Surprised the hell outta me....

I had a "difference of opinion" on a code issue on a recent permit application. The plans examiner says I need a 2 hour rating around an exit, but it's pretty clear to me that the requirement is the minimum: 45 minutes.
The structure overhead in the one story building is unrated. If the fire suppression system fails, this thing will come down in minutes, if a hot-enough fire is near a steel column. The code generally does not require integrity of any part to exceed that above it or below it, IOW if the roof is going to fall on you in 20 minutes, or the floor you're on is going to collapse in 45, requiring a 2 hour rating on a corridor is irrational and wasteful.
The section of the code stipulating the required separation was pretty explicit: match the rating of the floor above (2 hours required), and if there is no floor above, then match the floor below (2 hours required), in any case, not to be less than 45 minutes. In a one story, slab on grade building, it seemed simple: no floor above, nor any floor below, so the minimum applies. However, this guy just kept insisting, "this is how we interpret it". It was like reasoning with a child.
After a delay, the client says "just give him the 2 hours. I've called around, and the other architects all say this is how it's done", perhaps implying that I don't quite know what I'm doing. I make the changes (on my own dime), and drive down to submit again (on my own dime), but can't resist one last attempt to convince him (on my own dime). At one point I say to him, "they could say what you say it says in one-quarter of the words they used. They wrote all these words for a reason. This is a three-tiered conditional statement. If these sentences don't say what I think they say, then tell me when you envisage them ever having any effect." He replied that he doesn't want to get into it because he's actually on lunch.
An hour later, *I'm* eating lunch in a restaurant and the cell rings. He says, "You'll be pleased to know that I've checked with..(the provincial authority on the code)...and they agree with your interpretation. I'm going to have to check with my superiors because applying it this way would mean a significant deviation from the way things have been done around here."
Surprised the hell outta me. The way this guy was hiding behind his authority, I never imagined that he'd be *curious* enough to lift the phone, let alone *honorable* enough to admit that he and his entire department been wrong for who knows how long. For me, I guess this is the sweeter half of "You win a few, you lose a few." Unfortunately, the client has already paid the larger price in the form of a delay in occupying his new premises, whatever they decide to make/allow us build.
There really should be some quick arbitration procedure in this jurisdiction. The guy behind the counter has way too much power in Ontario.
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MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
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Michael Bulatovich wrote:

Well congrats... I guess. Life's like that.
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