Building Rehab Codes Make Debut

With approximately half of all U.S. building construction activity being dedicated to the rehabilitation of existing structures, more attention is being paid to developing comprehensive codes that deal specifically with retrofits.

02/11/2002


With approximately half of all U.S. building construction activity being dedicated to the rehabilitation of existing structures, more attention is being paid to developing comprehensive codes that deal specifically with retrofits.

For example, New Jersey and Maryland now have codes exclusively addressing alterations to existing buildings, and the International Code Council (ICC) plans to issue a similar document in 2003.

While current building codes typically have sections dealing with retrofits, they are primarily focused on new construction and lack predictability with regard to renovating existing buildings. This gives building officials considerable latitude in enforcing them, making it difficult for owners and design professionals to determine the scope and cost of work that will be required for renovations, according to Hamid Naderi, senior staff engineer with ICC.To address this, the ICC's new code, the International Existing Building Code—currently under development—establishes three levels for alteration projects, according to Naderi:

  • Level 1 includes the removal and replacement—or covering—of existing materials, elements, equipment or fixtures.

  • Level 2 includes the reconfiguration of space, the addition or elimination of any door or window, the reconfiguration or extension of any system or the installation of additional equipment.

  • Level 3 alterations apply where the work area exceeds 50% of the aggregate area of the building.





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