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Practice Tips


Building Code Data Matrix


28 October 2016

  • Summary

    Practice Tip PT.3 is re-issued to introduce new tools for use by members in compiling a building code data matrix and includes information on some improvements to the matrices.

    Regulation 27 of the Architects Act requires that members must include building code compliance data in an application for building permit in accordance with original Practice Bulletin A.9 2004. PT.3 is an update of the original Practice Bulletin A.9. Appropriate practice in regard to communication of code related data when applying for a building permit includes a systematic approach to compilation and presentation of a summary of the project’s building code compliance data.

  • Background

    This practice tip provides a suggested means of organizing, summarizing and presenting critical building code compliance data that forms the basis for the design of the building. 

    The summary is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all items in a building code review or analysis, but rather identifies key building code requirements to which the design complies.

    Locating this summary information in a conspicuous place on one of the first sheets of the drawing set not only expedites the building official’s review of the application, but also informs others involved with the project (e.g. contractors, trades, consultants, etc.) about applicable code related issues. Although the information specifically refers to the Ontario Building Code, similar procedures can be used for projects governed by the National Building Code of Canada or any of the other provincial building codes.

    Recent Revisions

    New matrix tools have been developed using spreadsheet software (Microsoft Excel) for members' use. 

    The Excel matrix tool makes extensive use of drop-down lists to speed data entry and to make input more convenient and consistent. 

    The Microsoft Word based version of the matrices has been retained and updated for those who prefer to use that option. 

    A new matrix has been developed for Part 10 – Change of Use. 

    Additional basic information for a building has been included in the matrices for Part 10 and for Part 11. 

    Energy Compliance for Part 9 buildings is considerably expanded. 

    The templates are now separated into four individual matrices. One each for: Part 3, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11 - in order to account for the differences in information included. 

    The area to include ULC design numbers for horizontal or supporting assembly ratings has been removed since typically several different ULC designations are required and the information is impractical to indicate properly except on the drawings. 

    The presentation of the Seismic Hazard Index has been simplified from the original introduction in PT.35.

    Updates throughout the various matrix templates include the indication of the version of the building code, super-imposed occupancies, energy compliance and other minor adjustments.

    In the Excel templates there is a Read Me First tab containing information about working with the Excel workbook. In the workbook there is additional information on supporting tabs to assist in interpolating the limiting distances and the seismic hazard index.

  • Suggested procedure

    • Code analysis is done in the early design stages and refined through the design development and construction documents stages. Establish in your practice a system that documents the initial code analysis and confirmations in subsequent phases, and that facilitates the inclusion of the selected elements for the Building Code Data Matrix that is ultimately submitted with a permit application.  Consider including the data matrix in any design briefs developed during the design phases of the project.
    • Prepare the data matrix early in the project to determine the overall framework to which the design must comply. This helps to establish which specialist consultants may be required and prevents surprises from occurring in later project stages (such as determining an exterior wall is required to be non-combustible due to spatial separation).
    • Use the code data matrix templates to develop a standard for your practice adapted as needed to meet the specific requirements of each project. Establish a location for code data on the drawings (one of the top sheets is considered best) and make this your office standard. Locating the information in a conspicuous place on the drawings not only expedites the building official’s review of the application but also informs others involved with the project (e.g. contractors, trades, consultants, etc.) about applicable code related issues.
    • If the data matrix is not to be located on the drawings (e.g. in a project booklet) ensure that the building name and address as well as your project number and date of issuance are inserted at the top of the matrix.  If the matrix is submitted as a stand-alone document, affix your seal in the provided spot in accordance with Regulatory Notice R.1.
    • Coordinate with sub-consultants and share with them the data based on your code analysis. Incorporate information provided by consultants, such as adequate water supply, soil class, etc. Request that they similarly include on their drawings building code related data relevant to their disciplines, in accordance with the standards of their profession.
    • Pertinent building code references are included in the templates to assist in checking the requirements. You may prefer to omit these references or refer to only those specific sections that apply to your project. Customize the matrix to suit the project’s specific needs. Check the reference numbers every time there is a new issuance of or amendment to the code. 
    • It may be necessary to provide more than one matrix chart for complex projects in order to provide the required information with clarity. (e.g. underground parking garage Part 3 and townhouse Part 9 on same site, or extensive renovations or addition and renovation: Part 11 and Part 3 or Part 9). Adapt the matrix to clearly describe the project.
    • Add exit capacity calculations either on the same drawing sheet as the matrix or separately, confirming that the exit capacity exceeds the occupant load.
    • As required, provide supporting graphical information such as:
      - plans illustrating travel distance, suite fire separations, suite/building/gross floor areas, exit widths, limiting distances, fire/party walls
      - elevations illustrating fire compartments for spatial separation, grade height, building height, access panels
      - sections illustrating horizontal fire separations, projections, grade/first storey height, upper ceiling height.
    • Enter other information that, in your professional judgment, will assist in expediting issuance of the building permit.
    • Refer to the Use of Matrices Guide for information on completing the provided sample matrices templates.
  • References

    OAA Building Code Data Matrix Tools for OAA members (Log-in required)

    MS Word Templates
    Part 3 Matrix
    Part 9 Matrix
    Part 10 Matrix
    Part 11 Matrix

    Original OAA Practice Bulletin A.9, 2004 –

© Ontario Association of Architects (OAA). OAA members in good standing may reproduce or distribute this Practice Tip provided this copyright notice is affixed to any reproduced or distributed copy. No rights are granted to any other person, except with express prior written consent from the OAA. The OAA reserves all other rights.