th day, in the month of December, in the year 1994, for application number 1994-51.

Sarah Maman

David Lam

Sang Shim