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BCC Ruling No. 94-17-395

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #94-17-395

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, 1992. AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 9.4.4.4. and Sentence 4.1.1.3.(1) 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 Herbert and Almut Didszun for the resolution of a dispute with Bernie Roth, Chief Building Official, City of Scarborough.

APPLICANT

Herbert and Almut Didszun

RESPONDENT Mr. Bernie Roth
Chief Building Official
City of Scarborough

PANEL

Sarah Maman, Chair
Remus Tsang
Michael Wong

PLACE

Markham, Ontario

DATE OF RULING

September 29, 1994

APPEARANCES

Vish Bhapkar, Manager
Architectural/Structural Plans
Examination Section
City of Scarborough
for the Respondent

ADJOURNMENTS The hearing was adjourned on July 7th, 1994 pending the reconciliation of two geotechnical reports or a site specific soil analysis, and was reconvened on August 18th, 1994.

The hearing was adjourned on August 18th, 1994 due to an unsigned report being submitted by the Applicant's agent as evidence. The hearing was reconvened on September 29th, 1994.

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Herbert and Almut Didszun are applicants for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to reconstruct a fire damaged house on existing masonry foundation walls, located near the crest of the Scarborough Bluffs at 7 Springbank Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The applicant is proposing to reconstruct a two storey single family dwelling that was destroyed by fire. The new dwelling is to be reconstructed on the existing foundation with no additional excavation. An independent structural review found the existing foundation to be satisfactory. The site is situated near the edge of the Bluff which is approximately 53 metres (174 ft.) above the present Lake Ontario shore line.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns the interpretation of the technical requirements of Article 9.4.4.4. and Sentence 4.1.1.3.(1) of the Building Code. At issue is the close proximity of the dwelling to the edge of the bluff with respect to slope instability, potential ground loss and building movement.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 9.4.4.4. Soil Movement

Where a foundation is located in an area in which soil movement caused by changes in soil moisture content is known to occur to the extent that it will cause significant damage to a building, measures shall be taken to minimize the affect of such movement on the building.

Sentence 4.1.1.3.(1) Design Requirements

Buildings and their structural members including formwork and falsework shall be designed to have sufficient structural capacity and structural integrity to resist safely and effectively all loads and effects of loads and influences that may reasonably be expected, having regard to the expected service life of building, and shall in any case satisfy the requirements of this Section.

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant submitted geotechnical reports that showed the soil erosion effects on the proposed dwelling would not create an unsafe condition within the present and foreseeable future.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that the geotechnical reports submitted by the applicant do not adequately address the following:

(a) The existing foundation is located in a high risk zone with respect to slope instability, potential ground loss and building movement;

(b) The proposed work would contravene Sentence 4.1.1.3.(1) and Article 9.4.4.4. of the Building Code; and,

(c) The reconstructed building would be structurally inadequate and lead to a potentially unsafe condition.

Furthermore, the respondent said the conclusions in the geotechnical report are qualified by an emphasis placed on the preliminary nature of the report and assumptions relied on to arrive at these conclusions.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that based on the documentation submitted that the reconstruction of the new house on the existing foundation shows sufficiency of compliance with the Building Code.

  1. Conditions:

(1) The following reports shall be registered on the title of the subject property:

i) Solmers International, Geotechnical Review, Slope at 7 Springbank Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario, File SI0 941117, dated June 13, 1994. Report signed by M. Bernardi, P.Eng.

ii) Sarafinchin Associates Ltd., Slope Review 7 Springbank Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario, Project T1208/R1, dated March 4, 1994. Report signed by Larry Galimanis, P.Eng. and Murray Sarafinchin, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.

iii) Jagger Hims Limited, Addendum Report, Review of Geotechnical Reports, Slope at 7 Springbank Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario, File 94578.00, dated September 9th, 1994. Report signed by Andrew G. Hims, P.Eng.

(2) Adequate precautions shall be taken so that no further deterioration of slope stability occurs. This included: i) All heavy equipment, trucks, storage supplies and the like, used in demolition and construction operations must be kept a distance of at least 25 metres from the crest of the embankment. This will reduce overloading of the crest of the slope.

ii) Excavation operations will be kept to a minimum and will be carried out manually.

iii) All compaction operations are to be carried out with hand-operated equipment without vibration to reduce the risk of soil disturbance at the crest of the slope.

iv) The site must be well drained at all times. Surface water run-off resulting from rain, snow melt, etc., must be diverted away from the crest of the slope towards the street. A series of french drains, strategically placed across the site, may be required.

v) New filtered weeping tiles are to be installed at the perimeter of the house.

vi) The existing septic system is to be relocated to the north of the structure or drainage to be adequately diverted to the municipal sewer system.

vii) The crest of the slope where water erosion occurred during firefighting operations, must be reinstated to its previous configuration prior to the commencement of any construction. Backfilling operations in this sensitive area must be carried out carefully, with a series of conveyors to reduce the potential for disturbance. The backfill material must be free-draining.

(3) A professional geotechnical engineer shall be engaged to conduct a field review to ensure the aforementioned condition number (2) is met.

  1. Reasons:

(1) The proposed reconstructed house will be identical to the one destroyed by fire. (2) Adequate precautions will be taken to ensure no further slope instability occurs.

Dated at Toronto this 29th day in the month of September in the year 1994 for application number 1994-22.

Sarah Maman

Remus Tsang

Michael Wong