CODE & STANDARD REFERENCES
What building code applies to my existing building?
In this video, we are going to focus on situations where you have a change to an existing building.
This is the second video in this series, so if you have questions regarding what building code applies to your building under normal operations, be sure to check out the first video.
So, if you're working on an existing building, there are additional code requirements beyond those that would apply to our first video, which is for normal operations.
First, we have IEBC the international existing building code compliance.
The IEBC is your first stop for determining the applicable code requirements when making a change to an existing building.
IBC section 101.2 states that the provisions of the IEBC applied to the repair, alteration change of occupancy, addition to, and relocation of existing buildings.
So, you first want to review the definition of each of these terms in IEBC chapter 2 and determine which apply to the work you're performing in your building.
For repair work, the requirements of IBC Chapter 4 apply.
The general intent of this chapter is to maintain the existing level of code compliant to the building.
At a minimum, though there are some specific additional requirements depending on the system or component undergoing repair.
For relocated buildings, the requirements of IEBC Chapter 14 apply for the other IEBC work classifications, alterations, changes of occupancy and additions.
There are three potential compliance paths:
The prescriptive compliance method which is covered in IEBC Chapter 5, the work area compliance method, which is covered in Chapter 6 to 12, and the performance compliance method which is covered in Chapter 13.
Let's start with the prescriptive compliance method.
The prescriptive compliance method essentially requires the work being performed to comply with the requirements of the IBC.
With a few exceptions involving situations where IBC compliance is unfeasible for an existing building, for many existing buildings, the requirements of the current edition of the IBC have progressed substantially since the building code that was in effect at the time of the original construction, this makes any attempt to comply with the current IBC requirements difficult.
Next, we have the work area compliance method.
This method is the most commonly used compliance method in the IEBC and generally the most flexible from a technical requirement standpoint.
This method applies varying requirements to the work area in the building based on the classification of work that is being performed. When the work area compliance method is used, the scope of work must comply with one or more of the applicable chapters:
Alterations level 1, which is in Chapter 7, Alterations Level 2, Chapter 8, Alterations Level 3, Chapter 9 and then Change of Occupancy, which is Chapter 10 and Additions in Chapter 11.
If your building happens to be a historic building, the requirements of Chapter 12 would then also apply.
For any building alteration that requirements of Chapter 7 would apply, and then if the alteration includes the addition or elimination of any door or window, the reconfiguration or extension of any system or the installation of any additional equipment, then the requirements of Chapter 8 would apply for a level 2 alteration.
If the work area exceeds 50% of the building, the requirements of Chapter 9 would apply for a Level 3 alteration.
Changes of occupancy and additions using the work area compliance method compliant must comply with chapters 10 and 11, respectively, as we just talked about.
One note on historic buildings.
If you're building this historic IEBC, Chapter 12 is probably the place where you want to start because it modifies several of the requirements found in these other chapters.
Finally, we have the performance compliance method, the performance compliance method involves the evaluation of a variety of building systems and components, including height and area compartmentation vertical openings, means of egress and Fire Protection systems.
These systems are each assigned a score based on the evaluation criteria found in IBC Chapter 13.
These scores are then added to determine a total building score.
If the score is high enough for the occupancy classifications involved, the work is deemed to be in compliance with the IEBC.
The performance compliance method is a good option when one aspect of a proposed scope of work cannot conform to the other compliance methods, but the remainder of the building is generally compliant.
For example, if an existing building work area has excessive dead end corridor lengths, compliance with the prescriptive compliance method or work area compliance method may be impossible, but the performance compliance method may be a viable option, assuming the building scores well in the other assessment areas.
One quick note on the IBC as we described in our first video, compliance with the requirements of the IBC is only required when specifically referenced by the IEBC or potentially the IFC or IPMC.
That said, if your work complies with the requirements of the current edition of the IBC adopted in your jurisdiction, this will inherently satisfy the requirements of the IEBC prescriptive compliance method. In other words, you always have the option to comply with the current edition of the IBC, though for many existing buildings this is hard to do.
If you are in a jurisdiction that adopts NFPA 101, there are additional requirements you need to be aware of.
NFPA 101 Chapter 43 applies to any building rehabilitation work, including repairs, renovations, modifications, reconstructions, changes of use or occupancy and additions.
Any of these actions would trigger a requirement to comply with NFPA 101 Chapter 43, which then brings in requirements to comply with the other portions of NFPA 101, depending on the scope of work.
Generally, NFPA 101 Chapter 43 requires compliance with all the requirements found in the applicable existing occupancy chapters, such as 13, 15, 17, etc, plus some additional requirements that vary based on the type of work that is being performed.
Next, let's talk about the IFC, the International Fire code as we described in the first video, the IFC is divided into 2 compliance categories, (1) construction and design provisions, and (2) administrative, operational and maintenance provisions.
Let's cover these one at a time.
For construction and design requirements, IFC section 102.1 states that these requirements apply to one, structures and facilities and conditions arising after the adoption of the code. Existing structures, facilities and conditions not legally in existence at the time of adoption of the code. Existing structures, facilities and conditions where required in Chapter 11. And existing structures, facilities and conditions that, in the opinion of the fire code official, constitute a distinct hazard to life or property.
Just as in our first video, items 3 and 4 in this situation would apply to our scenario here.
Additionally, item 1, structures, facilities and conditions arising after the adoption of the code would also apply to the work being performed in the building, since that work is creating a new condition.
Therefore, any requirement filed in the IFC that's applicable to a system or component within the work being performed would be an applicable requirement for your building.
This means you'll need to review the IFC chapters that are relevant to the given system or component of your building under consideration to determine if there are any applicable requirements.
Next, we have the IFC administrative, operational and maintenance provisions similar to video 1.
These include conditions and operations arising after the adoption of this code and to existing conditions and operations. Similar to our first video, both of these situations apply to our scenario Here for changes to an existing building.
If you are a jurisdiction that adopts NFPA one in lieu of the IFC, you'll have a little more work to do to determine what applies to your building.
There are requirements throughout NFPA 101 that would apply to this scenario, so again you'll need to review the chapters that are relevant to the given system or component of your building that will be changed and find the requirements that are applicable to existing buildings within those sections of NFPA 1.
In conclusion, the phrase “meeting code” is used frequently in the AEC community. But depending on the nature of your building and the work being performed, it can mean many different things.
For an existing building, you will likely fall under one of two scenarios:
Scenario (1) is normal operations of an existing building. We covered this under the first video in this series.
And scenario (2) is changes to an existing building, which is what we covered in this series.
Scenario 2 requires compliance with the IEBC and the IFC, and if you are in a jurisdiction enforcing NFPA 1 or NFPA 101, there are also requirements from these codes that will apply to your building.
I’m Chris Campbell, this is MeyerFire University.
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Aaron Johnson, CFEI
Al Yakel, SET
Chris Campbell, PE
Chris Logan, CFPS, RSE
David Stacy, PE
Ed Henderson, PE
Joe Meyer, PE