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BCC Ruling No. 94-30-408

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #94-30-408

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Articles 9.25.4.9. and 9.25.4.10. 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 Minto Development Inc. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Harkness, Chief Building Official, City of Kanata.

APPLICANT

Minto Construction Inc.

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Harkness
Chief Building Official
City of Kanata

PANEL

Sarah Maman, Chair
Michael Lio
David Lam

PLACE

Ottawa, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

August 24, 1994

APPEARANCES

Mr. Regis Trudel
Senior Vice-President
Minto Developments Inc.
for the applicant

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Minto Developments Inc. are holders of a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a single family dwelling (i.e. house) at 58 Wheaton Ave., City of Kanata.

  1. Description of Constrution

The applicant is constructing a two storey house with a full basement at 58 Wheaton Ave., Kanata, Ontario.

The interior surface of foundation walls enclosing heated space are covered with insulation and vapour barrier extending from the underside of the subfloor to the finished floor level of the basement. The framing material, insulation and vapour barrier is installed tight against the foundation wall, floor slab below and floor framing above to reduce air circulation.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Articles 9.25.4.9. and 9.25.4.10. of the Building Code. At issue is the requirement to extend the insulation and vapour barrier from the underside of the subfloor to the finished floor level of the basement. The applicant proposes to terminate the insulation and vapour barrier not more than 380 mm (15 inches) above the finished floor level of the basement.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 9.25.4.9. Extent of Insulation for Foundation Walls

  1. Except as permitted in Sentence (3), foundation walls enclosing heated space shall be insulated from the underside of the subfloor to the finished floor level of the basement.

  1. The insulation required by Sentence (1) may be provided by a system installed

  1. on the interior of the foundation wall,

  1. on the exterior face of the foundation wall, or

  1. partially on the interior and partially on the exterior, provided the thermal performance of the system is equivalent to that permitted in Clause (a) or (b).

  1. Where the number of degree days for individual locations is 5000 or more, the insulation required in Sentence (1) shall extend from the underside of the subfloor and may terminate within not more than 380 mm (15 inches) above the finished floor level of the basement.

  1. If a foundation wall is constructed of hollow masonry units, one or more of the following shall be used to control convection in the core spaces,

    1. filling the core spaces,

    1. at least one row of semi-solid blocks at or below grade,

or

    1. other similar methods.

Article 9.25.4.10. Protection for Insulation Installed on the Inside Face of Foundation Walls

  1. Insulation to be installed on the inside face of foundation walls below ground level shall be protected from moisture by a moisture barrier or shall be inherently impermeable to moisture and, if such insulation is of the batt-type it shall be protected from moisture by a moisture barrier and a vapour barrier.

  1. Insulation on the inside of foundation walls described in Sentence (1) shall be installed tightly against the foundation wall and shall be sealed at the top and at the bottom to reduce air circulation.

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant stated that the full height basement insulation requirements of the Building Code have led to severe moisture problems in the basement.

Condensing moisture has accumulated at the base of the wall and seeped onto the basement floor. This has caused severe mold and mildew. Also, this build-up of moisture resulted in the deterioration of the associated building materials (i.e. insulation, wood framing and gypsum board).

The applicant proposed to terminate the insulation and vapour barrier not more than 380 mm (15 inches) above the finished basement slab to provide greater air circulation.

The applicant stated that their proposal would provide sufficiency of compliance with the energy objectives of the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that the Building Code clearly requires thermal insulation of basement walls to extend from the underside of the subfloor to the finished floor level of the basement.

Where the number of degree days is 5000 or more, the Building Code permits the thermal insulation of basement walls to terminate 380 mm (15 inches) above the finished floor level of the basement. The subject building is not in such an area. The 380 mm space allows heat loss through the foundation to prevent frost heaving and has the benefit of allowing moisture in the concrete to evaporate.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that terminating the insulation and vapour barrier not more than 380 mm (15 inches) above the finished basement floor slab shows sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code provided that the insulation is affixed in such a manner that it will not slip out of place.

  1. Reasons:

This Type III house has been provided with a heat recovery ventilator which provides at least the equivalent energy benefit as a full height insulated basement.

Dated at Toronto, this 24th day, in the month of August, in the year 1994, for application number 1994-39.

Sarah Maman

Michael Lio

David Lam