Ontario To Require Fire Sprinklers In New Condos And Apartments

    McGuinty Government Improving Fire Safety Standards

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ -


    Ontario is increasing the fire-safety of new large residential buildings.
Changes to the Building Code will require sprinkler systems in new condos and
apartments higher than three storeys.
    The changes will come into force on April 1, 2010. Building permit
applications for multiple-unit residential buildings higher than three storeys
submitted on or after that date must comply with the new fire sprinkler
    Residential fire deaths in Ontario have declined steadily since the
Building Code was introduced in 1975, and Ontario has one of the lowest rates
of residential fire deaths in Canada.
    The changes will bring the Building Code into greater harmony with the
model National Building Code of Canada and the codes in force in most Canadian
and American jurisdictions.


    "We are making our safe buildings even safer. These changes to the
Building Code will ensure residents of new high-rises will have the same fire
protection as all other jurisdictions in Canada," said Jim Watson, Minister of
Municipal Affairs and Housing.

    "The experience of other jurisdictions across North America is clear:
residential sprinklers significantly reduce injuries, deaths and property loss
due to fire. This requirement is a huge step forward in the protection of
citizens of this province from fire," said Pat Burke, Fire Marshal of Ontario

    "Ultimately, residential sprinklers will provide a safer working
environment for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to
protect us," said Linda Jeffrey, MPP for Brampton-Springdale, a long-time
advocate for sprinklers in residential settings.


    -   The Building Code is a regulation under the Building Code Act, 1992.
        The code applies to the construction of new buildings, and the
        renovation and change of use of existing buildings.
    -   The effective date of April 1, 2010 will ensure there are sufficient
        numbers of trained technicians available to install the newly
        required sprinkler systems.
    -   The model National Building Code of Canada is published by the
        National Research Council of Canada. Provincial and territorial
        governments, however, are responsible for building regulation and
        adopt their own codes.


    Read Ontario's Building Code website. (www.ontario.ca/buildingcode)

                                                       Disponible en français

                         RESIDENTIAL FIRE SPRINKLERS

    The Building Code Act, 1992 is the legislative framework governing the
construction, renovation and change of use of buildings. The Building Code is
a regulation authorized by the Act, and sets out detailed administrative and
technical requirements. The Province is amending the Building Code to enhance
fire safety for Ontarians and to further harmonize Ontario's Building Code
with the model National Building Code.


    The Building Code changes require fire sprinklers in multiple-unit
residential buildings higher than three storeys. The changes come into effect
on April 1, 2010.
    The new requirements apply to new construction, additions to existing
buildings, floors of existing buildings that undergo a change of major
occupancy, and floor areas that undergo extensive ("gut") renovation.
Sprinkler requirements apply throughout the building, including residential
suites, service areas and common areas, such as corridors.
    The new requirements also cover the residential portions of mixed-use
buildings higher than three storeys.
    The new requirements do not apply to smaller residential buildings,
including houses, or to the renovation of portions of floors. Certain forms of
four-storey stacked townhouses having specific fire safety features, such as
independent exits, are also exempt.
    The Building Code does not mandate the retrofit of existing buildings
where no construction is proposed.
    The changes replace some Building Code requirements that acted as
alternatives to sprinklering. However, the Code amendments also specify that
unsprinklered buildings undergoing renovation will still have to meet current
Ontario-specific requirements, unless the renovated area is sprinklered.
    The changes also increase the maximum size of live-work units from
150m(2) to 200 m(2).
    The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing intends to work with the
building sector to review potential Building Code changes that could increase
design flexibility and reduce costs, while maintaining high standards of


    Ontario's Building Code is a regulation under the Building Code Act,
1992. It sets technical and administrative requirements that govern the
construction, renovation and change of use of buildings.
    Fire safety is an objective of the Building Code.

                                                       Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416)
585-6492; David Brezer, Buildings Branch, (416) 585-6656

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