Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ontario Fire Code - types of buildings

Two Unit Dwelling

Typically the single family dwelling, originally designed and constructed to be occupied by one family, but to-day has been converted to a house with a basement or other accessory apartment. The problem with this type of conversion is that it has typically been done without a building Permit and often constructed by the homeowner. This may result in a situation whereby tenant and owner safety has been compromised.

The Ontario Fire Code Retrofit Section 9.8 looks at Four areas of Fire Safety:

  • Containment - Fire separations between dwelling units.

  • Means of egress - The number of means of escape from a dwelling unit. One may be sufficient if other Fire Safety Measures are present.

  • Fire Alarm and Detection - Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors are the minimum.

  • Suppression- Sprinkler protection may be considered as an option to some of the above noted requirements.

And the premises must be inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority and any hazards identified and corrected.

Low Rise Residential (Up to six storeys)

This section applies to residential Buildings up to and including six storeys in building height that contain more than Two Dwelling Units where at least two units share common exit facilities and have interior access to one another, one dwelling unit located above another, or one unit located above another and the dwelling units share common exit facilities.
Certain Group Homes that do not fit under the criteria of boarding and lodging and rooming houses may fall under this section of Retrofit.

The Ontario Fire Code Retrofit Section 9.5 looks at Four Areas of Fire Safety:

  • Containment - Fire separations between floors, dwelling units and corridors and the protection of all openings in these fire separations.

  • Means of Egress - The required number and type of exits from a floor area.

  • Fire Alarm and Detection - Smoke alarms are the minimum, other Fire Alarm requirements will apply according to building size and use.

  • Suppression- Sprinkler and Standpipe requirements according to Building size and occupancy.

In addition to these areas of Retrofit, the Ontario Fire Code prescribes the regular Maintenance of the Fire Safety Systems built into the building and for the preparation, approval and implementation of a Fire Safety Plan as described in section 2.8 of this Code.

Hi Rise Residential (over six storeys)

This section applies to residential buildings over six storeys in building height that contain more than Two Dwelling Units, Sleeping Accommodation for more than Ten persons in Dormitories or Boarding, Lodging or Rooming Accommodation for more than ten persons.

The Ontario Fire Code Retrofit section 9.6 looks at Four Areas of Fire Safety:

  • Containment -Fire separations between floors, occupancies, dwelling units and corridors and the protection of all the openings in these fire separations. Smoke control is also looked at in these occupancies.

  • Means of Egress - The required number and type of exits from a floor area and travel distances as well as the proper separation of these exit facilities.

  • Fire Alarm and Detection - Fire Alarm Systems, annunciation, emergency power, shutdown of air handling systems, voice communication systems, signals to Fire Department and smoke alarms.

  • Suppression- Sprinkler and standpipe requirements according to building size, elevators for the use of Firefighters and emergency power systems.

In addition to these areas of Retrofit, the Ontario Fire Code prescribes the regular Maintenance of the Fire Safety Systems built into the building and for the preparation, approval and implementation of a Fire Safety Plan as described in section 2.8 of this Code.

Mixed Commercial, Residential

Typically this would encompass Commercial or Retail occupancies with more than Two dwelling units located above. Retrofit legislation would only apply to the residential portion of the building and the degree of Fire Separation between two occupancies.

The Ontario Fire Code Retrofit Section 9.5 as described for Low Rise Apartments would be applied to these occupancies.

  • Containment - Fire separations between floors, occupancies, dwelling units and corridors and the protection of all openings in these fire separations.

  • Means of Egress - The required number and type of exits from a floor area.

  • Fire Alarm and Detection - Smoke alarms are the minimum, other Fire Alarm requirements will apply according to building use.

  • Suppression - Sprinkler and Standpipe requirements according to Building size and Occupancy.


In addition to these areas of Retrofit, the Ontario Fire Code prescribes the regular Maintenance of the Fire Safety Systems built into the building and for the preparation, approval and implementation of a Fire Safety Plan as described in section 2.8 of this Code.

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