9.5. – Only One Egress Life Safety Study / Alternative Solution / Measure?

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      Sean McKibbenSean McKibben
      Participant

      Hello and thank you for taking time to read my inquiry.

      Typical building arrangement with slight differences (# of units) Some have rear exit doors on ground floor served by same exit stairwell.
      OFC 9.5 applicable
      2 storey plus basement
      >6 dwelling units – 2 per floor
      One exit stairway

      Do any of you have a life safety study, alternative solution, or approved an alternative measure that you can forward to me?

      We do not have any comparisons from other municipalities approving an life safety study, alternative solution or as 9.5.3.2.(3) “alternative measures… if they are approved, and in the opinion of the Chief Fire Official, will provide protection for life safety similar to the protection provided by compliance with Sentence (1) (each floor area served by two exits)?

      We have been receiving a lot of requests recently for fire inspections on buildings going up for sale, and are now finding ourselves in this predicament. It would be really helpful to hear if there are comparative examples that didn’t involve a huge cost (i.e. fire escapes) or where it isn’t possible to add an additional exit / means of egress.

      So let me breakdown our interpretation.

      Each suite leads into an exit stairway. In order for this to be Fire Code compliant it must be in conformance with 9.5.3.1.(5) as 9.5.3.1.(1) doesn’t allow a dwelling unit or suite to open into an exit stairway.

      9.5.3.1. (1) Each dwelling unit or suite in a floor area shall have a doorway leading to
      (a) the outside at or near grade,
      (b) an outside passageway where it is possible to go in opposite directions to separate exits, or
      (c) a public corridor where it is possible to go in opposite directions to separate exits.

      (5) Despite Sentence (1), if a dwelling unit or suite has access to a second and separate exit or the building complies with Sentence

      9.5.3.2.(2) or (3), a doorway from the dwelling unit or suite may open onto
      (a) an exit stairway,
      (b) a fire escape,
      (c) a public corridor served by a single exit, or
      (d) an outside passageway served by a single exit stairway.

      Number of exits
      9.5.3.2. (1) Each floor area shall be served by a minimum of two exits.

      (2) A single exit from a basement, first or second floor is deemed to be in compliance with Sentence (1) where the exit does not serve more than four dwelling units, the exit does not serve more than 10 persons and the building is not more than 3 storeys in building height and is not greater than 600 m2 in building area.

      (3) Where a building is not more than 3 storeys in building height and not greater than 600 m2 in building area, alternative measures to Sentence (1) may be used if they are approved, and in the opinion of the Chief Fire Official, will provide protection for life safety similar to the protection provided by compliance with Sentence (1).

      So this brings us to compliance with 9.5.3.2.(3) via alternative measures… the Obj and Fn statements are (F10-OS1.5)

      F10
      To facilitate the timely movement of persons to a safe place in an emergency.

      OS1
      An objective of this Code is to limit the probability that, as a result of
      (a) activities related to the construction, use or demolition of the building or facility,
      (b) the condition of specific elements of the building or facility,
      (c) the design and construction of specific elements of the facility related to certain hazards, or
      (d) inadequate built-in protection measures for the current or intended use of the building,
      a person in or adjacent to the building or facility will be exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury due to fire.

      The risks of injury due to fire addressed in this Code are those caused by:

      OS1.5
      persons being delayed in or impeded from moving to a safe place during a fire emergency

      So in this circumstance, the code allows for “alternative measures” but also has the ability for an alternative solution or Life Safety Study.

      We spoke with the OFMEM – Bill and Tanya Roberts for some advice. Ultimately there is no “alternative” that addresses the impact of smoke within the stairway, but here are some examples of what they have heard other FD’s have approved.

      – Interconnected smoke alarm system
      – Fire Alarm System
      – Sprinklers in stairway
      – Escape ladders on one window within all units from 2nd floor up
      – Self closing devices with upgraded FPR on closures 45min or greater

      Now there is also the elephant in the room which appears to go unnoticed, which is the required floor assembly as per Subsection 9.5.2 and if a exit stairway is used, compliance with its containment via 9.5.3.3.(1). which requires it to be separated from the rest of the building by at 45min FRR.

      Any information you can share with us would be greatly appreciated as we are now holding up the sale of property without stating what we would accept as an “alternative”.

      Thank you,

      Sean
      6134030127
      [email protected]

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