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BCC Ruling No. 94-24-402

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article of 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 Désirée Custom Made Drapes for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Brian Horseman, Chief Building Official, City of North Bay.


Désirée Custom Made Drapes


Mr. Brian Horseman
Chief Building Official
City of North Bay


Sarah Maman, Chair
Demir Delen
Kenneth Bacon


Toronto, Ontario


August 29, 1994


Joan Moreau, Owner
Désirée Custom Made Drapes
for the applicant


  1. The Applicant

Désirée Custom Made Drapes is the holder of permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a front and rear addition to an existing building at 1132 Cassells Street, North Bay, Ontario.

  1. Description of Constrution

On September 28th, 1994 a building permit was issued to construct an addition to the front of an existing house.

The front addition was for personal service occupancy and included a new entrance. The new entry provided access to a split level landing with stairs leading to the basement and first floor. The Building Department deemed the first floor to be the entrance storey since the new entrance only provided access onto the landing.

The Building Department agreed to permit a ramp providing barrier free access through a proposed rear addition.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns an interpretation of Article of the Building Code. The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether the new main entrance to D‚sir‚e Custom Drapes satisfies the Barrier Free Design requirements of Section 3.7 of the Building Code.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article Entrances

  1. Except as required in Sentence (2), every building in Article shall have at least one entrance intended for general use by the public or the occupants designed in conformance with Article and opening to the outdoors at sidewalk level or a ramp conforming to Article leading to a sidewalk.

  1. Where a suite of Group A, D or E occupancy is contained on the first storey to which a barrier-free path of travel is provided, and is completely separated from the remainder of the building so that three is no access to the remainder of the building, such suite shall have at least one barrier-free entrance in conformance with Sentence (1).

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant stated that the entrance to the front addition complied with the Barrier Free Design requirements of s. 3.7 of the Building Code.

The applicant said that a wheelchair can enter through the main entrance door and come into the store without any difficulty. Once inside there are doorbells accessible to all customers to ring for service.

A wheelchair can easily turn around and exit the landing area. From the entrance landing a person can view the entire showroom and displays. All samples, books, displays and fabric can be brought to the customer.

A shop at home service is also offered where appointments are made and samples are taken to the customers home.

The applicant disputed the provision of a ramp at the rear addition. Besides being an insurmountable expense, it would never be used. Also, persons using the ramp would have to travel through private living quarters to access the store. With a maximum gradient of 1 in 12, over forty feet would be required for the ramp. This would eliminate the customer parking area.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that he does not have the authority to omit, exclude or deviate from the Building Code. Article of the Building Code clearly requires barrier free access be provided to the entrance storey.

The use of equivalents regulated by Section 2.7 of the Building Code is not applicable.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the new main entrance to D‚sir‚e Custom Drapes shows sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

  1. The nature and size of the business is such that most of the business is conducted at the customers' home. This location is incidental to the main operation.

  1. The major use of this building is residential (i.e. the owner lives on site).

  1. The merchandise on display can be adequately viewed at the entrance landing which is accessible.

Dated at Toronto, this 29th day, in the month of August, in the year 1994, for application number 1994-31.

Sarah Maman

Demir Delen

Kenneth Bacon