BUILDING CODE COMMISSION

Ruling No. 02-24-879 Application No. 2002-20 BUILDING CODE COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24(1) of the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23, a...
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Ruling No. 02-24-879 Application No. 2002-20

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 Article 9.30.1.2 of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99, 205/00 and 283/01 (the “Ontario Building Code”). AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Robert Marini, Mattamy Homes, for the resolution of a dispute with Shelly Switzer, Chief Building Official, Town of Milton, to determine whether the prefinished hardwood flooring proposed for the kitchen of a single detached residential building provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.30.1.2. of the Ontario Building Code at Lot 116, Trudeau Dive, Milton, Ontario. APPLICANT

Robert Marini Mattamy Homes Oakville, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Shelly Switzer Chief Building Official Town of Milton

PANEL

Kenneth Peaker, Chair Fred Barkhouse Donald Pratt

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

August 8, 2002

DATE OF RULING

August 8, 2002

APPEARANCES

Robert Marini, Mattamy Homes Oakville, Ontario The Applicant Shelly Switzer Chief Building Official Town of Milton The Respondent

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RULING 1.

The Applicant

Robert Marini, Mattamy Homes, has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23, as amended, and is constructing a residential dwelling at Lot 116, Trudeau Dive, Milton, Ontario. 2.

Description of Construction

The Applicant is constructing a Group C residential dwelling having a building area of 217 m2 and a building height of 2 storeys. The structure is comprised of combustible construction and is part of a new subdivision within the Town of Milton. The construction in dispute involves the type of finished flooring proposed for the kitchen of the dwelling. The proposed kitchen flooring will be comprised of prefinished hardwood strips having a factory applied urethane finish to the top of the wood strip. The sides, ends and bottom of the hardwood strips are left unfinished. Installation of the product will include a wax paper layer beneath a vapour barrier material installed between the subfloor and the hardwood product. The paper is designed to protect the hardwood from moisture penetration originating from beneath the subfloor and additionally, protects the subfloor should water permeate from above. 3.

Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the prefinished hardwood flooring proposed for the kitchen of a single detached dwelling provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.30.1.2. of the Ontario Building Code (OBC). This Article of the Code deals with water resistance and finished floor coverings. It provides a list of acceptable water resistant finished floorings for bathrooms, kitchens, public entrance halls, laundry and general storage areas. The list includes “felted-synthetic-fibre floor coverings, concrete, terrazzo, ceramic tile and mastic...”. It also states that other types of flooring are permitted provided that they offer “a similar degree of water resistence”. It is proposed in this instance that the kitchen floor in a residential dwelling be covered with a prefinished hardwood product. While not specifically listed in Article 9.30.1.2., the Applicant contends that this type of flooring will provide “a similar degree of water resistence” within a kitchen environment and, therefore, sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.30.1.2. will be achieved. 4.

Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Article 9.30.1.2 (1)

Water Resistence

Finished flooring in bathrooms, kitchens, public entrance halls, laundry and general storage areas shall consist of resilient flooring, felted-synthetic-fibre floor coverings, concrete, terrazzo, ceramic tile, mastic or other types of flooring providing similar degrees of water resistance. (See Appendix A.)

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Applicant’s Position

The Applicant informed the Commission that the issue in dispute is the proposed use of hardwood flooring in the kitchen of a Group C dwelling. Relief is being sought under Part 9 of the Code for a finding of sufficiency of compliance to use this type of flooring when considering the intent of Article 9.30.1.2. The Applicant submitted that, when considering the type of owner-occupied Group C building contemplated here, there is a vested interest by the occupants respecting the upkeep of the dwelling. The anticipated level of upkeep would be different, he suggested, if considering other occupancy types where maintenance may not be undertaken by the owners of the building. He further submitted that the request for relief was in relation to the kitchen area only. He acknowledged that the use of hardwood may not be as appropriate for a bathroom or laundry area where the incidence of water usage and occurrence of standing water may be increased. In respect to the proposed product to be installed he submitted that the prefinished wood flooring will have a seven coat, factory applied finished on which the manufacturer provides a 25-year guarantee on the finish. The finish, he argued, does not allow for water penetration. The ends of the wood strip are unfinished but with proper installation where the floor boards are butted tightly together, water absorption would generally not be an issue unless there were extended periods of standing water. The manufacturer of the hardwood product has written in support of the application of wood flooring in kitchens and indicated that, in over 30 years of operation, no record of a claim in respect to mold or bacteria related issues has ever been reported. Any claims for wood rot were always related to long-term leaks that had developed. The Applicant further argued that wood flooring was the dominant covering in all homes up until the mid-sixties. Furthermore, the covering at that time was generally a wax finish which does not protect the wood nearly as well as the finishes today. In respect to the concern regarding the protection of the subflooring, the Applicant submitted that, in their experience, “any tile floor or seamed vinyl floor over time may develop cracks in the grout joint or cuts in the vinyl. In these cases any moisture that may spill on the floor, that is not immediately addressed, will pass through the scratch coat and may compromise the flooring and the subfloor.” It was their position that a properly installed prefinished wood floor would perform as well in the kitchen as a properly installed tile of vinyl floor. In summation, the Applicant reiterated their position that, given the durability and degree of water resistance expected from the prefinished hardwood product proposed, sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of the OBC as they relate to kitchens in a Group C dwelling will be achieved. 6.

Respondent’s Position

The Respondent submitted that the requirements outlined in the building Code, in his opinion, would not permit hardwood flooring in a residential kitchen. He stated that the prescriptive wording restricts the type of flooring that could be considered acceptable. He advised the Commission that the National Building Code (NBC) would permit the type of prefinished hardwood flooring anticipated in this application however, an impermeable layer would be required between the subfloor and installed product. He further submitted that, if the Commission were to rule in favour of allowing hardwood flooring in kitchens, he would be more comfortable accepting the ruling if a similar condition were imposed in respect to installation.

-4In summation, the Respondent submitted that in his interpretation of Article 9.30.1.2, hardwood flooring is not a permitted material for installation in the kitchen of a residential dwelling. He, therefore, looks to the Commission for a ruling on whether the flooring will achieve sufficiency of compliance with the provisions of the OBC. 7.

Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed prefinished hardwood flooring in the kitchen of a single detached residential building provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 9.30.1.2. of the Ontario Building Code at Lot 116, Trudeau Dive, Milton, Ontario, on condition that: a) b)

The product must be supplied with a urethane finish having a minimum of seven (7) coats applied under factory conditions. The flooring must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.

8.

Reasons

i)

This application is restricted to the kitchen only of a Group C residential dwelling constructed under Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code. The use of prefinished hardwood flooring in bathrooms, laundry areas, etc., where the incidence of standing water may be more frequent, has not been considered.

ii)

When considering the conditions imposed in this decision, the type of flooring anticipated for use in the kitchen, will provide a similar degree of water resistence as that anticipated by Article 9.30.1.2.

-5Dated at Toronto this 8th day in the month of August in the year 2002 for application number 2002-20.

Kenneth Peaker, Chair

Fred Barkhouse

Donald Pratt