Part 1 — Scope and Application
The provisions of this code 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 in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures not more than three stories above grade plane in height.
Exception: The following shall be permitted to be constructed in accordance with this code where provided with a residential fire sprinkler system complying with Section P2904:
- Live/work units located in townhouses and complying with the requirements of Section 419 of the Puerto Rico Building Code.
- Owner-occupied lodging houses with five or fewer guestrooms.
- A care facility with five or fewer persons receiving custodial care within a dwelling unit.
- A care facility with five or fewer persons receiving medical care within a dwelling unit.
- A care facility for five or fewer persons receiving care that are within a single-family dwelling.
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.
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.
Part 2 — Administration and Enforcement
- There is good and sufficient cause showing that the unique characteristics of the size, configuration or topography of the site render the elevation standards of Section R322 inappropriate.
- Failure to grant the modification would result in exceptional hardship by rendering the lot undevelopable.
- The granting of modification 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 laws or ordinances.
- The modification is the minimum necessary to afford relief, considering the flood hazard.
- 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, has been submitted to the applicant.
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. Permits shall not be required for the works detailed in rule 3.2.4 of the Joint Regulation.
- Identify and describe the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
- 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.
- Indicate the use and occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.
- Be accompanied by construction documents and other information as required in Section R106.1.
- State the valuation of the proposed work.
- Be signed by the applicant or the applicant's authorized agent.
- Give such other data and information as required by the building official.
R184.108.40.206 Determination of Substantially Improved or Substantially Damaged Existing Buildings in Flood Hazard Areas
For applications for reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, alteration, repair 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 make a determination 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 proposed work is a substantial improvement or repair of substantial damage and the building official shall require existing portions of the entire building or structure to meet the requirements of Section R322.
For the purpose of this determination, a substantial improvement shall mean 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. Where the building or structure has sustained substantial damage, repairs necessary to restore the building or structure to its predamaged condition shall be considered substantial improvements regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term shall not include either of the following:
- Improvements to a building or structure that are required to correct existing health, sanitary or safety code violations identified by the building official and that are the minimum necessary to ensure safe living conditions.
- 2.1. Listed or preliminarily determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- 2.2. Determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, 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 as contributing to the historic significance of a registered historic district or zone or a district preliminarily determined to qualify as an historic district or zone.
- 2.3. Designated as historic or having historic significance under applicable state or local law, ordinance, or resolution.
Submittal documents consisting of construction documents, and other data shall be submitted digital form with each application for a permit. The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of Puerto Rico. 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, as established by the Joint Regulation.
- Delineation of flood hazard areas, floodway boundaries and flood zones and the design flood elevation, as appropriate.
- 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.
- The elevation of the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member in coastal high-hazard areas (V Zone) and in Coastal A Zones where such zones are delineated on flood hazard maps identified in Table R301.2(1) or otherwise delineated by the jurisdiction.
- 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.
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.
A building or structure shall not be used or occupied, and a change of occupancy or change of use of a building or structure or portion thereof shall not 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 Puerto Rico. Certificates presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of Puerto Rico shall not be valid.
After the building official inspects the building or structure and does not find violations of the provisions of this code or other laws that are enforced by the building enforcement agencies, the building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy containing the following:
- The permit number.
- The address of the structure.
- The name and address of the owner or the owner's authorized agent.
- A description of that portion of the structure for which the certificate is issued.
- A statement that the described portion of the structure has been inspected for compliance with the requirements of this code.
- The name of the building official.
- The edition of the code under which the permit was issued.
- If an automatic sprinkler system is provided and whether the sprinkler system is required.
- Any special stipulations and conditions of the building permit.
The administrative judge may also require an interpretation from the board when a revision is requested where the application of the required code is in question.