International Existing Building Code 2009 (IEBC 2009)

Heads up: There are no suggested sections in this chapter.
Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have the meanings shown in this chapter.
Words used in the present tense include the future; words stated in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural, the singular.
Where terms are not defined in this code and are defined in the other International Codes, such terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in those codes.
Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this chapter, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.

Section 202 General Definitions

This section has been amended at the state or city level.

ADDITION. An extension or increase in floor area, number of stories, or height of a building or structure.

ALTERATION. Any construction or renovation to an existing structure other than a repair or addition. Alterations are classified as Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

CHANGE OF OCCUPANCY. A change in the purpose or level of activity within a building that involves a change in application of the requirements of this code.

CODE OFFICIAL. The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code.

COMPLIANCE ALTERNATIVE. An alternative life-safety construction feature which meets or exceeds the requirements or intent of a specific provision of 780 CMR. The building official is authorized to approve or disapprove compliance alternatives. Compliance alternatives are only permitted for existing buildings.

DANGEROUS. Any building, structure or portion thereof that meets any of the conditions described below shall be deemed dangerous:

  1. The building or structure has collapsed, partially collapsed, moved off its foundation or lacks the support of ground necessary to support it.
  2. There exists a significant risk of collapse, detachment or dislodgment of any portion, member, appurtenance or ornamentation of the building or structure under service loads.

EQUIPMENT OR FIXTURE. Any plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigerating, and fire protection equipment, and elevators, dumb waiters, escalators, boilers, pressure vessels and other mechanical facilities or installations that are related to building services. Equipment or fixture shall not include manufacturing, production, or process equipment, but shall include connections from building service to process equipment.

EXISTING BUILDING. A building erected prior to the date of adoption of the appropriate code, or one for which a legal building permit has been issued.

[B] FLOOD HAZARD AREA. The greater of the following two areas:

  1. The area within a flood plain subject to a 1-percent or greater chance of flooding in any year.
  2. The area designated as a flood hazard area on a community's flood hazard map, or otherwise legally designated.

HISTORIC BUILDING. Any building or structure that is listed in the State or National Register of Historic Places; designated as a historic property under local or state designation law or survey; certified as a contributing resource within a National Register listed or locally designated historic district; or with an opinion or certification that the property is eligible to be listed on the National or State Register of Historic Places either individually or as a contributing building to a historic district by the State Historic Preservation Officer or the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

HOUSE MUSEUM. A house museum is an historic building or structure. The principal use of such must be as an exhibit of the building or the structure itself which is open to the public not less than 12 days per year, although additional uses, original and/or ancillary to the principal use shall be permitted within the same building up to maximum of 40% of the gross floor area. All entries into the house museum list shall be certified by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The list can be found at

LOAD BEARING ELEMENT. Any column, girder, beam, joist, truss, rafter, wall, floor or roof sheathing that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight or any lateral load.

NONCOMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL. A material that, under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite or burn when subjected to fire or heat. Materials that pass ASTM E 136 are considered noncombustible materials.

PRIMARY FUNCTION. A primary function is a major activity for which the facility is intended. Areas that contain a primary function include, but are not limited to, the customer services lobby of a bank, the dining area of a cafeteria, the meeting rooms in a conference center, as well as offices and other work areas in which the activities of the public accommodation or other private entity using the facility are carried out. Mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances, corridors and restrooms are not areas containing a primary function.

REGISTERED DESIGN PROFESSIONAL IN RESPONSIBLE CHARGE. A registered design professional engaged by the owner to review and coordinate certain aspects of the project, as determined by the code official, for compatibility with the design of the building or structure, including submittal documents prepared by others, deferred submittal documents and phased submittal documents.

REHABILITATION. Any work, as described by the categories of work defined herein, undertaken in an existing building.

REHABILITATION, SEISMIC. Work conducted to improve the seismic lateral force resistance of an existing building.

REPAIR. The restoration to good or sound condition of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance.

SEISMIC LOADING. The forces prescribed herein, related to the response of the structure to earthquake motions, to be used in the analysis and design of the structure and its components.

[B] SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE. For the purpose of determining compliance with the flood provisions of this code, damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT. For the purpose of determining compliance with the flood provisions of this code, any repair, alteration, addition, or improvement of a building or structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure, before the improvement or repair is started. If the structure has sustained substantial damage, any repairs are considered substantial improvement regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

  1. Any project for improvement of a building required to correct existing health, sanitary, or safety code violations identified by the code official and that is the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions, or
  2. Any alteration of a historic structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure.


  1. In any story, the vertical elements of the lateral-force-resisting system have suffered damage such that the lateral load-carrying capacity of the structure in any horizontal direction has been reduced by more than 20 percent from its predamaged condition; or
  2. The capacity of any vertical gravity load-carrying component, or any group of such components, that supports more than 30 percent of the total area of the structure's floor(s) and roof(s) has been reduced more than 20 percent from its predamaged condition and the remaining capacity of such affected elements, with respect to all dead and live loads, is less than 75 percent of that required by the International Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose and location.

TECHNICALLY INFEASIBLE. An alteration of a building or a facility that has little likelihood of being accomplished because the existing structural conditions require the removal or alteration of a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features that are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and that are necessary to provide accessibility.

UNSAFE. Buildings, structures or equipment that are unsanitary, or that are deficient due to inadequate means of egress facilities, inadequate light and ventilation, or that constitute a fire hazard, or in which the structure or individual structural members meet the definition of "Dangerous," or that are otherwise dangerous to human life or the public welfare, or that involve illegal or improper occupancy or inadequate maintenance shall be deemed unsafe. A vacant structure that is not secured against entry shall be deemed unsafe.

WORK AREA. That portion or portions of a building consisting of all reconfigured spaces as indicated on the construction documents. Work area excludes other portions of the building where incidental work entailed by the intended work must be performed and portions of the building where work not initially intended by the owner is specifically required by this code.

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