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Does This Meet Code 4

Recently an inspector visited Athens and snapped some pictures of repairs happening to buildings older then dirt.  Seriously, I think dirt was made from these rocks that are part of this building.  So in today’s “Does this meet code” when you perform repairs, do you need to bring the building up to code?

I know this may seem a far fetch, but can you imagine, what needs to meet the current code and when?

{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Jim corcoran January 2, 2009, 10:09 am

    should stairwells be pressurized???

  • Jeff Hugo January 4, 2009, 4:37 pm

    I dont believe so Jim, it should be great-grandfathered in.

  • Jeff Hugo January 4, 2009, 9:04 pm

    That was a joke. Grandfathering is the most dangerous word in the vocabulary of this profession, and we need to be more proactive in removing such language in the codes we enforce. If I’m on the 26th floor of a hotel without sprinklers because the code it was built under didnt require and hotel is on fire, grandfathering doesnt really do me or my family and fellow residents much good…does it? Grandfathering make grandfathers and grandmothers, before their time. The “I” codes is very weak on retro-fitting and more needs to be done about it.

  • admin January 4, 2009, 9:13 pm

    I thought it was a funny statement, I have never heard of Great Grandfathering before although I am sure someone brought it up to an inspector before. Maybe back with the Code of Hammurabi was put in place, they argued well since our building was built before the rules don’t apply?

    Recently I was in an old building where the door widths were no greater the 30.” It made me wonder should that have been upgraded?

  • Richard January 5, 2009, 8:51 am

    It depends, on the building department policy. Most likely it falls under some code. If the ” I-codes” have been adopted it may well fall under the International Existing Building Code (IEBC), which would let the proponent off the hook for many of the upgrades required in the “IBC”. I am not saying that I think that IEBC is wonderful just another way of doing business.

  • Marcus Veytia January 5, 2009, 10:28 am

    It is not always possible for an existing building to meet current code. However, where there are serious deviations from current safety expectations, an analysis and fire protection engineered solution should be considered. In Ontario, Canada, the Ontario Building Code does contain protection for existing conditions “grandfathering”. However, there are clauses in the Ontario Building Code Act and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act that address “unsafe buildings” that can be applied when an existing condition (a condition that was previously approved under a previous Code) is considered unsafe. For example, a building that has only one exit stair.

    An engineering analysis would determine what is reasonable for the building owner and the safety of building occupants. I do not think that forcing application of all current safety requirements for an existing building is necessary, nor is it reasonable. For example, I don’t think that the Acropolis requires smoke venting.

  • Brian Dove January 5, 2009, 3:33 pm

    Ah but does it need sprinklers – it is a place of Assembly and its Occupant Load is in all liklihood over 1,000 bringing voice evacuation alarms into play. It is also of flood resistant construction with plenty of flood vents.
    It is Type I if the math works out on the fire rating and therefore is probably unlimited in building area and height. Since its not a high rise, guess it meets most of the code. Now where are those ADA accessible bathrooms?

  • J. Michael Asebrook January 5, 2009, 4:18 pm

    On 26 September 1687 an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the Parthenon by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. The Building Official observed the damage and issued a Notice of Violation / Vacation Order as he determined the building was a serious hazard and could no longer be safely occupied.

    Yes. The Building must be brought up to the current code for any new proposed use. Consult the International Fire Code for requirments pertaining to vacant structures.

  • FM William Burns January 5, 2009, 8:09 pm

    I agree with my esteemed colleague Jeff. The I codes need to be more proactive since the IEBC and PMC don’t want to make waves. I prefer the NFPA codes since in an existing building where the hazards change or egress and fire protection are affected by growth, age or conditions there are means for applying new code or in the case of 101 existing occupancies. It’s all how you use the code and interpret the changes that occur in the life span of a building.

  • Michael January 27, 2009, 7:10 am

    I am dealing with something similar. The NFPA says that if there are over 50 0 r more persons in a public assembly you need 2 exits. However we have a building that was built in the 1920’s that has one exit but the restaurant gets more that 80 people. The owner says he is exempted because of granfather clause. Is this really true?

  • Lou Castro August 26, 2009, 9:51 pm

    Yes, the damage to the roof was over 50%

  • Tim Potter September 2, 2009, 9:22 am

    I have a building that has a fire alarm panel approximately 7 1/2 ft. to the bottom, I know that electrical panel boards have a height requirement, but where in the NFPA codes, does it say what height a fire alarm panel must not exceed? or does it?

  • Chuck Scheerle September 15, 2009, 6:09 pm

    We have a building on campus that recenlty had the electrical contractor install a Simplex fire alarm panel that was about 7-feet above the ground in a mechanical room. It was eventually lowered after we made exception to this height and being able to have easy access the alarm panel. It was eventually lowered prior to life safety.

    • Tim Potter September 16, 2009, 11:37 am

      Thanks, Chuck I finally found the code reference in NFPA 72 and NFPA 70.
      NFPA 72 2010 Edition says: 10.16.3* Annunciator Access and Location. All required annunciation means shall be readily accessible to responding personnel. All required annunciation means shall be located as required by the authority having jurisdiction to facilitate an efficient response to the fire situation.

      A.10.16.3 The primary purpose of fire alarm system annunciation is to enable responding personnel to identify the location of a fire quickly and accurately and to indicate the status of emergency equipment or fire safety functions that might
      affect the safety of occupants in a fire situation.

      NFPA 70 states that readily accessable means: Article 100, Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite
      to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.

      • Chuck Scheerle September 16, 2009, 12:16 pm

        Tim, thank a bunch for the correct NFPA codes. Unfortunitly here in Ohio, the Ohio Fire Code only recognizes NFPA 72 -2002 version and I’ve searched it and there doesn’t appear to have anything on annunciator access or location. I am glad to have your reference in chapter 10 now to look over.

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