Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1994 > BCC Ruling No. 94-23-401

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 94-23-401

Email this page


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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Article and Article for the definition of Medium Hazard Industrial Occupancy and Mercantile Occupancy, 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 I.H.I.W. Corporation for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Gordon Cuthbertson, Chief Building Official, City of Thunder Bay.


I.H.I.W. Corporation


Mr. Gordon Cuthbertson
Chief Building Official
City of Thunder Bay


Sarah Maman, Chair
Demir Delen
Kenneth Bacon


Toronto, Ontario


August 29, 1994


Mr. Levino Tittaferrante, President
I.H.I.W. Corporation
for the applicant


  1. The Applicant

I.H.I.W. Corporation is the applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to change the use of a building from a door and door hardware supply and warehouse facility to a furniture store at 1156 Alloy Drive, Thunder Bay, Ontario

  1. Description of Constrution

The existing 25,000 sq. ft. (2,323 m?) one storey building was constructed in 1992 as a Group F Division 2 (F-2) major occupancy. It was designed to the requirements of Article of the Building Code for industrial buildings, division 2, up to 4 storeys in building height. The building is not sprinklered.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the interpretation of Article and Article (i.e. the definition of Medium Hazard Industrial Occupancy and Mercantile Occupancy) of the Building Code. At issue is whether the existing F-2 classification of the building is applicable to the proposed use as a furniture store.

If the building remains classified as a Group F Division 2 major occupancy it does not require a sprinkler system. However, if the building is classified as a Group E major occupancy, sprinklers are required.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article Definitions of Words and Phrases

Industrial Occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing goods and materials.

Medium Hazard Industrial Occupancy (F-2) means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is more than 50 kg/m? or 1200 MJ/m? of floor area and not classified as high hazard industrial occupancy.

Mercantile Occupancy (E) means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the displaying or selling of retail goods, wares of merchandise.

Article Classification of Buildings

  1. Except as provided in Article to, every building or part thereof shall be classified according to its major occupancy as belonging to one of the Groups or Divisions described in Table 3.1.2.A.
  2. A building intended for use by more than one major occupancy, shall be classified according to all major occupancies for which it is used or intended to be used.

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant stated that Part 3 of the Building Code does not specifically name furniture stores in the Group E classification.

The existing building was classified as a Group F-2 and used as a hardware store.

The applicant stated that the building department used Part 11 definition for determining Group E. He said that if he could use Part 11 of the Building Code he could match existing since the hazard index does not increase.

Also sited was the fact that other furniture stores in Thunder Bay are not sprinklered.

The applicant stated that the F-2 classification applied to the new use and occupancy of the building. Since it is intended to sell furniture from prototypes displayed in the showroom, the building should not be considered as a Group E, but rather a Group F occupancy. The applicant felt that in a Group E occupancy furniture is sold directly from the showroom floor.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that the intended use of the building as a retail furniture store would indicate that the building be classified as a Group E occupancy.

Therefore, the provision of the Building Code in dispute is Article for a Group E, Mercantile occupancy. It requires the building to be sprinklered.

Part 11 of the Building Code could not be used to address concerns related to this project because the original building was built in 1992 (i.e. it is less than 5 years old).

Existing unsprinklered furniture stores referred to by the applicant were designed as Group E occupancies. The buildings met the requirements for unsprinklered buildings in accordance with Articles and of the Building Code.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Respondent. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the occupancy classification for the 25,000 sq.ft. one storey furniture store be an "E" mercantile occupancy.

  1. Reasons:

It is the intent of the Building Code that Group "E" mercantile occupancies be buildings and/or parts of buildings where the public can enter to view and/or purchase goods while Group "F-2" storage occupancies be buildings or parts of buildings where the general public is not permitted to enter.

Dated at Toronto, this 29th day, in the month of August, in the year 1994, for application number 1994-27.

Sarah Maman

Demir Delen

Kenneth Bacon