A historic buildingundergoing repair, alteration, or change of occupancyshall be investigated and evaluated. If it is intended that the building meet the requirements of this chapter, a written report shall be prepared and filed with the code officialby a registered design professional when such a report is necessary in the opinion of the code official. Such report shall be in accordance with Chapter 1 and shall identify each required safety feature that is in compliance with this chapter and where compliance with other chapters of these provisions would be damaging to the contributing historic features. For buildings assigned to Seismic Design Category D, E or F, a structural evaluation describing, at a minimum, the vertical and horizontal elements of the lateral force-resisting system and any strengths or weaknesses therein shall be prepared. Additionally, the report shall describe each feature that is not in compliance with these provisions and shall demonstrate how the intent of these provisions is complied with in providing an equivalent level of safety.
When a building in Group R-3 is also used for Group A, B, or M purposes such as museum tours, exhibits, and other public assembly activities, or for museums less than 3,000 square feet (279 m2), the code officialmay determine that the occupancy is Group B when life-safety conditions can be demonstrated in accordance with Section 1201.2. Adequate means of egress in such buildings, which may include a means of maintaining doors in an open position to permit egress, a limit on building occupancy to an occupant load permitted by the means of egress capacity, a limit on occupancy of certain areas or floors, or supervision by a person knowledgeable in the emergency exiting procedures, shall be provided.
1. Listed or preliminarily determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places;
2. Determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior to contribute to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined to qualify as a historic district; or
3. Designated as historic under a state or local historic preservation program that is approved by the Department of Interior.
Repairs to any portion of an historic building or structure shall be permitted with original or like materials and original methods of construction, subject to the provisions of this chapter. Hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead-based paint, shall not be used where the code for new construction would not permit their use in buildings of similar occupancy, purpose and location.
Every historic building that does not conform to the construction requirements specified in this code for the occupancy or use and that constitutes a distinct fire hazard as defined herein shall be provided with an approved automatic fire-extinguishing system as determined appropriate by the code official. However, an automatic fire-extinguishing system shall not be used to substitute for, or act as an alternative to, the required number of exits from any facility.
Existing door openings and corridor and stairway widths less than those specified elsewhere in this code may be approved, provided that, in the opinion of the code official, there is sufficient width and height for a person to pass through the opening or traverse the means of egress. When approved by the code official, the front or main exit doors need not swing in the direction of the path of exit travel, provided that other approved means of egress having sufficient capacity to serve the total occupant load are provided.
In fully sprinklered buildings of Group R-1, R-2 or R-3 occupancy, existing transoms in corridors and other fire-resistance-rated walls may be maintained if fixed in the closed position. A sprinkler shall be installed on each side of the transom.
In buildings of three stories or less, exit enclosure construction shall limit the spread of smoke by the use of tight-fitting doors and solid elements. Such elements are not required to have a fire-resistance rating.
Where 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction is required by these provisions, it need not be provided, regardless of construction or occupancy, where the existing wall and ceiling finish is wood or metal lath and plaster.
Historic glazing materials are permitted in interior walls required to have a 1-hour fire-resistance rating where the opening is provided with approved smoke seals and the area affected is provided with an automatic sprinkler system.
Grand stairways shall be accepted without complying with the handrail and guard requirements. Existing handrails and guards at all stairs shall be permitted to remain, provided they are not structurally dangerous.
The spacing between existing intermediate railings or openings in existing ornamental patterns shall be accepted. Missing elements or members of a guard may be replaced in a manner that will preserve the historic appearance of the building or structure.
Where exit sign or egress path marking location would damage the historic character of the building, alternative exit signs are permitted with approval of the code official. Alternative signs shall identify the exits and egress path.
Every historical building that cannot be made to conform to the construction requirements specified in the International Building Code for the occupancy or use and that constitutes a distinct fire hazard shall be deemed to be in compliance if provided with an approved automatic fire-extinguishing system.
Exception: When the code officialapproves an alternative life-safety system.
The provisions of Sections 705, 806 and 906, as applicable, shall apply to facilities designated as historic structures that undergo alterations, unless technically infeasible. Where compliance with the requirements for accessible routes, entrances or toilet rooms would threaten or destroy the historic significance of the building or facility, as determined by the code official, the alternative requirements of Sections 1204.1.1 through 1204.1.4 for that element shall be permitted.
Historic structures undergoing a change of use to a higher hazard category in accordance with Section 1012.6 may use alternative methods to comply with the fire-resistance and exterior opening protective requirements. Such alternatives shall comply with Section 1201.2.
Existing door openings and corridor and stairway widths less than those that would be acceptable for nonhistoric buildings under these provisions shall be approved, provided that, in the opinion of the code official, there is sufficient width and height for a person to pass through the opening or traverse the exit and that the capacity of the exit system is adequate for the occupant load, or where other operational controls to limit occupancy are approved by the code official.
When approved by the code official, existing front doors need not swing in the direction of exit travel, provided that other approved exits having sufficient capacity to serve the total occupant load are provided.
In corridor walls required by these provisions to be fire-resistance rated, existing transoms may be maintained if fixed in the closed position, and fixed wired glass set in a steel frame or other approved glazing shall be installed on one side of the transom.
Where interior finish materials are required to have a flame spread index of Class C or better, existing nonconforming materials shall be surfaced with approved fire-retardant paint or finish.
Exception: Existing nonconforming materials need not be surfaced with an approved fire-retardant paint or finish where the building is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with the International Building Codeand the nonconforming materials can be substantiated as being historic in character.
Where 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction is required by these provisions, it need not be provided, regardless of construction or occupancy, where the existing wall and ceiling finish is wood lath and plaster.
Existing stairways shall comply with the requirements of these provisions. The code officialshall grant alternatives for stairways and railings if alternative stairways are found to be acceptable or are judged to meet the intent of these provisions. Existing stairways shall comply with Section 1203.
Exception: For buildings less than 3,000 square feet (279 m2), existing conditions are permitted to remain at all stairs and rails.
Existing historic stairways in buildings changed to a Group R-1 or R-2 occupancy shall be accepted where it can be shown that the stairway can support a 75-pounds-per-square-foot (366 kg/m2) live load.
When it is determined by the code officialthat compliance with the natural light requirements of Section 1011.1 will lead to loss of historic character or historic materials in the building, the existing level of natural lighting shall be considered acceptable.
The provisions of Section 1012.8 shall apply to facilities designated as historic structures that undergo a change of occupancy, unless technically infeasible. Where compliance with the requirements for accessible routes, ramps, entrances, or toilet rooms would threaten or destroy the historic significance of the building or facility, as determined by the authority having jurisdiction, the alternative requirements of Sections 1204.1.1 through 1204.1.4 for those elements shall be permitted