1 Ruling No Application No BUILDING CODE COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23, as amended. AND IN THE MATTER OF Articles , , and Sentence (3) of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99, 205/00, 283/01 and 220/02 (the Ontario Building Code ). AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Ken Bright, University of Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Michael Leonard, Chief Building Official, City of Oshawa, to determine whether the proposed temporary air-supported structure, which has a Group A, Division 2 occupancy, that is not equipped with a sprinkler system or a standpipe and hose system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Articles and , when considering Sentence (3) of the Ontario Building Code, at Durham College/UOIT Tennis Facility, 50 Conlin Road West, Oshawa, Ontario. APPLICANT RESPONDENT PANEL PLACE Ken Bright University of Ontario Oshawa, Ontario Michael Leonard Chief Building Official City of Oshawa John Guthrie, Chair-Designate Fred Barkhouse Donald Pratt Toronto, Ontario DATE OF HEARING November 20, 2003 DATE OF RULING November 20, 2003 APPEARANCES Demir Delen Morrison Hershfield Ltd. Toronto, Ontario Agent for the Applicant Cvjeta Prgin Chief Building Official City of Oshawa Designate for the Respondent
2 -2- RULING 1. The Applicant Ken Bright, University of Ontario has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23, as amended, and is constructing an air-supported structure at Durham College/UOIT Tennis Facility, 50 Conlin Road West, Oshawa, Ontario. 2. Description of Construction The Applicant is constructing an air-supported, fabric-covered structure having a Group A, Division 2 occupancy. The proposed structure is one storey in building height and approximately 4, 085 m 2 in building area. The building is comprised of combustible construction and is not equipped with a fire alarm system, a sprinkler system, nor a standpipe and hose system. The proposed air-supported structure is intended to be used during the winter months as a shelter for six existing tennis courts. The construction in dispute involves the requirement to install a sprinkler system and a standpipe and hose system in the proposed air-supported structure. The Applicant maintains that the proposed assupported structure does not require a sprinkler system nor a standpipe and hose system, since it is a temporary structure, which will be removed for five months every year. The Respondent, however, maintains that the proposed air-supported structure is required to be sprinklered due to its size. Furthermore, the Respondent is of the opinion that if a sprinkler system is not required, then a standpipe and hose system should be installed. 3. Dispute The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed temporary airsupported structure, which has a Group A, Division 2 occupancy, that is not equipped with a sprinkler system or a standpipe and hose system, provides sufficiency of compliance with Articles and , when considering Sentence (3) of the Ontario Building Code (OBC). The term air-supported structure is defined in the OBC as a structure consisting of a pliable membrane which achieves and maintains its shape and support by internal air pressure. Subsection of the Code governs the construction of such structures. As per Sentence (1), air-supported structures shall comply with the requirements of the Code except as permitted in Subsection Sentence (3) of the OBC, exempts air-supported structures from complying with Articles to , with the exception of maximum building size. The reference to maximum building size in this Sentence is not to determine whether the construction is to be combustible or noncombustible, but rather to determine the requirements for sprinklering. The building area and classification determined for the subject air-supported structure result in it falling under Article of the Code, which requires sprinkler protection to be provided. In addition, Article of the Code outlines the various buildings where a standpipe system is required. Since the subject air-supported structure has a building area greater than 2, 500 m 2, Table requires that a standpipe and hose system be installed.
3 -3-4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code Group A, Division 2, up to 2 Storeys, Increased Area, Sprinklered (1) A building classified as Group A, Division 2 is permitted to conform to Sentence (2) provided (a) except as permitted by Sentence (1), the building is sprinklered, (b) it is not more than 2 storeys in building height, and (c) it has a building area not more than (i) m 2 (51,700 ft 2 ) if 1 storey in building height, or (ii) m 2 (25,800 ft 2 ) if 2 storeys in building height. (2) The building referred to in Sentence (1) is permitted to be of combustible construction or noncombustible construction used singly or in combination, and (a) floor assemblies shall be fire separations and, if of combustible construction, shall have a fireresistance rating not less than 45 min, (b) mezzanines shall have, if of combustible construction, a fire-resistance rating not less 45 min, and (c) loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating shall (i) have a fire-resistance rating not less than 45 min, or (ii) be of noncombustible construction Standpipe Systems, Where Required (1) Except as provided in Sentences (4) to (7), a standpipe system shall be installed in every building that (a) is more than 3 storeys in building height, (b) is more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey, or (c) is not more than 14 m (45 ft 11 in) high measured between grade and the ceiling of the top storey but has a building area exceeding the area shown in Table for the applicable building height if the building is not sprinklered. (2) A standpipe system shall be installed in every basement of a building that requires a standpipe system above grade. (3) A standpipe system shall be installed in every basement of a building that is regulated by Sentence (2). Table Building Limits without Standpipe Systems Forming Part of Sentence (1) Occupancy Classificatio n Building Area, m 2 (ft 2 ) 1 Storey 2 Storeys 3 Storeys
4 A C D F, Division 2 F, Division (24,200) (43,100) (32,300) (16,100) (32,300) (16,100) (16,100) (10,800) (10,800) (10,800) Column (4) A standpipe system is not required to be installed in the lowest storey in a building if this storey is a service room which has an area not more than 50 m 2 (538 ft 2 ). (5) A standpipe system is not required to be installed in a roof-top enclosure if this enclosure has an area not more than 50 m 2 (538 m 2 ). (6) A standpipe system is not required to be installed in a storage garage conforming to Article provided the building is not more than 15 m (49 ft 3 in) high. (7) A standpipe system is not required to be installed in a dwelling unit which (a) extends not more than 3 storeys above adjacent ground level, (b) is completely cut off from the remainder of the building so that there is no access to the remainder of the building, and (c) has direct access to its interior by means of an exterior doorway located not more than mm (4 ft 11 in) above or below adjacent finished ground level Air-Supported Structures, General (3) Except as provided in Sentence (5), air-supported structures are exempt from complying with Articles to , except for maximum building size. 5. Applicant s Position The Agent for the Applicant began by offering a brief overview of the construction at dispute and distributing photos of the subject air-supported structure for the Commission s review. He submitted that there are two issues at dispute: i) whether the as-constructed air-supported structure should be provided with sprinkler protection and ii) whether a standpipe and hose system should be installed. The Agent then continued by stating that Sentence (3) exempts air-supported structures from complying with the requirements contained in Articles to of the OBC, except for maximum building size. He then added that it is the Respondent s opinion that, based on building size, the air-supported structure at dispute, falls under Article , which requires it to be sprinklered. The Agent stated that, in his opinion, Article applies to permanent air-supported structures that are of a greater size, such as large golf domes, as opposed to temporary structures, such as the asconstructed tennis bubble at dispute (emphasis added). In this regard, the Agent argued that the subject air-supported structure should be exempt from the provision of sprinklering, since it is a temporary structure that will be removed for five months every year. As outlined by the Agent, air-supported structures have been included in the Code since its inception
5 -5- in Despite this, it was not until the 1997 Code when interior walls, mezzanines, or intermediate floors were permitted in these structures, provided that these complied with the applicable construction requirements. As per the Agent, no provisions were added to the 1997 OBC that required temporary air-supported structures to be sprinklered and, furthermore, he argued that no other building code in North America requires sprinklers to be installed in an air-supported structure. In addition, he stated that the National Building Code of Canada continues to permit an air-supported structure of any area without sprinklers, provided it complies with the requirements of Subsection The Agent continued by outlining the implications associated with providing sprinkler protection in the subject air-supported structure. He submitted that, if required, the sprinkler system would have to comply with Article of the Code, which stipulates, in Sentence (1), that an automatic sprinkler system shall be designed, constructed, installed, and tested in conformance with NFPA 13 Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. As per the Agent, the requirements of NFPA 13 mandate that sprinkler piping be supported by a building s structure. The Agent advised that this is a feasible requirement to fulfil when a building structure is non-dynamic. However, as submitted by the Agent, providing sprinklers in the subject structure would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, because rigid piping would have to be hung in a building that is supported by internal air-pressure. With respect to the second issue at dispute, the Agent submitted that the subject air-supported structure should also be exempt from the requirements of a standpipe and hose system, because there is virtually no fire load in the building. Since the air-supported structure at dispute will be used to cover six existing tennis courts, the Agent advised that there will be very few elements present in the building that will contribute to the fire load, for example tennis nets and a minimal number of chairs for seating. He also stated that the fabric used for the air-supported structure complies with both NFPA 701 Standard Method of Fire Tests for Flame-Resistant Textile and Films and CAN/ULC S-109 Standard for Flame Test of Fabrics and Films as required by Sentence (1) of the OBC. In addition, the Agent advised that the manufacturer of the air-supported structure does not recommend that a standpipe and hose system be installed, because, if a fire were to occur, it is not recommended that it be fought internally. In this regard, the Agent advised that a standpipe and hose system, installed inside the structure, would not be of much use. He then added that the Building Code Commission had made a previous decision (Ruling ), which permitted an air-supported structure without a sprinkler system, without a standpipe and hose system, and with an occupant load of 160 persons. The Agent then went on to outline the various compensating measures that the Applicant is willing to provide in lieu of providing sprinkler protection and installing and standpipe and hose system. He submitted that fire extinguishers will be provided inside the air-supported structure and hydrants will be located outside the structure for fire suppression capabilities. The Agent also stated that the airsupported structure will have five 1.2 m (4 ft) wide exit doors, which will provide an exit capacity for 999 persons. This exit capacity, as per the Agent, is much higher than the actual maximum occupant load of 50 persons. He added that the travel distance to an exit does not exceed the maximum limit specified for an unsprinklered building; thereby, mitigating any problems that might be associated with evacuation. In summary, the Agent submitted that temporary air-supported structures, which are not provided with sprinkler systems, have been installed over tennis courts and swimming pools during the winter months in North American since the early 1980s and that no adverse effects have been experienced. He concluded by stating that both he and the Applicant believe that there is no history, nor technical reason, to justify the installation of a sprinkler system or standpipe and hose system in a temporary building, such as the air-supported structure at dispute.
6 -6-6. Respondent s Position The Designate for the Respondent began by submitting that she agrees with the Agent in the respect that providing sprinkler protection in the subject air-supported structure is not practical. She also stated that she is aware of the fact that the National Building Code differs from the OBC with respect to the provision of sprinkler protection in an air-supported structure, but that it is the responsibility of the City of Oshawa s Development Services Department to enforce the provisions of Ontario s Code. In this regard, the Designate submitted that sprinkler protection is required in the air-supported structure at dispute by virtue of the building s size as per Article of the Code. She also submitted that the current OBC contains no special provisions, or exemptions, for temporary structures with respect to the requirements for sprinklering. As such, the Designate advised that this was the reason why the issue was brought before the Commission. The Designate then continued by submitting that if sprinkler protection was not required, then she believes that a standpipe and hose system should be installed. She argued that since the building area is larger than 2, 500 m 2, Table of the OBC requires that a standpipe and hose system be installed. Again, the Designate submitted that the Code does not contain any special exemptions for temporary structures in this regard, and that the City of Oshawa is not in the position to permit this technical deviation from the Code. In summary, the Designate submitted that she is cognizant of the difficulties that are associated with providing sprinkler protection in the subject air-supported structure, but that it is her responsibility to enforce the provisions of the OBC. She then reiterated that there are no special provisions in the Code, which exempt temporary structures from the requirements of sprinkler protection, nor the installation of a standpipe and hose system. 7. Commission Ruling It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed temporary air-supported structure, which has Group A, Division 2 occupancy, and is not provided with a sprinkler system or a standpipe and hose system, does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Articles and , when considering Sentence (3) of the Ontario Building Code, at Durham College/UOIT Tennis Facility, 50 Conlin Road West, Oshawa, Ontario. 8. Reasons i) The intention of Sentence (3) of the OBC is to limit the size of unsprinklered buildings.
7 -7- Dated at Toronto this 20th day in the month of November in the year 2003 for application number John Guthrie, Chair-Designate Fred Barkhouse Donald Pratt