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About this chapter: Codes, by their very nature, are technical documents. Every word, term and punctuation mark can add to or change the meaning of a technical requirement. It is necessary to maintain a consensus on the specific meaning of each term contained in the code. Chapter 2 performs this function by stating clearly what specific terms mean for the purpose of the code.

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.

201.3 Terms Defined in Other Codes

AMENDMENT
This section has been amended at the state or city level.
Where terms are not defined in this code and are defined in the other Puerto Rico 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

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

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

[A] ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE. The director of the Administrative Revisions Division, as establish by Act 161-2009, as amended.

[A] ALTERATION. Any construction or renovation to an existing structure other than a repair or addition.

[A] APPROVED. Acceptable to the code official.

[A] BUILDING. Any structure utilized or intended for supporting or sheltering any occupancy.

[A] BUILDING OFFICIAL. The Auxiliary Secretary of the Permits Management Office of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (OGPe-DDEC), or a duly authorized representative.

[A] CHANGE OF OCCUPANCY. A change in the use of a building or a portion of a building that results in any of the following:

  1. A change of occupancy classification.
  2. A change from one group to another group within an occupancy classification.
  3. Any change in use within a group for which there is a change in application of the requirements of this code.

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

[BS] 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, has partially collapsed, has moved off its foundation, or lacks the necessary support of the ground.
  2. There exists a significant risk of collapse, detachment or dislodgement of any portion, member, appurtenance or ornamentation of the building or structure under service loads.

[A] DEFERRED SUBMITTAL. Those portions of the design that are not submitted at the time of the application and that are to be submitted to the code official within a specified period.

DESIGNATED INSPECTOR. An individual who is licensed to practice the profession of Architecture or Engineering as defined by the provisions of the Act No. 173 of August12, 1988, as amended, and according to with the provisions of Act No. 135 of June 15, 1967, as amended, (Certification Law); appointed by the owner to make periodic inspections of the construction work for which a permit was issued by the building official to ascertain compliance with the approved construction documents and permit issued. The professional shall certify the required inspections before the building official issue the certificate of occupancy.

[BS] DISPROPORTIONATE EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE. A condition of earthquake-related damage where both of the following occur:

  1. The 0.3-second spectral acceleration at the building site as estimated by the United States Geological Survey for the earthquake in question is less than 40 percent of the mapped acceleration parameter SS.
  2. The vertical elements of the lateral force-resisting system have suffered damage such that the lateral loadcarrying capacity of any story in any horizontal direction has been reduced by more than 10 percent from its predamage condition.

EQUIPMENT OR FIXTURE. Any plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigerating, and fire protection equipment, and elevators, dumbwaiters, 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.

[A] 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.

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

[A] FACILITY. All or any portion of buildings, structures, site improvements, elements and pedestrian or vehicular routes located on a site.

[BS] 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.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WITH JURISDICTION. Defined as "Entidad Gubernamental Concernida" in the Joint Regulation.

[A] HISTORIC BUILDINGS OR PROPERTY. Any building or structure site, object, place, location, district or zone, or collection of structures and their associated sites, deemed of importance to the history, architecture or culture of an area by an appropriate local, state or federal governmental jurisdiction and as defined by the "Reglamento Conjunto para la Evaluación y Expedición de Permisos Relacionados al Desarrollo, Uso de Terrenos y Operación de Negocios (Reglamento Conjunto), según la Ley Número 161 De 2009, según enmendada". This includes historical buildings or properties:
  1. Listed or certified as eligible for listing by the State Historic Preservation Officer or the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, in the National Register of Historic Places.
  2. Designated as historic or having historic significance under an applicable state or local law, ordinance or resolution.
  3. Designated as historic or having historic significance by the Puerto Rico Planning Board in the Register of Historic Places and Zones, Board of Directors of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, and the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly.
  4. Certified as a contributing or eligible resource within a National Register, state designated or locally designated historic district or zone.
(JOINT REGULATION) JOINT PERMITS REGULATIONS FOR THE EVALUATION AND ISSUANCE OF PERMITS RELATED TO DEVELOPMENT, LAND USE AND BUSINESS OPERATION. As defined in the "Reglamento Conjunto de Permisos para Obras de Construcción y Uso de Terrenos de Puerto Rico, (Reglamento Conjunto)" as established by the Act No. 161 of December 1, 2009, "Ley para la Reforma del Proceso de Permisos de Puerto Rico, as amended".

[B] NONCOMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL. A material that, under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite or burn when subjected to fire or heat. Materials that pass ASTM E136 are considered noncombustible materials.

(OGPe-DDEC) Permits Management Office: As defined in the Act 141, of July 10, 2018, "Ley de Ejecución del Plan de Reorganización del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio".

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.

(PRPB) PUERTO RICO PLANNING BOARD - Government Agency created by ACT No. 75 of June 1975 as amended, hereinafter PRPB. In addition, it is the State Agency Coordinator of the National Flood Insurance Program.

[A] REGISTERED DESIGN PROFESSIONAL. An individual who is licensed to practice the profession of architect or engineer as defined by the provisions of the Act No. 173 of August 12, 1988, as amended, and according to with the provisions of Act No. 135 of June 15, 1967, as amended, (Certification Law); engaged by the owner to prepare the construction documents, make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.

[A] REGISTERED DESIGN PROFESSIONAL IN RESPONSIBLE CHARGE. A registered design professional engaged by the owner or the owner's authorized agent 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.

RELOCATABLE BUILDING. A partially or completely assembled building constructed and designed to be reused multiple times and transported to different building sites.

[A] REPAIR. The reconstruction, replacement or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance or to correct damage.

[BS] REROOFING. The process of recovering or replacing an existing roof covering. See "Roof recover" and "Roof replacement."

[BS] RISK CATEGORY. A categorization of buildings and other structures for determination of flood, wind, snow, ice and earthquake loads based on the risk associated with unacceptable performance, as provided in Section 1604.5 of the Puerto Rico Building Code.

[BS] ROOF COATING. A fluid-applied adhered coating used for roof maintenance, roof repair, or as a component of a roof covering system or roof assembly.

[BS] ROOF RECOVER. The process of installing an additional roof covering over a prepared existing roof covering without removing the existing roof covering.

[BS] ROOF REPAIR. Reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing roof for the purpose of correcting damage or restoring the predamage condition.

[BS] ROOF REPLACEMENT. The process of removing the existing roof covering, repairing any damaged substrate and installing a new roof covering.

[BS] SEISMIC FORCES. The loads, forces and requirements prescribed herein, related to the response of the building to earthquake motions, to be used in the analysis and design of the structure and its components. Seismic forces are considered either full or reduced, as provided in Chapter 3.

[BS] 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.

[BS] 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 of the following:

  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 ensure safe living conditions.
  2. Any alteration of a historic structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure.

[BS] SUBSTANTIAL STRUCTURAL ALTERATION. An alteration in which the gravity load-carrying structural elements altered within a 5-year period support more than 30 percent of the total floor and roof area of the building or structure. The areas to be counted toward the 30 percent shall include mezzanines, penthouses, and in-filled courts and shafts tributary to the altered structural elements.

[BS] SUBSTANTIAL STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. A condition where any of the following apply:

  1. The vertical elements of the lateral force-resisting system have suffered damage such that the lateral loadcarrying capacity of any story in any horizontal direction has been reduced by more than 33 percent from its predamage condition.
  2. The capacity of any vertical component carrying gravity load, or any group of such components, that has a tributary area 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 predamage 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 Puerto Rico Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose and location.
  3. The capacity of any structural component carrying snow load, or any group of such components, that supports more than 30 percent of the roof area of similar construction has been reduced more than 20 percent from its predamage condition, and the remaining capacity with respect to dead, live and snow loads is less than 75 percent of that required by the Puerto Rico Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose and location.

TECHNICALLY INFEASIBLE. An alteration of 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 which are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility.

TEMPORARY POWER. The code 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 and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's Reglamento Complementario al Código Eléctrico Nacional (Complementary Code). In case of a conflict between the Complementary Code and the NFPA 70, the Complementary Code will prevail.

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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