ADOPTS WITHOUT AMENDMENTS:

International Existing Building Code 2021 (IEBC 2021)

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About this chapter: The purpose of this chapter is to provide regulations for the circumstances where an existing building is subject to a change of occupancy or a change of occupancy classification. A change of occupancy is not to be confused with a change of occupancy classification. The International Building Code® defines different occupancy classifications in Chapter 3 and special occupancy requirements in Chapter 4. Within specific occupancy classifications there can be many different types of actual activities that can take place. For instance, a Group A-3 occupancy classification deals with a wide variation of different types of activities, including bowling alleys and courtrooms, indoor tennis courts and dance halls. When a facility changes use from, for example, a bowling alley to a dance hall, the occupancy classification remains A-3, but the different uses could lead to drastically different code requirements. Therefore, this chapter deals with the special circumstances that are associated with a change in the use of a building within the same occupancy classification as well as a change of occupancy classification.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply where a change of occupancy occurs, as defined in Section 202.
A change of occupancy or a change of occupancy within a space where there is a different fire protection system threshold requirement in Chapter 9 of the International Building Code shall not be made to any structure without the approval of the code official. A certificate of occupancy shall be issued where it has been determined that the requirements for the change of occupancy have been met.

Any work undertaken in connection with a change in use that does not involve a change of occupancy classification or a change to another group within an occupancy classification shall conform to the applicable requirements for the work as classified in Chapter 6 and to the requirements of Sections 1002 through 1010.

Exception: As modified in Section 1204 for historic buildings.

Where the occupancy classification of a building changes, the provisions of Sections 1002 through 1011 shall apply. This includes a change of occupancy classification and a change to another group within an occupancy classification.
Where the occupancy classification or group of a portion of an existing building is changed, Section 1011 shall apply.
A certificate of occupancy shall be issued where a change of occupancy occurs that results in a different occupancy classification as determined by the International Building Code.
Where an existing building or part of an existing building undergoes a change of occupancy to one of the special use or occupancy categories as described in Chapter 4 in the International Building Code, the building shall comply with all of the requirements of Chapter 4 of the International Building Codeapplicable to the special use or occupancy.
Where a portion of a building undergoes a change of occupancy to one of the incidental uses listed in Table 509.1 of the International Building Code, the incidental use shall comply with Section 509 of the International Building Code applicable to the incidental use.
Where a change of occupancy occurs to a Group I-2 or I-1 facility, the work area with the change of occupancy shall comply with the International Building Code.

Exception: A change in use or occupancy in the following cases shall not be required to meet the International Building Code:

  1. Group I-2, Condition 2 to Group I-2, Condition 1.
  2. Group I-2 to ambulatory health care.
  3. Group I-2 to Group I-1.
  4. Group I-1, Condition 2 to Group I-1, Condition 1.
In Group I-2 occupancies, equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 of the International Building Code, where a room 250 square feet (23.2 m2) or less undergoes a change in occupancy to a storage room, the room shall be separated from the remainder of the building by construction capable of resisting the passage of smoke in accordance with Section 509.4.2 of the International Building Code.
Building elements and materials in portions of buildings undergoing a change of occupancy classification shall comply with Section 1011.
Fire protection requirements of Section 1011 shall apply where a building or portions thereof undergo a change of occupancy classification or where there is a change of occupancy within a space where there is a different fire protection system threshold requirement in Chapter 9 of the International Building Code.
Means of egress in portions of buildings undergoing a change of occupancy classification shall comply with Section 1011.

Structural elements carrying tributary live loads from an area with a change of occupancy shall satisfy the requirements of Section 1607 of the International Building Code. Design live loads for areas of new occupancy shall be based on Section 1607 of the International Building Code. Design live loads for other areas shall be permitted to use previously approved design live loads.

Exception: Structural elements whose demand-capacity ratio considering the change of occupancy is not more than 5 percent greater than the demand-capacity ratio based on previously approved live loads.

Where a change of occupancy results in a structure being assigned to a higher risk category, the structure shall satisfy the requirements of Sections 1608 and 1609 of the International Building Code for the new risk category.

Exception: Where the area of the new occupancy is less than 10 percent of the building area. The cumulative effect of occupancy changes over time shall be considered.

Where a change of occupancy results in a building being assigned to a higher risk category, or where the change is from a Group S or Group U occupancy to any occupancy other than Group S or Group U, the building shall satisfy the requirements of Section 1613 of the International Building Code for the new risk category using full seismic forces.

Exceptions:

  1. Where a change of use results in a building being reclassified from Risk Category I or II to Risk Category III and the seismic coefficient, SDS, is less than 0.33, compliance with this section is not required.
  2. Where the area of the new occupancy is less than 10 percent of the building area, the occupancy is not changing from a Group S or Group U occupancy, and the new occupancy is not assigned to Risk Category IV, compliance with this section is not required. The cumulative effect of occupancy changes over time shall be considered.
  3. Unreinforced masonry bearing wall buildings assigned to Risk Category III and to Seismic Design Category A or B shall be permitted to use Appendix Chapter A1 of this code.
  4. Where the change is from a Group S or Group U occupancy and there is no change of risk category, use of reduced seismic forces shall be permitted.
Any structure that provides operational access to an adjacent structure assigned to Risk Category IV as the result of a change of occupancy shall itself satisfy the requirements of Sections 1608, 1609 and 1613 of the International Building Code. For compliance with Section 1613 of the International Building Code, the full seismic forces shall be used. Where operational access to Risk Category IV is less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from either an interior lot line or from another structure, access protection from potential falling debris shall be provided.

Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed to one of the following special occupancies as described in NFPA 70, the electrical wiring and equipment of the building or portion thereof that contains the proposed occupancy shall comply with the applicable requirements of NFPA 70. Health care facilities, including Group I-2, ambulatory health care facilities and outpatient clinics, shall also comply with the applicable requirements of NFPA 99:

  1. Hazardous locations.
  2. Commercial garages, repair and storage.
  3. Aircraft hangars.
  4. Gasoline dispensing and service stations.
  5. Bulk storage plants.
  6. Spray application, dipping and coating processes.
  7. Health care facilities, including Group I-2, ambulatory health care facilities and outpatient clinics.
  8. Places of assembly.
  9. Theaters, audience areas of motion picture and television studios, and similar locations.
  10. Motion picture and television studios and similar locations.
  11. Motion picture projectors.
  12. Agricultural buildings.
Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed, all unsafe conditions shall be corrected without requiring that all parts of the electrical system comply with NFPA 70.
Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed, electrical service shall be upgraded to meet the requirements of NFPA 70 for the new occupancy.
Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed, the number of electrical outlets shall comply with NFPA 70 for the new occupancy.
Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed such that the new occupancy is subject to different kitchen exhaust requirements or to increased mechanical ventilation requirements in accordance with the International Mechanical Code, the new occupancy shall comply with the respective International Mechanical Code provisions.

Where the occupancy of an existing building or part of an existing building is changed such that the new occupancy is subject to increased or different plumbing fixture requirements or to increased water supply requirements in accordance with the International Plumbing Code, the new occupancy shall comply with the intent of the respective International Plumbing Code provisions.

Exception: Only where the occupant load of the story is increased by more than 20 percent, plumbing fixtures for the story shall be provided in quantities specified in the International Plumbing Code based on the increased occupant load.

If the new occupancy is a food-handling establishment, all existing sanitary waste lines above the food or drink preparation or storage areas shall be panned or otherwise protected to prevent leaking pipes or condensation on pipes from contaminating food or drink. New drainage lines shall not be installed above such areas and shall be protected in accordance with the International Plumbing Code.
If the new occupancy will produce grease or oil-laden wastes, interceptors shall be provided as required in the International Plumbing Code.

If the new occupancy will produce chemical wastes, the following shall apply:

  1. If the existing piping is not compatible with the chemical waste, the waste shall be neutralized prior to entering the drainage system or the piping shall be changed to a compatible material.
  2. Chemical waste shall not discharge to a public sewer system without the approval of the sewage authority.
If the occupancy group is changed to Group I-2, the plumbing system and medical gas system shall comply with the applicable requirements of the International Plumbing Code.
Light and ventilation shall comply with the requirements of the International Building Code for the new occupancy.
The provisions of this section shall apply to buildings or portions thereof undergoing a change of occupancy classification. This includes a change of occupancy classification within a group as well as a change of occupancy classification from one group to a different group or where there is a change of occupancy within a space where there is a different fire protection system threshold requirement in Chapter 9 of the International Building Code. Such buildings shall also comply with Sections 1002 through 1010 of this code.
Fire protection systems shall be provided in accordance with Sections 1011.2.1 and 1011.2.2.

Where a change in occupancy classification occurs or where there is a change of occupancy within a space where there is a different fire protection system threshold requirement in Chapter 9 of the International Building Code that requires an automatic fire sprinkler system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Chapter 9 of the International Building Code. The installation of the automatic sprinkler system shall be required within the area of the change of occupancy and areas of the building not separated horizontally and vertically from the change of occupancy by one of the following:

  1. Nonrated permanent partition and horizontal assemblies.
  2. Fire partition.
  3. Smoke partition.
  4. Smoke barrier.
  5. Fire barrier.
  6. Fire wall.

Exceptions:

  1. An automatic sprinkler system shall not be required in a one- or two-family dwelling constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code.
  2. Automatic sprinkler system shall not be required in a townhouse constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code.
  3. The townhouse shall be separated from adjoining units in accordance with Section R302.2 of the International Residential Code.
Where a change in occupancy classification occurs or where there is a change of occupancy within a space where there is a different fire protection system threshold requirement in Chapter 9 of the International Building Code that requires a fire alarm and detection system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Chapter 9 of the International Building Code, such system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs. Existing alarm notification appliances shall be automatically activated throughout the building. Where the building is not equipped with a fire alarm system, alarm notification appliances shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs in accordance with Section 907 of the International Building Code as required for new construction.
In areas of the building undergoing the change of occupancy classification, the interior finish of walls and ceilings shall comply with the requirements of the International Building Code for the new occupancy classification.
In Group E occupancies, where the work area is a Level 3 alteration, enhanced classroom acoustics shall be provided in all classrooms with a volume of 20,000 cubic feet (565 m3) or less. Enhanced classroom acoustics shall comply with the reverberation time in Section 808 of ICC A117.1.
Hazard categories in regard to life safety and means of egress shall be in accordance with Table 1011.5.

TABLE 1011.5

MEANS OF EGRESS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS
1 (Highest Hazard) H
2 I-2; I-3; I-4
3 A; E; I-1; M; R-1; R-2; R-4, Condition 2
4 B; F-1; R-3; R-4, Condition 1; S-1
5 (Lowest Hazard) F-2; S-2; U

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher-hazard category (lower number) as shown in Table 1011.5, the means of egress shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 10 of the International Building Code.

Exceptions:

  1. Stairways shall be enclosed in compliance with the applicable provisions of Section 903.1.
  2. Existing stairways including handrails and guards complying with the requirements of Chapter 9 shall be permitted for continued use subject to approval of the code official.
  3. Any stairway replacing an existing stairway within a space where the pitch or slope cannot be reduced because of existing construction shall not be required to comply with the maximum riser height and minimum tread depth requirements.
  4. Existing corridor walls constructed on both sides of wood lath and plaster in good condition or 1/2-inch-thick (12.7 mm) gypsum wallboard shall be permitted. Such walls shall either terminate at the underside of a ceiling of equivalent construction or extend to the underside of the floor or roof next above.
  5. Existing corridor doorways, transoms and other corridor openings shall comply with the requirements in Sections 804.6.1, 804.6.2 and 804.6.3.
  6. Existing dead-end corridors shall comply with the requirements in Section 804.7.
  7. An operable window complying with Section 1011.5.6 shall be accepted as an emergency escape and rescue opening.

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser-hazard category (higher number) as shown in Table 1011.5, existing elements of the means of egress shall comply with the requirements of Section 905 for the new occupancy classification. Newly constructed or configured means of egress shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 10 of the International Building Code.

Exception: Any stairway replacing an existing stairway within a space where the pitch or slope cannot be reduced because of existing construction shall not be required to comply with the maximum riser height and minimum tread depth requirements.

Egress capacity shall meet or exceed the occupant load as specified in the International Building Code for the new occupancy.
Existing stairways shall comply with the handrail requirements of Section 804.10 in the area of the change of occupancy classification.
Existing guards shall comply with the requirements in Section 804.12 in the area of the change of occupancy classification.
Where a change of occupancy would require an emergency escape and rescue opening in accordance with Section 1031 of the International Building Code, operable windows serving as the emergency escape and rescue opening shall comply with the following:
  1. An existing operable window shall provide a minimum net clear opening of 4 square feet (0.38 m2) with a minimum net clear opening height of 22 inches (559 mm) and a minimum net clear opening width of 20 inches (508 mm).
  2. A replacement window where such window complies with both of the following:

    2.1. The replacement window meets the size requirements in Item 1.

    2.2. The replacement window is the manufacturer's largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window shall be permitted to be of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.

Hazard categories in regard to height and area shall be in accordance with Table 1011.6.

TABLE 1011.6

HEIGHTS AND AREAS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS
1 (Highest Hazard) H
2 A-1; A-2; A-3; A-4; I; R-1; R-2; R-4, Condition 2
3 E; F-1; S-1; M
4 (Lowest Hazard) B; F-2; S-2; A-5; R-3; R-4, Condition 1; U

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher-hazard category as shown in Table 1011.6, heights and areas of buildings and structures shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 5 of the International Building Code for the new occupancy classification.

Exception: For high-rise buildings constructed in compliance with a previously issued permit, the type of construction reduction specified in Section 403.2.1 of the International Building Code is permitted. This shall include the reduction for columns. The high-rise building is required to be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 of the International Building Code.

In other than Groups H, F-1 and S-1, fire barriers and horizontal assemblies constructed in accordance with Sections 707 and 711, respectively, of the International Building Code shall be permitted to be used in lieu of fire walls to subdivide the building into separate buildings for the purpose of complying with the area limitations required for the new occupancy where all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The buildings are protected throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 of the International Fire Code.
  2. The maximum allowable area between fire barriers, horizontal assemblies or any combination thereof shall not exceed the maximum allowable area determined in accordance with Chapter 5 of the International Building Code without an increase allowed for an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 506 of the International Building Code.
  3. The fire-resistance rating of the fire barriers and horizontal assemblies shall be not less than that specified for fire walls in Table 706.4 of the International Building Code.

Exception: Where horizontal assemblies are used to limit the maximum allowable area, the required fire-resistance rating of the horizontal assemblies shall be permitted to be reduced by 1 hour provided that the height and number of stories increases allowed for an automatic sprinkler system by Section 504 of the International Building Code are not used for the buildings.

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser-hazard category as shown in Table 1011.6, the height and area of the existing building shall be deemed acceptable.

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher-hazard category as shown in Table 1011.6, fire barriers in separated mixed use buildings shall comply with the fire-resistance requirements of the International Building Code.

Exception: Where the fire barriers are required to have a 1-hour fire-resistance rating, existing wood lath and plaster in good condition or existing 1/2-inch-thick (12.7 mm) gypsum wallboard shall be permitted.

Hazard categories in regard to fire-resistance ratings of exterior walls shall be in accordance with Table 1011.7.

TABLE 1011.7

EXPOSURE OF EXTERIOR WALLS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATION
1 (Highest Hazard) H
2 F-1; M; S-1
3 A; B; E; I; R
4 (Lowest Hazard) F-2; S-2; U

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table 1011.7, exterior walls shall have fire resistance and exterior opening protectives as required by the International Building Code.

Exception: A 2-hour fire-resistance rating shall be allowed where the building does not exceed three stories in height and is classified as one of the following groups: A-2 and A-3 with an occupant load of less than 300, B, F, M or S.

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser-hazard category as shown in Table 1011.7, existing exterior walls, including openings, shall be accepted.

Openings in exterior walls shall be protected as required by the International Building Code. Where openings in the exterior walls are required to be protected because of their distance from the lot line, the sum of the area of such openings shall not exceed 50 percent of the total area of the wall in each story.

Exceptions:

  1. Where the International Building Code permits openings in excess of 50 percent.
  2. Protected openings shall not be required in buildings of Group R occupancy that do not exceed three stories in height and that are located not less than 3 feet (914 mm) from the lot line.
  3. Exterior opening protectives are not required where an automatic sprinkler system has been installed throughout.
  4. Exterior opening protectives are not required where the change of occupancy group is to an equal or lower hazard classification in accordance with Table 1011.7.
Enclosure of vertical shafts shall be in accordance with Sections 1011.8.1 through 1011.8.4.
Vertical shafts shall be designed to meet the International Building Code requirements for atriums or the requirements of this section.

Where a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher-hazard category as shown in Table 1011.5, interior stairways shall be enclosed as required by the International Building Code.

Exceptions:

  1. In other than Group I occupancies, an enclosure shall not be required for openings serving only one adjacent floor and that are not connected with corridors or stairways serving other floors.
  2. Unenclosed existing stairways need not be enclosed in a continuous vertical shaft if each story is separated from other stories by 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction or approved wired glass set in steel frames and all exit corridors are sprinklered. The openings between the corridor and the occupant space shall have not fewer than one sprinkler head above the openings on the tenant side. The sprinkler system shall be permitted to be supplied from the domestic water-supply systems, provided that the system is of adequate pressure, capacity and sizing for the combined domestic and sprinkler requirements.
  3. Existing penetrations of stairway enclosures shall be accepted if they are protected in accordance with the International Building Code.

Interior vertical shafts other than stairways, including but not limited to elevator hoistways and service and utility shafts, shall be enclosed as required by the International Building Code where there is a change of use to a higher-hazard category as specified in Table 1011.5.

Exceptions:

  1. Existing 1-hour interior shaft enclosures shall be accepted where a higher rating is required.
  2. Vertical openings, other than stairways, in buildings of other than Group I occupancy and connecting less than six stories shall not be required to be enclosed if the entire building is provided with an approved automatic sprinkler system.
Openings into existing vertical shaft enclosures shall be protected by fire assemblies having a fire protection rating of not less than 1 hour and shall be maintained self-closing or shall be automatic-closing by actuation of a smoke detector. Other openings shall be fire protected in an approved manner. Existing fusible link-type automatic door-closing devices shall be permitted in all shafts except stairways if the fusible link rating does not exceed 135°F (57°C).
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