BUILDING CODE COMMISSION

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1 Ruling No Application # BUILDING CODE COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24 (1) of the Building Code Act, AND IN THE MATTER OF Articles and of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99 and 205/00 (the Ontario Building Code ). AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Gabriel Costa, President, Costa & Gunnar Construction Inc.,, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Bruce Ashton, Deputy Chief Building Official, City of, to determine whether the proposed construction of a new mezzanine (in an existing building), that is to have a minimum headroom clearance of 1,975 mm (6', 6") under the open web steel joists located at 1,975 mm (6', 6") on centre, provides sufficiency of compliance with Articles and of the Ontario Building Code at Unit #2, 30 Titan Road,. APPLICANT RESPONDENT PANEL PLACE Mr. Gabriel Costa, President Costa & Gunnar Construction Inc. Mr. Bruce Ashton Deputy Chief Building Official City of Toronto Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair Mr. Robert De Berardis Mr. Donald Pratt DATE OF HEARING May 10, DATE OF RULING May 10, APPEARANCES Mr. Norbert Sebris Consultant Agent for the Applicant Mr. Sait Toprak Manager, Plan Review, West District City of Toronto Designate for the Respondent

2 -2- RULING 1. The Applicant Mr. Gabriel Costa, President, Costa & Gunnar Construction Inc.,, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 for the construction of a new mezzanine in Unit # 2, 30 Titan Road,. 2. Description of Construction The Applicant represents the owner of several units within an existing mixed use industrial condominium building, containing a Group F, Division 2, industrial major occupancy. The facility is one storey in building height with an area of approximately 6, m 2 (69, 683 sq ft). It is comprised of noncombustible construction and has been provided with a fire alarm system and is fully sprinklered. The construction in dispute involves a proposed mezzanine addition to Unit #2. The unit has an area of approximately m 2 (4,859 sq ft) and the mezzanine is proposed to be approximately m 2. It is contemplated that the mezzanine will run along the extent of the western wall of the unit, providing headroom clearance of,1975 mm (6', 6") under the mm (18 inch) open web steel joists located every 1,975 mm (6', 6"). A printing business is currently operated out of Unit #2 and it is anticipated that the proposed mezzanine level would be used by the graphic arts designers. It is suggested that 3 to 5 people would occupy the mezzanine level and there would be no partitions to obstruct movement or view. 3. Dispute The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the minimum headroom clearance proposed for the mezzanine level at 1,975 mm (6', 6") provides sufficiency of compliance with Articles and of the Ontario Building Code. With two exceptions not applicable here, Article requires compliance with Article in respect to the minimum headroom clearance required in every access to exit. Article requires that every exit shall have a minimum headroom clearance of 2,100 mm (6', 11"). In this instance the Applicant is providing headroom clearance at the open web steel joists of only 1,975 mm (6', 6"). Although the coffered ceiling between the joists offers headroom clearance that would exceed Code requirements, compliance is not achieved at each joist location throughout the subject unit. 4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code Headroom Clearance (1) Except within the floor area of a storage garage, the minimum headroom clearance in every access to exit shall conform to the requirements of Article for exits. (See also Sentence (5).) Headroom Clearance (1) Except as permitted by Sentences (2) to (4), every exit shall have a headroom clearance of

3 -3- not less than 2,100 mm (6 ft 11 in). (2) The headroom clearance for stairways measured vertically above any landing or the nosing of any stair tread shall be not less than 2,050 mm (6 ft 9 in). (3) The headroom clearance for doorways shall be not less than 2,030 mm (6 ft 8 in). (4) No door closer or other device shall be installed so as to reduce the headroom clearance of a doorway to less than 1,980 mm (6 ft 6 in). 5. Applicant s Position The Applicant s Agent submitted that the design of the proposed mezzanine is based on permit drawings for Unit #8 that were submitted to the City in The mezzanine design in Unit #8 was based on the provision of 6', 6" of headroom at the open web steel joists that run throughout the building. In addition to Unit #8, the owner has since purchased Units 6, 10, 12 and, most recently, Unit #2. Units 6, 10 and 12 also have mezzanines that provide 6', 6" of headroom clearance. The mezzanines in these units were constructed by previous tenants prior to the current ownership. In addition to the five units currently owned by the this company, the owner anticipates purchasing Unit #4 and constructing a similar mezzanine; he has a verbal agreement with the present owner of Unit #4 with respect to this prospective purchase. The owner s future intent is to merge all 6 units for the purpose of operating his printing business. The Applicant s Agent acknowledged that, while it may be possible to comply with the Code requirements, it would be desirable to have a continuous mezzanine at the same level throughout all units owned by his client. This would avoid the 5 inch drop that would occur from the as-constructed mezzanines in the other units to the mezzanine proposed in Unit #2. He suggested that it would be preferable, from a safety standpoint, to obtain a uniform floor level for all mezzanines. He stated that this 5 inch differential in floor level may cause people to stumble down the stair or ramp once all units had been merged. This may prove more dangerous than the reduction in headroom at certain locations throughout the unit. In addition to his concern over the lower floor grade on the mezzanine level, the Agent submitted that the ceiling height on the main floor would also be affected. He stated that it would be the owner s preference to obtain a maximum ceiling height for the office and client reception areas on the ground floor. When questioned, the Agent acknowledged that it would be structurally possible to address the first floor ceiling height concern with appropriate building material and design. In summation, the Applicant s Agent concluded that the building offers a significant level of safety given the required sprinklering, smoke detection and alarm systems in place. Safety to the occupants of the mezzanine level would more affected by the eventual floor level grade change, or stepping down between units, than by the reduction of headroom that would occur at the open web steel joists located every 6', 6" across the unit. 6. Respondent s Position

4 -4- The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the Building Code is clear in requiring a minimum headroom of 6', 11' in this instance. He questioned whether the City had, in fact, issued a building permit for Unit #8 in 1977 with a 6', 6" headroom. He advised the Commission that a search of the City s records uncovered no such permit. He went on to acknowledge that the City could not, at this point, require changes to the as-constructed mezzanines in the other units, however, consideration of the headroom issue in Unit #2 stands alone in this application. The Designate submitted that the Applicant did not presently own Unit #4, located between Unit #6 and Unit #2, however, if all units were eventually connected, the difference in floor grade could be addressed. He suggested that a ramp could be provided at a 1:8 ratio since this is not a barrier free situation. The Designate expressed concern with the safety of a 5 inch reduction in headroom on the mezzanine level. He stated that the Code requirement of 6', 11" is relatively new and suggested that there is no justification to vary the requirement in this instance. In his opinion, taller individuals would have difficulty exiting the mezzanine level in an emergency situation. There are many joists to consider and people may not always be aware of their location as they would with a doorway, where the headroom is expected to be reduced. 7. Commission Ruling It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed construction of a new mezzanine in the existing building that is to provide a minimum headroom clearance of 1,975 mm (6', 6") under the open web steel joists located at 1,975 mm (6', 6") on centre does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Articles and of the Ontario Building Code at Unit #2, 30 Titan Road, Toronto, Ontario 8. Reasons i) The mezzanine, as proposed, does not comply with the intent of the Code. ii) iii) The Applicant has offered no measure of compensation in order to achieve sufficiency of compliance. Design alternatives are available that would enable the Applicant to comply with the Code requirements.

5 -5- Dated at Toronto this 10th day in the month of May in the year 2001 for application number Dr. Kenneth Peaker, Chair Mr. Robert De Berardis Mr. Donald Pratt

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