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BCC Ruling No. 94-08-386

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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 Mr. Ian Farley, Secretary- Treasurer, Royal City Tennis Club Corporation for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Ron Lefneski, Chief Building Official, City of Guelph.


Royal City Tennis Club Corporation


Mr. Ron Lefneski
Chief Building Official
City of Guelph

Sarah Maman, Chair
Sang Shim
Rick Florio


Toronto, Ontario


Mr. Ian Farley, Secretary-Treasurer
Royal City Tennis Club Corporation
For the applicant

Mr. James E. Fryett, Architect,
James Fryett Architect for Applicant
Mr. Gordon Dalziel, Airstruc Technology Inc.
For the applicant

Mr. Paul Moore, Senior Plans Examiner,
City of Guelph for the respondent

Mr. Danny Hui, Building Code Advisor,
Ministry of Housing.


April 25th, 1994


  1. The Applicant

The Applicant, Mr. Ian Farley, Royal City Tennis Club Corporation has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct a building at 70 Municipal Street, Guelph, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The applicant is proposing to construct a year round tennis facility comprising a clubhouse facility attached to an air- supported structure covering six tennis courts.

  1. Dispute

The dispute between the Applicant and Respondent concerns sufficiency of compliance with Sentence of the Building Code. At issue is the separation between the clubhouse and the air-supported structure. Sentence of the Building Code does not permit the air-supported structure to be erected closer than 3 metres to the clubhouse. In addition, the buildings must be sufficiently distance from one another to provide an area to be used as a means of emergency egress.

  1. Provision of the Building Code

Sentence Clearance to Other Structures

(2) Tents and air-supported structures shall not be erected closer than 3 metres to other structures on the same property except as provided in Sentence (3) and (4), and shall be sufficiently distant from one another to provide an area to be used as a means of emergency egress.

  1. Applicant's Position

The proposed construction of the clubhouse facility and attached air-supported structure does not appear to comply with the requirements of Article of the Building Code. The following compensating safety features are proposed in lieu of the required 3 metre distance separation:

i. The clubhouse will be fully sprinklered in accordance with NFPA-13 and be non-combustible construction.

ii. Window sprinklers authorized by the Building Materials Evaluation Commission (BMEC) shall be installed on all perimeter windows of the clubhouse which are adjacent to the air-supported structure.

iii. An audible warning device shall be installed to warn occupants of a collapse of the air-supported structure.

iv. The air-supported structure and clubhouse will conform to the Building Code in all other aspects.

v. Occupancy for the air-supported structure and clubhouse shall be limited to only tennis functions. The occupant load shall be as follows:

Air-supported Structure

Total Maximum occupant load 48
Normal average occupant load 18


Total Maximum occupant load 80
Normal average occupant load 18

The following reasons were given by the applicant in support of their request for approval:

i. The structure does not create a hazard to the public due to the following:

a. Non-combustible construction of the clubhouse;

b. Fully sprinklered clubhouse; and,

c. Air-supported structure and clubhouse have low fire load, low occupancy load, portable fire extinguishers as per code, exits as per code, and fire access and hydrant as per code.

ii. The Building Code Commission has ruled in favour of the applicant, with respect to the same issue, on at least two other occasions.

iii. The City of Guelph Building Department does not oppose this application.

  1. Chief Building Officials Position

The respondent stated that Sentence of the Building Code specifically prohibits any structure to be located within 3 metres of an air-supported structure. The respondent said the building department was aware that there have been several previous rulings on a similar issue, but it was their understanding that previous Building Code Commission rulings are site specific. Also their interpretation of Section 2.7 of the Building Code did not provide authority to accept this system as an equivalent.

  1. Commission Ruling:

In favour of the Applicant. It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that having no spatial separation between the clubhouse and the air-supported structure shows sufficiency of compliance.

  1. Reason:

The clubhouse will be separated from the air-supported structure by a fire separation and all openings will be protected. In this manner fire containment will be achieved.

Dated at Toronto this 25th day in the month of April in the year 1994 for application number 1994-09.