Board Procedure #NP411.0 Change of Use of Room and Change of Room Number

This procedure outlines the expectations of Board staff when changing the use of a room in Board facilities, in compliance with legislative and Board requirements. This procedure provides specific methods and responsibilities for requesting changes in the use of space in a Board facility and alterations or reconstruction of buildings in accordance with the applicable codes, acts and regulations.


1. Definitions


1.1 Building

A building is a structure occupying an area greater than ten square metres consisting of a wall, roof and floor or any of them or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures and service systems. A building can also be a structure occupying an area of ten square metres or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing. Plumbing not located in a structure or a sewage system can be considered a building, as well as structures designated in the building code.


1.2 Building Permit

A building permit is formal approval from a municipality to construct, repair, alter, renovate a building, install plumbing and/or install or repair/alter a private sewage disposal system on, in this procedure, Board property. The building permit process protects the Board’s interests and those of the community at large, and helps to ensure that any structural change is safe. A business location is subject to inspection by the Municipal Building Department to make sure that it meets local safety requirements, such as those designated by the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code. Most municipalities require a building permit before alterations or new construction begins.


1.3 Change of Use

Change of use refers to changing the way all or part of the building is used, even if it does not require any construction. A building evaluation may have to be completed as a result of changing the use, to make sure that the existing building can support the new proposed use. Different uses have different code requirements. This includes:

  • changes in the use of space within existing buildings;

  • changing the parameters of occupant loading as it relates to building code (e.g. changing the use of a room from a storage room [occupancy load of 0] to a classroom [occupancy load of 37]); and

  • changes as it relates to the calculation of capacity renovations or changes in physical characteristics of buildings, or rooms within buildings.


Examples of changing the use of a room include:

  • changing a washroom into a storage room;

  • changing a storage room into a workroom;

  • changing a classroom into storage space;

  • changing any space (including kindergarten rooms,) into a daycare space; or

  • changing a classroom into a BBT Shop, Family Studies or other higher hazard space.

There may be changes that do not necessarily constitute “change of use” of a room (e.g. changing a Math classroom into an English classroom does not change the physical use of the room).


1.4 Capacity

Capacity is the number of students that a school facility can accommodate according to the Ministry of Education. The capacity used excludes the loading of portable classrooms.


1.5 Construct/Construction

Construct/construction refers to the process of erecting, installing, extending or altering/repairing material of a building. It includes the installation of a building unit fabricated or moved from elsewhere.


1.6 Facilities

Facilities are all buildings, structures and grounds that are leased, owned or controlled by the York Region District School Board.


1.7 Facilities Database

The facilities database is an up-to-date and accurate database for all York Region District School Board facilities. This database is the basis for funding of operations and maintenance projects throughout the Board.


1.8 Occupancy

Occupancy means the use or intended use of a building or part of a building for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property.


1.9 Occupant Load

Occupant load is the number of persons for which a building, in part or whole, is designed as defined within the Ontario Building Code. It is not the same as the capacity which relates to students only, but includes all occupants of the space.


1.10 Program Facilities Management Committee

Program Facilities Management Committee is a staff committee of the Board and is comprised of the coordinating superintendents of education, and staff representatives from Plant Services, Planning and Property Development Services, Finance Services and Education and Community Services.


2. Legislative Context

Ontario Building Code

Ontario Fire Code (Ontario Reg. 388/97)


3. Responsibilities


3.1 The Program Facilities Management Committee shall:

  1. review every submission for change of use requests, assignment or modification of space owned or leased by the Board and accept or decline the submission; and

  2. determine conditions of approval and potential funding sources.


3.2 Planning and Property Development Services shall:

  1. review the requirements for the space being considered;

  2. assess the impact on the capacity of the building;

  3. ensure that the conversion complies with the occupancy loading for the facility;

  4. ensure the changes are in compliance with school and Board requirements and plan;

  5. prepare any reports required, and present the final recommendation to Program Facilities Management; and

  6. notify the applicant of the final outcome after a decision has been made by Program Facilities Management.


3.3 Plant Services shall:

  1. review requirements and develop budget estimate for the scope of work provided;

  2. ensure checks, inspections, tests and maintenance of life safety and fire protection equipment are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Fire Safety Plan;

  3. oversee the room change implementation;

  4. notify Health and Safety Services of changes that could impact the Fire Safety Plan and Asbestos Plan;

  5. obtain the appropriate permits when necessary and liaise with appropriate authorities to ensure all changes are compliant with relevant acts and regulations;

  6. ensure proper services for the proposed use of the room (e.g. HVAC, power, fire protection, etc.);

  7. forward to Planning and Property Development Services, the change of use request, with estimated costs and timelines; and

  8. maintain an accurate and up-to-date facilities database, including recording new information.


3.4 Principals shall:

  1. ensure changes meet legislative requirements;

  2. inform Plant Services whenever there are plans to change how a room is used;

  3. complete and submit a Request for New or Change of use of Existing Facilities form prior to implementing such changes;

  4. not implement any changes until approval is given by Program Facilities Management Committee;

  5. apply in writing to the Superintendent of Plant Services for any changes to room numbers;

  6. understand that any change in use, assignment or modification of space owned or leased by the Board must be approved by the Program Facilities Management Committee; and

  7. not change any room numbers until approval has been received from the Superintendent of Plant Services following the approval of the Program Facilities Management Committee.


4. Department

Planning and Property Development Services Plant Services


5. Procedure History

February 18, 2009


It is the expectation of the York Region District School Board that all employees, students and persons invited to or visiting Board property, or partaking/volunteering in Board or school-sponsored events and activities, will respect the policies and procedures of the Board.