Part 1 — Scope and Application
This section has been amended at the state or city level. Amendments are shown in green text.
The provisions of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-family Dwellings shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, removal and demolition of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories above grade plane separated by a 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall assembly, not more than three stories above grade in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures.
1. Live/work units complying with the requirements of Section 419 of the International Building Code shall be permitted to be built as one- and two-family dwellings or townhouses. Fire suppression required by Section 419.5 of the International Building Code when constructed under the International Residential Code for One- and Two-family Dwellings shall conform to Section P2904 NFPA 13D.
2. Owner-occupied lodging houses with five or fewer guestrooms shall be permitted to be constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code for One- and Two-family Dwellings when equipped with a fire sprinkler system in accordance with Section P2904 NFPA 13D.
The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.
Where there is a conflict between a general requirement and a specific requirement, the specific requirement shall be applicable. Where, in any specific case, different sections of this code specify different materials, methods of construction or other requirements, the most restrictive shall govern.
The provisions of this code shall not be deemed to nullify any provisions of local, state or federal law.
References to chapter or section numbers, or to provisions not specifically identified by number, shall be construed to refer to such chapter, section or provision of this code.
The codes and standards referenced in this code shall be considered part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference and as further regulated in Sections R102.4.1 and R102.4.2.
Where conflicts occur between provisions of this code and referenced codes and standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.
Where the extent of the reference to a referenced code or standard includes subject matter that is within the scope of this code, the provisions of this code, as applicable, shall take precedence over the provisions in the referenced code or standard.
Provisions in the appendices shall not apply unless specifically referenced in the adopting ordinance.
In the event any part or provision of this code is held to be illegal or void, this shall not have the effect of making void or illegal any of the other parts or provisions.
The legal occupancy of any structure existing on the date of adoption of this code shall be permitted to continue without change, except as is specifically covered in this code, the International Property Maintenance Code or the International Fire Code, or as is deemed necessary by the building official for the general safety and welfare of the occupants and the public.
Additions, alterations or repairs to any structure shall conform to the requirements for a new structure without requiring the existing structure to comply with all of the requirements of this code, unless otherwise stated. Additions, alterations or repairs shall not cause an existing structure to become unsafe or adversely affect the performance of the building.
Part 2 — Administration and Enforcement
The department of building safety is hereby created and the official in charge thereof shall be known as the building official.
In accordance with the prescribed procedures of this jurisdiction and with the concurrence of the appointing authority, the building official shall have the authority to appoint a deputy building official, the related technical officers, inspectors, plan examiners and other employees. Such employees shall have powers as delegated by the building official.
The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
The building official shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure compliance with this code.
The building official is authorized to make all of the required inspections, or the building official shall have the authority to accept reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. Reports of such inspections shall be in writing and be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible individual. The building official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
The building official shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures or premises in the performance of duties under this code.
Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or where the building official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition which is contrary to or in violation of this code which makes the structure or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the building official or designee is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such structure or premises be unoccupied, the building official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the building official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.
The building official, member of the board of appeals or employee charged with the enforcement of this code, while acting for the jurisdiction in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties required by this code or other pertinent law or ordinance, shall not thereby be rendered liable personally and is hereby relieved from personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of any act or by reason of an act or omission in the discharge of official duties. Any suit instituted against an officer or employee because of an act performed by that officer or employee in the lawful discharge of duties and under the provisions of this code shall be defended by legal representative of the jurisdiction until the final termination of the proceedings. The building official or any subordinate shall not be liable for cost in any action, suit or proceeding that is instituted in pursuance of the provisions of this code.
Wherever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the building official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, provided the building official shall first find that special individual reason makes the strict letter of this code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code and that such modification does not lessen health, life and fire safety or structural requirements. The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the files of the department of building safety.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code. Compliance with the specific performance-based provisions of the International Codes in lieu of specific requirements of this code shall also be permitted as an alternate.
Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of this code, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this code, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the building official shall have the authority to require tests as evidence of compliance to be made at no expense to the jurisdiction. Test methods shall be as specified in this code or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the building official shall approve the testing procedures. Tests shall be performed by an approved agency. Reports of such tests shall be retained by the building official for the period required for retention of public records.
Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.
Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
2. Fences not over 7 feet (2134 mm) high.
3. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
4. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 927 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
5. Sidewalks and driveways.
6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
8. Swings and other playground equipment.
9. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet (18.58 m2) in area, that are not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.
1. Listed cord-and-plug connected temporary decorative lighting.
2. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles but not the outlets therefor.
3. Replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location.
4. Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.
5. Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
1. Portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.
2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
3. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
1. Portable heating appliances.
3. Portable cooling units.
4. Steam, hot- or chilled-water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
5. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
6. Portable evaporative coolers.
7. Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 W) or less.
8. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe; provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
Application or notice to the building official is not required for ordinary repairs to structures, replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.
To obtain a permit, the applicant shall first file an application therefor in writing on a form furnished by the department of building safety for that purpose. Such application shall:
1. Identify and describe the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
2. Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by legal description, street address or similar description that will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed building or work.
3. Indicate the use and occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.
5. State the valuation of the proposed work.
6. Be signed by the applicant or the applicant's authorized agent.
7. Give such other data and information as required by the building official.
The building official shall examine or cause to be examined applications for permits and amendments thereto within a reasonable time after filing. If the application or the construction documents do not conform to the requirements of pertinent laws, the building official shall reject such application in writing stating the reasons therefor. If the building official is satisfied that the proposed work conforms to the requirements of this code and laws and ordinances applicable thereto, the building official shall issue a permit therefor as soon as practicable.
For applications for reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement of existing buildings or structures located in a flood hazard area as established by Table R301.2(1), the building official shall examine or cause to be examined the construction documents and shall prepare a finding with regard to the value of the proposed work. For buildings that have sustained damage of any origin, the value of the proposed work shall include the cost to repair the building or structure to its predamaged condition. If the building official finds that the value of proposed work equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building or structure before the damage has occurred or the improvement is started, the finding shall be provided to the board of appeals for a determination of substantial improvement or substantial damage. Applications determined by the board of appeals to constitute substantial improvement or substantial damage shall require all existing portions of the entire building or structure to meet the requirements of Section R322.
An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned 180 days after the date of filing unless such application has been pursued in good faith or a permit has been issued; except that the building official is authorized to grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
The issuance or granting of a permit shall not be construed to be a permit for, or an approval of, any violation of any of the provisions of this code or of any other ordinance of the jurisdiction. Permits presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid. The issuance of a permit based on construction documents and other data shall not prevent the building official from requiring the correction of errors in the construction documents and other data. The building official is also authorized to prevent occupancy or use of a structure where in violation of this code or of any other ordinances of this jurisdiction.
Every permit issued shall become invalid unless the work authorized by such permit is commenced within 180 days after its issuance, or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days after the time the work is commenced. The building official is authorized to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time, for periods not more than 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
The building permit or copy thereof shall be kept on the site of the work until the completion of the project.
Submittal documents consisting of construction documents, and other data shall be submitted in two or more sets with each application for a permit. The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed. Where special conditions exist, the building official is authorized to require additional construction documents to be prepared by a registered design professional.
Exception: The building official is authorized to waive the submission of construction documents and other data not required to be prepared by a registered design professional if it is found that the nature of the work applied for is such that reviewing of construction documents is not necessary to obtain compliance with this code.
Construction documents shall be drawn upon suitable material. Electronic media documents are permitted to be submitted when approved by the building official. Construction documents shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show in detail that it will conform to the provisions of this code and relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, as determined by the building official. Where required by the building official, all braced wall lines, shall be identified on the construction documents and all pertinent information including, but not limited to, bracing methods, location and length of braced wall panels, foundation requirements of braced wall panels at top and bottom shall be provided.
Manufacturer's installation instructions, as required by this code, shall be available on the job site at the time of inspection.
For buildings and structures located in whole or in part in flood hazard areas as established by Table R301.2(1), construction documents shall include:
1. Delineation of flood hazard areas, floodway boundaries and flood zones and the design flood elevation, as appropriate;
2. The elevation of the proposed lowest floor, including basement; in areas of shallow flooding (AO Zones), the height of the proposed lowest floor, including basement, above the highest adjacent grade;
3. The elevation of the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member in coastal high hazard areas (V Zone); and
4. If design flood elevations are not included on the community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the building official and the applicant shall obtain and reasonably utilize any design flood elevation and floodway data available from other sources.
The construction documents submitted with the application for permit shall be accompanied by a site plan showing the size and location of new construction and existing structures on the site and distances from lot lines. In the case of demolition, the site plan shall show construction to be demolished and the location and size of existing structures and construction that are to remain on the site or plot. The building official is authorized to waive or modify the requirement for a site plan when the application for permit is for alteration or repair or when otherwise warranted.
When the building official issues a permit, the construction documents shall be approved in writing or by a stamp which states “REVIEWED FOR CODE COMPLIANCE.” One set of construction documents so reviewed shall be retained by the building official. The other set shall be returned to the applicant, shall be kept at the site of work and shall be open to inspection by the building official or his or her authorized representative.
This code shall not require changes in the construction documents, construction or designated occupancy of a structure for which a lawful permit has been heretofore issued or otherwise lawfully authorized, and the construction of which has been pursued in good faith within 180 days after the effective date of this code and has not been abandoned.
The building official is authorized to issue a permit for the construction of foundations or any other part of a building or structure before the construction documents for the whole building or structure have been submitted, provided that adequate information and detailed statements have been filed complying with pertinent requirements of this code. The holder of such permit for the foundation or other parts of a building or structure shall proceed at the holder's own risk with the building operation and without assurance that a permit for the entire structure will be granted.
Temporary structures and uses shall conform to the structural strength, fire safety, means of egress, light, ventilation and sanitary requirements of this code as necessary to ensure the public health, safety and general welfare.
The building official is authorized to give permission to temporarily supply and use power in part of an electric installation before such installation has been fully completed and the final certificate of completion has been issued. The part covered by the temporary certificate shall comply with the requirements specified for temporary lighting, heat or power in NFPA 70.
For onsite construction, from time to time the building official, upon notification from the permit holder or his agent, shall make or cause to be made any necessary inspections and shall either approve that portion of the construction as completed or shall notify the permit holder or his or her agent wherein the same fails to comply with this code.
Inspection of the foundation shall be made after poles or piers are set or trenches or basement areas are excavated and any required forms erected and any required reinforcing steel is in place and supported prior to the placing of concrete. The foundation inspection shall include excavations for thickened slabs intended for the support of bearing walls, partitions, structural supports, or equipment and special requirements for wood foundations.
Rough inspection of plumbing, mechanical, gas and electrical systems shall be made prior to covering or concealment, before fixtures or appliances are set or installed, and prior to framing inspection.
For construction in flood hazard areas as established by Table R301.2(1), upon placement of the lowest floor, including basement, and prior to further vertical construction, the building official shall require submission of documentation, prepared and sealed by a registered design professional, of the elevation of the lowest floor, including basement, required in Section R322.
Inspection of framing and masonry construction shall be made after the roof, masonry, all framing, firestopping, draftstopping and bracing are in place and after the plumbing, mechanical and electrical rough inspections are approved.
Where fire-resistance-rated construction is required between dwelling units or due to location on property, the building official shall require an inspection of such construction after all lathing and/or wallboard is in place, but before any plaster is applied, or before wallboard joints and fasteners are taped and finished.
Final inspection shall be made after the permitted work is complete and prior to occupancy.
The building official is authorized to accept reports of approved agencies, provided such agencies satisfy the requirements as to qualifications and reliability.
Work shall not be done beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the building official. The building official upon notification, shall make the requested inspections and shall either indicate the portion of the construction that is satisfactory as completed, or shall notify the permit holder or an agent of the permit holder wherein the same fails to comply with this code. Any portions that do not comply shall be corrected and such portion shall not be covered or concealed until authorized by the building official.
No building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof shall be made until the building official has issued a certificate of occupancy therefor as provided herein. Issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall not be construed as an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. Certificates presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid.
2. Accessory buildings or structures.
After the building official inspects the building or structure and finds no violations of the provisions of this code or other laws that are enforced by the department of building safety, the building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy which shall contain the following:
1. The building permit number.
2. The address of the structure.
3. The name and address of the owner.
4. A description of that portion of the structure for which the certificate is issued.
5. A statement that the described portion of the structure has been inspected for compliance with the requirements of this code.
6. The name of the building official.
7. The edition of the code under which the permit was issued.
8. If an automatic sprinkler system is provided and whether the sprinkler system is required.
9. Any special stipulations and conditions of the building permit.
The building official is authorized to issue a temporary certificate of occupancy before the completion of the entire work covered by the permit, provided that such portion or portions shall be occupied safely. The building official shall set a time period during which the temporary certificate of occupancy is valid.
The building official shall, in writing, suspend or revoke a certificate of occupancy issued under the provisions of this code wherever the certificate is issued in error, or on the basis of incorrect information supplied, or where it is determined that the building or structure or portion thereof is in violation of any ordinance or regulation or any of the provisions of this code.
The building official shall have the authority to authorize and approve the temporary connection of the building or system to the utility, source of energy, fuel or power.
The building official shall have the authority to authorize disconnection of utility service to the building, structure or system regulated by this code and the referenced codes and standards set forth in Section R102.4 in case of emergency where necessary to eliminate an immediate hazard to life or property or when such utility connection has been made without the approval required by Section R111.1 or R111.2. The building official shall notify the serving utility and whenever possible the owner and occupant of the building, structure or service system of the decision to disconnect prior to taking such action if not notified prior to disconnection. The owner or occupant of the building, structure or service system shall be notified in writing as soon as practical thereafter.
In order to hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official relative to the application and interpretation of this code, there shall be and is hereby created a board of appeals. The building official shall be an ex officio member of said board but shall have no vote on any matter before the board. The board of appeals shall be appointed by the governing body and shall hold office at its pleasure. The board shall adopt rules of procedure for conducting its business, and shall render all decisions and findings in writing to the appellant with a duplicate copy to the building official.
An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of this code or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this code do not fully apply, or an equally good or better form of construction is proposed. The board shall have no authority to waive requirements of this code.
When the building official provides a finding required in Section R22.214.171.124, the board of appeals shall determine whether the value of the proposed work constitutes a substantial improvement. A substantial improvement means any repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or improvement of a building or structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building or structure before the improvement or repair is started. If the building or structure has sustained substantial damage, all repairs are considered substantial improvement regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not include:
1. Improvements of a building or structure required to correct existing health, sanitary or safety code violations identified by the building official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
2. Any alteration of an historic building or structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the continued designation as an historic building or structure. For the purpose of this exclusion, an historic building is:
2.1. Listed or preliminarily determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; or
2.2. Determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined to qualify as an historic district; or
2.3. Designated as historic under a state or local historic preservation program that is approved by the Department of Interior.
A variance shall be issued only upon:
1. A showing of good and sufficient cause that the unique characteristics of the size, configuration or topography of the site render the elevation standards in Section R322 inappropriate.
2. A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship by rendering the lot undevelopable.
3. A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, cause fraud on or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
4. A determination that the variance is the minimum necessary to afford relief, considering the flood hazard.
5. Submission to the applicant of written notice specifying the difference between the design flood elevation and the elevation to which the building is to be built, stating that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced floor elevation, and stating that construction below the design flood elevation increases risks to life and property.
The board of appeals shall consist of members who are qualified by experience and training to pass on matters pertaining to building construction and are not employees of the jurisdiction.
The building official shall take immediate action in accordance with the decision of the board.
The building official is authorized to serve a notice of violation or order on the person responsible for the erection, construction, alteration, extension, repair, moving, removal, demolition or occupancy of a building or structure in violation of the provisions of this code, or in violation of a detail statement or a plan approved thereunder, or in violation of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code. Such order shall direct the discontinuance of the illegal action or condition and the abatement of the violation.
If the notice of violation is not complied with in the time prescribed by such notice, the building official is authorized to request the legal counsel of the jurisdiction to institute the appropriate proceeding at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation, or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the building or structure in violation of the provisions of this code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto.
Any person who violates a provision of this code or fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who erects, constructs, alters or repairs a building or structure in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the building official, or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law.
Upon notice from the building official that work on any building or structure is being prosecuted contrary to the provisions of this code or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, such work shall be immediately stopped. The stop work order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property involved, or to the owner's agent or to the person doing the work and shall state the conditions under which work will be permitted to resume.
Any person who shall continue any work in or about the structure after having been served with a stop work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law.