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BCC Ruling No. 94-14-392

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #94-14-392

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, 1992. AND IN THE MATTER OF Article 3.3.1.1. and Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) 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 Peter Clewes, Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architects Ltd. for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. John Wright, Chief Building Official, Town of Markham.

APPLICANT

Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architects Ltd.

RESPONDENT

Mr. John Wright
Chief Building Official
Town of Markham

PANEL

Sarah Maman, Chair
Demir Delen
Kenneth Bacon

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

APPEARANCES

Mr. Jonathan Rubes, P. Eng.
Leber/Rubes Inc. for applicant
Mr. Chris Bird, Manager, Plans Review
Town of Markham for respondent

DATE OF RULING

May 31st, 1994

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Peter Clewes, Wallman, Clewes, Bergman Architect Ltd. is an applicant for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a two storey mixed use commercial building at the northeast corner of Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue East, Markham, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The applicant is proposing to construct a two storey mixed use commercial building. The main floor will contain a market style retail layout and the second floor will contain restaurants. Each unit on the main floor will face a circulation aisle either 3 m or 5 m wide and at least one 2-1/2 m cross aisle, with no fire separation between units nor between units and circulation and cross aisles (i.e. similar to a department store). Each unit location has been sold as a condominium.

The proposed building has a building area of 15,600 m2. The main and second floors will be interconnected as permitted by the Building Code.

The entire building perimeter will face fire access routes, although the Building Code requires only 50 percent of this building perimeter to face a fire route.

A single-stage fire alarm system will be installed. The fire alarm system will be monitored by an independent central station. The sprinkler system will be designed to function as part of the required fire detection system.

An automatically activated smoke exhaust system will be provided for the main floor, although not required by the Building Code.

Partitions between units will range from 2.4 to 3 m high. A security grill will be provided between units and circulation aisles permitting a view into units after business hours. The top of the unit will either be open or have an egg-crate type ceiling.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Article 3.3.1.1. and Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) the Building Code. At issue is the proposed ground floor market style retail layout with no fire separation between kunits nor between units and circulation routes where the corridor widths are 5 m or less in width.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Article 1.1.3.2. Definition of Suite

Suite means a single room or series of rooms of complementary use, operated under single tenancy, and includes dwelling units, individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses and dormitories as well as individual stores and individual or complementary rooms for business and personal services occupancies.

Clause 3.3.1.4.(1)(c) Public Corridor Separations

(1) Except as otherwise required in this Part, public corridors shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 hour except that (a) the fire-resistance rating need not be more than 45 min when the fire resistance rating of the floor assembly is not required to be more than 45 min, (b) no fire-resistance rating is required when the floor area is sprinklered and the corridor does not serve an institutional occupancy or a residential occupancy, (c) no fire separation is required in a sprinklered floor area where, (i) the corridor is more than 5 m in unobstructed width, and (ii) the corridor does not serve an institutional occupancy or a residential occupancy,(d) a floor assembly above a crawl space that is not considered a basement in Sentence 3.2.2.5.(2) is not required to be a fire separation, and (e) no fire separation is required in a sprinklered floor area where an occupancy in the corridor conforms to the requirements of Sentence 3.3.1.9.(6).

  1. Applicant's Position

The applicant stated that it is reasonable to consider the proposed market style retail floor to be similar to a department store or other indoor market style layout.

The applicant said that the inherent level of safety in the building design (i.e. high ceiling and large floor area), the proposed smoke exhaust system, egress layout and evacuation time based on the results of the ASETBX simulation will provide a level of safety commensurate with that required by the Building Code.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that each condominium unit is a suite and therefore subject to the applicable Building Code requirements.

The applicant proposes an arrangement of suites separated by aisles varying in width from 2.5 m to 5.0 m. The respondent considers these isles to be public corridors subject to Section 3.3 of the Building Code.

The respondent said that no fire separation is provided between units nor between units and the public corridor as required by the Building Code.

The respondent does not have the authority to issue a building permit for a condition that deviates from the Building Code and the use of equivalents regulated by Section 2.7 is not applicable.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that not providing fire separations between units, and units and circulation routes where the width is 5 m or less shows sufficiency of compliance provided:

i) The height of the partition walls between units does not exceed 3 m.

ii) Security closures separating units from the circulation corridors permit the interior of each unit area to be visible and will not exceed 3 m in height.

iii) Cross aisles that have been provided are maintained.

  1. Reasons:

1. The egress layout using aisles and cross aisles exceeds the requirements of the Building Code.

2. The exit capacity has been designed to accommodate two times the occupant load permitted by the Building Code.

3. The high ceiling with the smoke exhaust system enhances the level of safety.

Dated at Toronto this 31st day in the month of May in the year 1994 for application number 1994-20.

Sarah Maman

Demir Delen

Kenneth Bacon