Ruling No. 09-18-1230 Application No. B-2009-08
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 Sentence 126.96.36.199.(1), Table 188.8.131.52., 184.108.40.206. of the Regulation 403/97, as amended, (the Building Code). AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Fathy Elkasir, for the resolution of a dispute with Robert Waldron, Chief Building Official, City of Peterborough, to determine whether Commission that the proposed design of a secondary stairway serving the second floor of a two storey residential building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1), Table 18.104.22.168., 22.214.171.124. of the 1997 Building Code at 79 Facendi Drive, City of Peterborough, Ontario. APPLICANT
Fathy Elkasir Homeowner Peterborough, ON
Robert Waldron Chief Building Official City of Peterborough
Tony Chow, Chair Judy Beauchamp Susan Friedrich
DATE OF HEARING
July 10, 2009
DATE OF RULING
July 10, 2009
Fathy Elkasir Homeowner Peterborough, ON The Applicant Doug Bowman Building Inspector City of Peterborough The Designate for the Respondent
Particulars of Dispute
The Applicant has received a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to construct a new addition on top of an existing one storey garage, which is attached to the existing two storey dwelling unit located at 79 Facendi Drive, City of Peterborough, Ontario. The building permit was issued in 2005. The subject building was built in 1973; it is a two storey dwelling unit with a building area of approximately 600 m². The addition over the garage is approximately 46.8 m² and houses a bedroom and a bathroom. Article 126.96.36.199. of the Building Code requires private stairs to conform to the minimum and maximum rise, run and tread depth requirements outlined in Table 188.8.131.52. The construction in dispute involves the design of a proposed secondary stairway serving the second floor of the new addition. At dispute is the headroom clearance, riser height and tread depth of the proposed stairway as per Sentence 184.108.40.206.(1), Table 220.127.116.11., and Article 18.104.22.168. of the 1997 Building Code.
Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute
Rise, Run and Tread Depth of Stairs
Except as provided in Subsection 9.8.5., the rise, run and tread depth of stairs shall conform to Table 22.214.171.124. Table 126.96.36.199. Rise, Run and Tread Depth of Stairs Forming Part of Sentence 188.8.131.52.(1) Stair Type
Service and mezzanines in live/work units(1) Private(2) Public(3) Column 1
Rise, mm (in) max. min.
Run, mm (in) max. min.
Tread Depth, mm (in) max. min.
no limit 200 (7⅞) 200 (7⅞)
125 (4⅞) 125 (4⅞) 125 (4⅞)
355 (14) 355 (14) 355 (14)
no limit 210 (8¼) 230 (9)
355 (14) 355 (14) 355 (14)
no limit 235 (9¼) 250 (9⅞)
Notes to Table 184.108.40.206.: (1) (2) (3)
Service stairs serve areas used only as service rooms or service spaces and stairs that serve mezzanines not exceeding 20 m2 (215 ft²) within live/work units. Private stairs are interior stairs within dwelling units and exterior stairs serving a single dwelling unit. public stairs are all stairs not described as service stair or private stair
The headroom measured vertically from a line drawn through the outer edges of the nosings shall be at least 1 950 mm (6 ft 5 in) for stairs located in dwelling units and 2 050 mm (6 ft 9 in) for all other stairs.
The Applicant submitted that the stairway in question is a secondary stairway, as there is already an existing staircase serving the second storey of the home, which is considered to be the primary stairway. Further, the Applicant explained that the new secondary stairway would be built to provide access to the master bedroom on the second storey, to be used as a convenience stair primarily for him and his wife. In response to questions, the Applicant clarified that the proposed secondary stairway was not the principal means of egress from the second storey and that the existing primary stairway was in compliance with the Code and not an issue in this dispute. The Applicant explained that the secondary stairway was not originally submitted as part of the plans for the addition over the garage but was something he and his wife had decided to add later and as a result, had run into some difficulties with designing a stairway that would be in compliance with the Code. The Applicant submitted three possible designs for the proposed secondary stairway, each of which, in his opinion, contained only minor deviations from the Building Code that he believed with some modifications and compensating measures would provide sufficiency of compliance with the Code. The first design for the secondary stairway the Applicant presented included 11 uniform stair risers with each step having a rise of 228.6 mm (9 9/16 inches) with a headroom clearance of 2 m. The Applicant submitted that the Respondent would not accept this proposal as the stair risers were higher than the maximum rise height permitted by the Code. The second design option for the proposed stairway, presented by the Applicant was redesigned to provide a subceiling so that 12 uniform stair risers with each step having a rise of 203.2 mm (8 inches) with a headroom clearance of 1828.8 mm (72 inches) could be constructed. The Applicant submitted that in this scenario, the Respondent could not accept this proposal based on the non compliant headroom clearance; however the applicant would be willing to place a warning sign to indicate low headroom. The third design option presented by the applicant included a stairway with 12 risers, 11 of which would have a rise of 177.8 mm (7 2/3 inches) and one step located at the top of the stairway would have an 279.4 mm (11 inch) rise, along with a headroom clearance of 1930.4 mm (76 inches). In the Applicant’s opinion, he believed the third option most satisfied the Code requirements except for the last step at the top of the stairs, which he could place a sign to warn users of the last step. The Applicant also added that it was only he and his wife who would be accessing this stairway, as it led to their bedroom and as they would be very familiar with the stairway it did not pose a risk. In response to questions, the Applicant submitted that he would be willing to construct a stairway to the specifications of the second proposed design, if deemed to sufficiently comply with the Code.
The Designate for the Respondent submitted that the Applicant’s proposal to construct a new stairway does not meet the requirements of the Building Code with respect to headroom clearance, riser height and tread depth. The Designate contended that as the stair is considered new construction it falls under Part 9 of the Building Code. He explained that Part 11 is not applicable to the new stairs in this case, as they are not replacement stairs or an extension of existing stairs but are a part of the new addition being built over the garage. The Designate explained that the original plans submitted with the permit application to build the addition did not include stairs. The Designate stated that the framing for the floor plan was constructed without considering the Code requirements for stairs and as a result, the stair installer informed the Applicant that sufficient space to construct stairs in accordance with the Building Code under the existing circumstances is not possible. The Designate acknowledged the Applicant’s three proposed designs for the stairway and submitted that each of the stair designs contravened the Code with respect to either the headroom clearance, riser height and/or tread depth.
Commission Ruling # 09-18-1230
It is the Decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed design of a secondary stairway serving the second floor of a two storey residential building provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1), Table 18.104.22.168., 22.214.171.124. of the 1997 Building Code at 79 Facendi Drive, City of Peterborough, Ontario on condition that: a)
The Applicant submit drawings to the Chief Building Official to verify that the manufacturer’s specifications given for the staircase design that included uniform risers of 203.2 mm (8 inches) throughout the flight of steps and a minimum headroom clearance of 1828.8 mm (72 inches), can be achieved.
Table 126.96.36.199 of the 1997 Building Code requires that the maximum rise for interior stairs within a dwelling unit be 200 mm (7 7/8 inches). The Applicant has offered to construct a stairway with uniform risers of 203.2 mm (8 inches).
The subject staircase is not the principal means of egress from the second floor.
The subject stairway provides access to a master bedroom on the second floor from a single room located on the first floor, which is intended to be accessed by the primary residents.
The Applicant has offered to place a warning sign to indicate low headroom as a compensating measure.
It is noted that under Part 11 of the 1997 Building Code, compliance alternative C95, which is applicable to the replacement or extension of existing stair systems, permits a minimum headroom clearance of 1800 mm (71 inches).
Dated at Toronto this 17th day in the month of September in the year 2009 for application number B-2009-08.
________________ Tony Chow, Chair
________________ Ed Link
________________ Marina Huissoon