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BCC Ruling No. 94-34-412

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clause, and Sentences, and of the Revised Regulation of Ontario 1990, Regulation 61, as amended by O.Regs. 400/91, 158/93 and 160/93 (the "Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Page & Steele Architects for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Michael Nixon, Chief Building Official, City of Toronto.


Mr. Steve Steinowicz, Architect
Page & Steele Architects
Toronto, Ontario


Mr. Michael Nixon
Chief Building Official
City of Toronto


Sarah Maman, Chair
Demir Delen
Sang Shim


Toronto, Ontario


November 22, 1994


Mr. Allan E. Larden
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.
Toronto, Ontario
for the Applicant

Mr. Peter Sectakof
Building Engineer
City of Toronto
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Page & Steele Architects is the applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to convert floors 1 to 4 of an existing fifteen storey reinforced concrete building from office to residential apartment use at 50 Holly Street, Toronto.

  1. Description of Constrution

The building in question (i.e. 50/60 Holly Street) is an existing fifteen storey, reinforced concrete building. It originally contained four storeys of Group D occupancy on Floors 1 to 4, a fifth floor mechanical level and residential rental apartments on Floors 6 to 15.

50/60 Holly Street is a single building. "50 Holly Street" is the address of Floors 1 to 4, "60 Holly Street" is the address of Floors 6 to 15. There is a separate main entrance and lobby for each address.

Floors 1 to 4 are being converted from office to residential apartment use.

The existing building configuration is such that Floor 1 to 4 are served by one set of elevators, access to which is gained from the street at the 50 Holly Street lobby. The upper residential portion of the building and the fifth floor mechanical level are serviced by a complete separate set of elevators in a separate shaft, access to which is provided from the street through 60 Holly Street lobby. There is no common floor above Floor 1 that is accessible from both these banks of elevators. On this basis, it is not possible to transfer out of one elevator shaft, cross the floor area, and get into the other elevator shaft on the same level above the first storey.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the interpretation of the technical requirements of Clause, and Sentences, and of the Building Code. At issue is the determination of whether to provide emergency power for low-rise elevators extending to the 4th storey.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence Alteration or Repair

Except as provided in Sentence (2), where an existing building is subject to material alteration or repair, the Building Code is applicable only to those parts of the building that are subject to the material alteration or repair.

Clause Reduction in Preformance Level

The preformance level of a building is reduced where proposed construction will result in the change of the major occupancy of all or part of an existing building to another major occupancy of a greater hazard.

Sentence Reduction in Performance Level

Where a major occupancy of all or part of an existing building is changed to another major occupancy and the hazard index of the new major occupancy is equal to or less than the construction index of the existing building, and where the early warning and evacuation systems requirements of other Parts of the Code for the new major occupancy exceed those of the existing systems, upgrading of those systems shall be required in conformance with the applicable requirements of Tables 11.3.1.A., 11.3.1.B. and 11.4.2.A.

Sentence Reduction in Performance Level

Where proposed construction will result in a change of major occupancy described in Clauses (1)(a) to (d), additional construction shall be required in order that the building or part of the building subject to the change of major occupancy conforms to the requirements of Subsection 3.2.6., Sections 3.6., 3.11. 9.5 and 9.7, Subsection 9.10.16., Sections 9.31 and 9.32, and Subsections 9.34.1., 9.34.2. and 9.34.3. as they apply to the new major occupancy that the building or part of the building is to support.

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant stated that there is no requirement under the Building Code to upgrade the elevators serving Floors 1 to 4 with emergency power.

It is the applicant's position that Sentence of the Building Code indicates the extent to which Code requirements which would apply to new construction may be imposed on existing building fabric where renovation occurs.

Subsection 11.3.4. of the Building Code provides for upgrading certain aspects of building fabric where there is a change in performance level of the building as a result of construction. The two aspects of construction which could engender a reduction in performance level are an increase in occupant load or a change in major occupancy.

A change to residential occupancy from office occupancy is considered to be a reduction in performance level and on this basis the requirements of Subsection 11.3.4. of the Building Code apply. This requires the Hazard Index (H.I.) of the proposed residential occupancy be compared to the Construction Index (C.I.) of the existing building.

Table 11.4.1.H. of the Building Code indicates that a high-rise apartment building has an H.I. of 7 and Table 11.4.1.A. indicates a C.I. of 7 for noncombustible construction providing a 2 hour fire-resistance rating for floor assemblies (such as would be expected with a 200 mm reinforced concrete floor slabs in 50/60 Holly Street).

Since the H.I. for the new residential use equals the C.I. for the existing construction, Sentence requires upgrading of early warning and evacuation systems to at east match new construction requirements. Specifically, Tables 11.3.1.A., 11.3.1.B., and 11.4.2.A. are referenced. None of these tables require the addition of emergency power for a fire fighters elevator or any other upgrading beyond early warning and excavation.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that there is an increase in hazard by changing from an office to a residential occupancy.

Therefore, Sentence of the Building Code is applicable and an emergency power supply must be provided to the fire fighters' elevator serving Floors 1 to 4.

The building is considered one large high rise building, not two buildings. There must be continuity of fire fighters' elevators for all floors. Continuity for all floors must also be maintained for the emergency power supply.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that not providing emergency power to the elevators serving levels 1-4 complies with Sentence of the Building Code.

  1. Reason

Since the renovation and change of occupancy occured on levels 1-4 only and not in the high rise portion, i.e. the portion of the building greater than 18 m, the high rise requirements in Section 3.2.6. are not applicable.

Dated at Toronto, this 22nd day, in the month of November, in the year 1994, for application number 1994-44.

Sarah Maman

Demir Delen

Sang Shim