Ruling No. 08-07-1181 Application No. B-2007-50
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 188.8.131.52.(2) of the Regulation 350/06, as amended, (the Building Code). AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Al Cook, Greater Essex County District School Board for the resolution of a dispute with William Jean, A/Chief Building Official, City of Windsor, to determine whether the proposal to remove the fire hoses from the fire hose cabinets of a Group A, Division 2 assembly occupancy provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 184.108.40.206.(2) of the Building Code at 1800 Liberty Street and 1601 Norfolk Street, City of Windsor, Ontario. APPLICANT
Al Cook Greater Essex County District School Board Windsor, ON
William Jean A/Chief Building Official City of Windsor
Tony Chow, Chair Gerry Egberts Prabhakar Mahant
DATE OF HEARING
February 7, 2008
DATE OF RULING
February 7, 2008
Al Cook Greater Essex County District School board Windsor, ON The Applicant David Hine Hine Reichard Tomlin Inc. Markham, ON Agent for the Applicant William Jean A/Chief Building Official City of Windsor The Respondent
Particulars of Dispute
The Applicant has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992, to remove the existing 38 mm diameter fire hose stations of the standpipe systems in two schools in the City of Windsor, Massey Secondary School at 1800 Liberty Street and Glenwood Public School at 1601 Norfolk Avenue. The subject buildings are Group A, Division 2 Major Occupancies, Massey Secondary School is three storeys in building height and approximately 1500 m² in building area. Glenwood Public School is two storeys in building height and approximately 2000 m² in building area. Both schools are of combustible and non-combustible construction, have a standpipe and hose system with fire hose cabinets, a fire alarm, but neither school is sprinklered. The construction in dispute involves whether the proposal to remove the fire hoses from the fire hose cabinets of a Group A, Division 2 assembly occupancy provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 220.127.116.11.(2) of the Building Code at 1800 Liberty Street and 1601 Norfolk Street, City of Windsor, Ontario.
Provisions of the Building Code in Dispute 18.104.22.168. Hose Stations (2) Each hose station shall be equipped with a hose rack filled with not more than 30 m of 38 mm diam fire hose and the hose rack and fire hose shall be, (a) listed, or (b) approved by the Factory Mutual Research Corporation.
The Agent for the Applicant submitted a report titled, “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Fire Hoses in Assembly Buildings”, which was prepared for the Greater Essex District School Board by Hine Reichard Tomlin Inc. for the Commission’s review. The Agent submitted that the School Board had partnered with the University of Windsor to fund the report, as both organizations had similar goals with respect to this matter and similar building occupancies. The report was intended to be used as the rationale to support the removal of fire hoses from fire hose cabinets in assembly occupancy buildings. The Agent argued that fire hose cabinets without a fire hose, provide the equivalent level of safety, to that of a fire hose cabinet with a fire hose. In fact, he argued that buildings without fire hoses would perform better than buildings equipped with fire hoses. The Agent explained that the presence of a fire hose in a fire hose cabinet suggests that it is there to be used. However, in the schools, the role of teachers and administrators is to get the students out of the building, quickly and safely. The Agent stated that the Board of Education does not train its staff or occupants in the operation or use of fire hoses and further the Fire Safety Plans in place for these buildings do not advise occupants to use the fire hoses. The Agent maintained that most importantly, the use of a fire hose by an untrained individual could increase the potential for fire growth and injury to the user and/or other occupants of the building. Further, the Agent argued that Fire Department Personnel do not rely on the fire hoses within
the fire hose cabinets as they are considered untrustworthy. Rather, the Agent explained that firefighters carry their own lengths of reliable fire hose, as these hoses are tested regularly and maintained properly. Further, the Commission was told that firefighters disconnect the fire hose supplied in a fire hose cabinet and then connect their own more reliable hose to the hose valve. The Agent argued that the common practice of having firefighters disconnect the existing fire hose and then connecting their own hose to the hose valve adds valuable time in an emergency situation and delays firefighting efforts. In addition, the Agent declared that in older buildings the standard for the standpipe system vary significantly, therefore the water supply from a standpipe system in a small building is very unpredictable and thus responding firefighters often use the hose lines directly from the fire trucks. The Agent further claimed that firefighters often use charged hoses from the fire trucks in small buildings, up to three storeys in building height, as the location of the fire hose cabinets is less predictable and so rather than wasting valuable time, firefighters will opt to use the charged hoses from their trucks. Further, the Agent presented that other Canadian Building Codes such as: the 2006 International Building Code, 1997 Alberta Building Code, and the 1998 British Columbia Building Code, require the design and installation of a standpipe system to be in conformance with NFPA 14, and although they require hose connections to be provided, they do not specifically require the need to provide a fire hose. Therefore, the proposal to eliminate fire hoses from fire hose cabinets is consistent with other Canadian legislation. In summary, the Agent maintained that, for the following reasons, the removal of the fire hoses from the fire cabinets achieves a performance level equal to compliance with Section 3.2.5. of the Ontario Building Code: • • • •
The time it takes to disconnect an existing hose increases the time for fire suppression Having a fire hose in the cabinet is a temptation for an untrained occupant to use the hose, which could cause injury In responding to fires in small buildings, firefighters generally use hoses connected to the pumper trucks The location of fire hose cabinets in older buildings is unpredictable
Therefore, the Agent concluded that buildings without fire hoses will perform better than a building equipped with a fire hose.
The Respondent submitted that on September 25, 2007, a building permit application along with a report from Hine Reichard Tomlin Inc. were received by the City of Windsor’s Building Department for the removal of the fire hoses from the fire hose cabinets at 1800 Liberty Street and 1601 Norfolk Street. On October 4, 2007, the building department refused the permit applications. The Respondent explained that the reason for denying the building permit was that Sentence 22.214.171.124.(2) of the Ontario Building Code was explicit, in that it states that each hose station shall be equipped with a hose rack filled with not more than 30 m of 38 mm diameter hose. The Respondent indicated that in theory, the municipality concurred with the report by Hine Reichard Tomlin, however, the code provision is explicit and therefore, the buildings must be equipped with hoses.
Commission Ruling It is the Decision of the Building Code Commission the proposal to remove the fire hoses from the fire hose cabinets of a Group A, Division 2 assembly occupancy does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 126.96.36.199.(2) of the Building Code at 1800 Liberty Street and 1601 Norfolk Street, City of Windsor, Ontario.
By virtue of the provision outlined in Article 188.8.131.52. of the Building Code, the subject buildings are required to be equipped with a standpipe system.
Sentence 184.108.40.206.(2) of the Ontario Building Code requires that each hose station be equipped with a hose rack filled with not more than 30 m of 38 mm diameter fire hose. In the opinion of the Commission, this provision of the Code is explicit.
The subject buildings are not sprinklered.
There were no compensating measures offered that were adequate to provide sufficiency of compliance with the Code.
Dated at Toronto this 7th day in the month of February in the year 2008 for application number 2007-50.
________________ Tony Chow, Chair
________________ Gerry Egberts
________________ Prabhakar Mahant