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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing And Community Development
Chapter 63. Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code
12/3/2022

13VAC5-63-433.5. Chapter 7 Change of occupancy.

A. Change Sections 701.1 through 701.2 of the IEBC to read:

701.1 Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall apply where a change of occupancy occurs, except as modified by Section 906 for historic buildings. Compliance with the current VCC for the change of occupancy shall only be required as prescribed in this chapter. Compliance shall be only as necessary to meet the specific provisions of the applicable International Codes and is not intended to require the entire building be brought into compliance.

Exception: Compliance with the provisions of Chapter 14 shall be permitted in lieu of complying with this chapter for a change of occupancy.

701.2 Work undertaken in connection with a change of occupancy. Any repairs, alterations, or additions undertaken in connection with a change of occupancy shall conform to the applicable requirements for the work as classified in this code and as modified by this chapter.

B. Delete Sections 701.3 and 701.4 of the IEBC.

C. Change Section 702 to Special Use and Occupancy.

D. Change Sections 702.1 and 702.2 of the IEBC to read:

702.1 Compliance with the building code. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy to one of the special use or occupancy categories described in Chapter 4 of the VCC, the building shall comply with all of the requirements of Chapter 4 of the VCC applicable to the special use or occupancy.

702.2 Incidental uses. Where a portion of a building undergoes a change of occupancy to one of the incidental uses listed in Table 509 of the VCC, the incidental use shall comply with the applicable requirements of Section 509 of the VCC.

E. Delete Sections 702.3 through 702.6.1, including subsections, of the IEBC.

F. Change Section 703 to Building Elements and Materials.

G. Change Section 703.1 of the IEBC and add Section 703.2, including subsections, to the IEBC to read:

703.1 Interior finish. In areas of the building undergoing a change of occupancy classification, the interior finish of walls and ceilings shall comply with the requirements of the VCC for the new occupancy classification.

703.2 Enclosure of vertical openings. When a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table 705.2, protection of existing vertical openings shall be in accordance with Sections 703.2.1 through 703.2.3.

703.2.1 Stairways. Interior stairways shall be protected as required by Section 705.1.

703.2.2 Other vertical openings. Interior vertical openings, other than stairways, within the area of the change of occupancy shall be protected as required by the VCC.

Exceptions:

1. Existing one-hour interior shaft enclosures shall be accepted where a higher rating is required.

2. Vertical openings, other than stairways, in buildings of other than Group I occupancy and connecting less than six stories shall not be required to be enclosed are permitted if the entire building is provided with an approved automatic sprinkler system.

703.2.3 Shaft openings. All openings into existing vertical shaft enclosures shall be protected by fire assemblies having a fire protection rating of not less than one hour and shall be maintained self-closing or shall be automatic-closing by actuation of a smoke detector. All other openings shall be fire protected in an approved manner. Existing fusible link-type automatic door-closing devices shall be permitted in all shafts except stairways if the fusible link rating does not exceed 135°F (57°C).

H. Change Section 704 to Fire Protection.

I. Change Section 704.1 of the IEBC and add Sections 704.2, 704.3 and 704.4 to the IEBC to read:

704.1 Fire protection systems. Fire protection systems shall be provided in accordance with Sections 704.2 through 704.4.

704.2 Fire sprinkler system. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy that requires an automatic fire sprinkler system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Section 903 of the VCC, such automatic fire sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs.

704.3 Fire alarm and detection system. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy that requires a fire alarm and detection system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Section 907 of the VCC, such fire alarm and detection system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs. Existing alarm notification appliances shall be automatically activated throughout the building. Where the building is not equipped with a fire alarm system, alarm notification appliances shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs in accordance with Section 907 of the VCC as required for new construction.

704.4 Standpipe system. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy that requires a standpipe system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Section 905 of the VCC, such standpipe system shall be provided to serve the area where the change of occupancy occurs.

J. Change Section 705 to Means of Egress.

K. Change Sections 705.1 through 705.4, deleting subsections, and delete Sections 705.5 and 705.6 of the IEBC to read:

705.1 General. Means of egress in buildings undergoing a change of occupancy shall comply with Sections 705.2 through 705.4.

705.2 Means of egress, hazards. Hazard categories in regard to life safety and means of egress shall be in accordance with Table 705.2.

TABLE 705.2
MEANS OF EGRESS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD

OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS

1 (Highest Hazard)

H

2

I-2, I-3, I-4

3

A, E, I-1, M, R-1, R-2, R-4

4

B, F-1, R-3, S-1, R-5

5 (Lowest Hazard)

F-2, S-2, U

705.3 Means of egress for change to higher hazard category. When a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category (lower number) as shown in Table 705.2, the means of egress serving the area of the change of occupancy shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 10 of the VCC, except as modified in Sections 705.3.1 through 705.3.7.

705.3.1 Corridor fire-resistance ratings. The following exceptions apply to the fire-resistance rated corridor provisions in the VCC:

1. Existing corridor walls constructed on both sides of wood lath and plaster in good condition or 1/2-inch-thick (12.7 mm) gypsum wallboard are equivalent to a one-hour fire-resistance rating. Such walls shall either terminate at the underside of a ceiling of equivalent construction or extend to the underside of the floor or roof next above.

2. Dwelling unit or sleeping unit corridor doors and transom openings are permitted to comply with any of the following:

2.1 Be at least 13/8-inch (35 mm) solid core wood or approved equivalent and shall not have any glass panels other than approved wired glass or other approved glazing material in metal frames and equipped with approved door closers.

2.2 Meet the requirements of "Guidelines on Fire Ratings of Archaic Materials and Assemblies" (VEBC Resource A) for a rating of 15 minutes or more shall be accepted as meeting the provisions of this requirement.

2.3 In buildings protected throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system, resist smoke, be reasonably tight fitting, and not contain louvers.

2.4 In group homes with a maximum of 15 occupants and that are protected with an approved automatic smoke detection system, closing devices may be omitted.

2.5 Transoms in corridor walls shall be either glazed with 1/4-inch (6.4 mm) wired glass set in metal frames or other glazing assemblies having a fire protection rating as required for the door and permanently secured in the closed position or sealed with materials consistent with the corridor construction.

3. Openings in a corridor and any window in a corridor not opening to the outside air shall be sealed with materials consistent with the corridor construction.

705.3.2 Dead-end corridors. Dead-end corridors shall not exceed 35 feet (10670 mm).

Exceptions:

1. Where dead-end corridors of greater length are permitted by the VCC.

2. In other than Groups A and H occupancies, the maximum length of an existing dead-end corridor shall be 50 feet (15240 mm) in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic fire alarm system installed in accordance with the VCC.

3. In other than Groups A and H occupancies, the maximum length of an existing dead-end corridor shall be 70 feet (21356 mm) in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with the VCC.

4. In other than Groups A and H occupancies, the maximum length of an existing, newly constructed, or extended dead-end corridor shall not exceed 50 feet (15240 mm) on floors equipped with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with the VCC.

705.3.3 Emergency escape and rescue openings. An existing operable window with clear opening area no less than 4 square feet (0.38 m2) and minimum opening height and width of 22 inches (559 mm) and 20 inches (508 mm), respectively, shall be accepted as an emergency escape and rescue opening.

705.3.4 Fire escapes. Fire escapes in compliance with Section 303.

705.3.5 Interior stairway fire-resistance ratings. Existing interior stairways connecting two or more floors shall be enclosed with approved assemblies having a fire-resistance rating of not less than one hour with approved opening protectives from the highest floor where the change of occupancy classification occurs to, and including, the level of exit discharge and all floors below.

Exceptions:

1. Where interior stairway enclosure is not required by the VCC.

2. Unenclosed existing stairways need not be enclosed in a continuous vertical shaft if each story is separated from other stories by one-hour fire-resistance-rated construction or approved wired glass set in steel frames and all exit corridors are sprinklered. The openings between the corridor and the occupant space shall have at least one sprinkler head above the openings on the tenant side. The sprinkler system shall be permitted to be supplied from the domestic water supply systems, provided the system is of adequate pressure, capacity, and sizing for the combined domestic and sprinkler requirements.

3. In Group A occupancies, a minimum 30-minute enclosure shall be permitted to protect all interior stairways not exceeding three stories.

4. In Group B occupancies, a minimum 30-minute enclosure shall not be permitted to protect all interior stairways not exceeding three stories. This enclosure shall not be required in the following locations:

4.1 Buildings not exceeding 3,000 square feet (279 m2) per floor.

4.2 Buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic fire sprinkler system.

5. In Group E occupancies, the enclosure shall not be required for interior stairways not exceeding three stories when the building is protected throughout by an approved automatic fire sprinkler system.

6. In Group F occupancies, the enclosure shall not be required in the following locations:

6.1 Interior stairways not exceeding three stories.

6.2 Special purpose occupancies where necessary for manufacturing operations and direct access is provided to at least one protected stairway.

6.3 Buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system.

7. In Group H occupancies, the enclosure shall not be required for interior stairways not exceeding three stories where stairways are necessary for manufacturing operations and every floor level has direct access to at least two remote enclosed stairways or other approved exits.

8. In Group M occupancies, a minimum 30-minute enclosure shall be permitted to protect all interior stairways not exceeding three stories. This enclosure shall not be required in the following locations:

8.1 Stairways connecting only two floor levels.

8.2 Occupancies protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system.

9. In Group R-1 occupancies, the enclosure shall not be required for interior stairways not exceeding three stories in the following locations:

9.1 Buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system.

9.2 Buildings with fewer than 25 dwelling units or sleeping units where every sleeping room above the second floor is provided with direct access to a fire escape or other approved second exit by means of an approved exterior door or window having a sill height of not greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) and where:

9.2.1 Any exit access corridor exceeding 8 feet (2438 mm) in length that serves two means of egress, one of which is an unprotected vertical opening, shall have at least one of the means of egress separated from the vertical opening by a one-hour fire barrier; and

9.2.2 The building is protected throughout by an automatic fire alarm system, installed and supervised in accordance with the VCC.

10. In Group R-2 occupancies, a minimum 30-minute enclosure shall be permitted to protect interior stairways not exceeding three stories. This enclosure shall not be required in the following locations:

10.1 Interior stairways not exceeding two stories with not more than four dwelling units per floor.

10.2 Buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system.

10.3 Buildings with not more than four dwelling units per floor where every sleeping room above the second floor is provided with direct access to a fire escape or other approved second exit by means of an approved exterior door or window having a sill height of not greater than 44 inches (1118 mm), and the building is protected throughout by an automatic fire alarm system complying with the VCC.

11. Stairway enclosure is not required in one-family and two-family dwellings.

12. Group S occupancies where connecting not more than two floor levels or where connecting not more than three floor levels and the structure is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system.

13. Group S occupancies where stairway protection is not required for open parking garages and ramps.

705.3.6 Stairway geometry. Existing stairways are not required to be altered to meet tread depth and riser height requirements of the VCC.

705.3.7 Stairway handrails. Existing stairways are required to have a VCC compliant handrail on one side up to a required egress width of 66 inches (1676 mm) and both sides when the required egress width exceeds 66 inches (1676 mm).

705.4 Means of egress for change of occupancy to equal or lower hazard category or without a change in classification. When a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser hazard category (higher number) as shown in Table 705.2 or a change of occupancy without a change of classification is made, the means of egress shall be deemed acceptable provided the means of egress serving the area of the change of occupancy meets the egress capacity and occupant load based means of egress provisions in Chapter 10 of the VCC for the new occupancy.

L. Change Section 706 to Heights and Areas.

M. Change Sections 706.1 through 706.3, including subsections, and add Sections 706.4 and 706.5 of the IEBC to read:

706.1 General. Heights and areas of buildings and structures undergoing a change of occupancy classification shall comply with this Section.

706.2 Heights and areas, hazards. Hazard categories in regard to height and area shall be in accordance with Table 706.2.

TABLE 706.2
HEIGHTS AND AREAS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD

OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS

1 (Highest Hazard)

H

2

A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, I, R-1, R-2, R-4

3

E, F-1, S-1, M

4 (Lowest Hazard)

B, F-2, S-2, A-5, R-3, R-5, U

706.3 Height and area for change to higher hazard category. When a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table 706.2, heights and areas of buildings and structures shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 5 of the VCC for the new occupancy classification.

Exception: For high-rise buildings constructed in compliance with a previously issued permit, the type of construction reduction specified in Section 403.2.1 of the VCC is permitted. This shall include the reduction for columns. The high-rise building is required to be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 of the VCC.

706.3.1 Fire wall alternative. In other than Groups H, F-1 and S-1, fire barriers and horizontal assemblies constructed in accordance with Sections 707 and 711, respectively, of the VCC shall be permitted to be used in lieu of fire walls to subdivide the building into separate buildings for the purpose of complying with the area limitations required for the new occupancy where all of the following conditions are met:

1. The buildings are protected throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 of the International Building Code.

2. The maximum allowable area between fire barriers, horizontal assemblies, or any combination thereof shall not exceed the maximum allowable area determined in accordance with Chapter 5 of the VCC without an increase allowed for an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 506 of the VCC.

3. The fire-resistance rating of the fire barriers and horizontal assemblies shall be not less than that specified for fire walls in Table 706.4 of the VCC.

Exception: Where horizontal assemblies are used to limit the maximum allowable area, the required fire-resistance rating of the horizontal assemblies shall be permitted to be reduced by one hour provided the height and number of stories increases allowed for an automatic sprinkler system by Section 504 of the VCC are not used for the buildings.

706.4 Height and area for change to equal or lesser hazard category. When a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser hazard category as shown in Table 706.2, the height and area of the existing building shall be deemed acceptable.

706.5 Fire barriers. When a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table 706.2, fire barriers in separated mixed use buildings shall comply with the fire-resistance requirements of the VCC.

Exception: Where the fire barriers are required to have a one-hour-fire-resistance rating, existing wood lath and plaster in good condition or existing 1/2-inch-thick (12.7 mm) gypsum wallboard shall be permitted.

N. Change Section 707 to Exterior Wall Fire-Resistance Ratings.

O. Change Section 707.1 and add Sections 707.2 through 707.4 to the IEBC to read:

707.1 Exterior wall fire-resistance ratings, hazards. Hazard categories in regard to fire-resistance ratings of exterior walls shall be in accordance with Table 707.1.

TABLE 707.1
EXPOSURE OF EXTERIOR WALLS HAZARD CATEGORIES

RELATIVE HAZARD

OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS

1 (Highest Hazard)

H

2

F-1, M, S-1

3

A, B, E, I, R

4 (Lowest Hazard)

F-2, S-2, U

707.2 Exterior wall rating for change of occupancy classification to a higher hazard category. When a change of occupancy classification is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table 707.1, exterior walls shall have fire resistance and exterior opening protectives as required by the VCC.

Exception: A two-hour-fire-resistance rating shall be allowed where the building does not exceed three stories in height and is classified as one of the following groups: A-2 and A-3 with an occupant load of less than 300, B, F, M, or S.

707.3 Exterior wall rating for change of occupancy classification to an equal or lesser hazard category. When a change of occupancy classification is made to an equal or lesser hazard category as shown in Table 707.1, existing exterior walls, including openings, shall be accepted.

707.4 Opening protectives. Openings in exterior walls shall be protected as required by the VCC. Where openings in the exterior walls are required to be protected because of their distance from the lot line, the sum of the area of such openings shall not exceed 50% of the total area of the wall in each story.

Exceptions:

1. Where the VCC permits openings in excess of 50%.

2. Protected openings shall not be required in buildings of Group R occupancy that do not exceed three stories in height and that are located not less than 3 feet (914 mm) from the lot line.

3. Where exterior opening protectives are required, an automatic sprinkler system throughout may be substituted for opening protection.

4. Exterior opening protectives are not required when the change of occupancy group is to an equal or lower hazard classification in accordance with Table 707.1.

P. Add Section 708 Electrical and Lighting.

Q. Add Sections 708.1 through 708.4 to the IEBC to read:

708.1 Special occupancies. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy to one of the following special occupancies as described in NFPA 70, the electrical wiring and equipment of the building that contains the proposed occupancy shall comply with the applicable requirements of NFPA 70:

1. Hazardous locations.

2. Commercial garages, repair, and storage.

3. Aircraft hangars.

4. Gasoline dispensing and service stations.

5. Bulk storage plants.

6. Spray application, dipping, and coating processes.

7. Health care facilities.

8. Places of assembly.

9. Theaters, audience areas of motion picture and television studios, and similar locations.

10. Motion picture and television studios and similar locations.

11. Motion picture projectors.

12. Agricultural buildings.

708.2 Service upgrade. When a new occupancy is required to have a higher electrical load demand per NFPA 70 and the service cannot accommodate the increased demand, the service shall be upgraded to meet the requirements of NFPA 70 for the new occupancy.

708.3 Number of electrical outlets. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy, the number of electrical outlets shall comply with NFPA 70 for the new occupancy.

708.4 Lighting. Lighting shall comply with the requirements of the VCC for the new occupancy.

R. Add Section 709 Mechanical and Ventilation.

S. Add Section 709.1 to the IEBC to read:

709.1 Mechanical and ventilation requirements. Where a building undergoes a change of occupancy such that the new occupancy is subject to different kitchen exhaust requirements or to increased ventilation requirements in accordance with the International Mechanical Code, the new occupancy shall comply with the respective International Mechanical Code provisions.

T. Add Section 710 Plumbing.

U. Add Sections 710.1 through 710.3 to the IEBC to read:

710.1 Increased demand. Where a building or portion thereof undergoes a change of occupancy, such that the new occupancy is subject to increased or different plumbing fixture requirements or to increased water supply requirements in accordance with the International Plumbing Code, the new occupancy shall comply with the respective International Plumbing Code provisions.

Exception: In other than Group R or I occupancies or child care facilities classified as Group E, where the occupant load is increased by 20% or less in the area where the change of occupancy occurs, additional plumbing fixtures required based on the increased occupant load in quantities specified in the International Plumbing Code are not required.

710.2 Interceptor required. If the new occupancy will produce grease or oil-laden wastes, interceptors shall be provided as required in the International Plumbing Code.

710.3 Chemical wastes. If the new occupancy will produce chemical wastes, the following shall apply:

1. If the existing piping is not compatible with the chemical waste, the waste shall be neutralized prior to entering the drainage system, or the piping shall be changed to a compatible material.

2. No chemical waste shall discharge to a public sewer system without the approval of the sewage authority.

V. Add Section 711 Structural.

W. Add Sections 711.1 through 711.3, including subsections, to the IEBC to read:

711.1 Gravity loads. Buildings subject to a change of occupancy where such change in the nature of occupancy results in higher uniform or concentrated loads based on Table 1607.1 of the VCC shall comply with the gravity load provisions of the VCC.

Exception: Structural elements whose stress is not increased by more than 5%.

711.2 Snow and wind loads. Buildings and structures subject to a change of occupancy where such change in the nature of occupancy results in higher wind or snow risk categories based on Table 1604.5 of the VCC shall be analyzed and shall comply with the applicable wind or snow load provisions of the VCC.

Exception: Where the new occupancy with a higher risk category is less than or equal to 10% of the total building floor area. The cumulative effect of the area of occupancy changes shall be considered for the purposes of this exception.

711.3 Seismic loads. Existing buildings with a change of occupancy shall comply with the seismic provisions of Sections 711.3.1 and 711.3.2.

711.3.1 Compliance with VCC-level seismic forces. Where a building is subject to a change of occupancy that results in the building being assigned to a higher risk category based on Table 1604.5 of the VCC, the building shall comply with the requirements for VCC-level seismic forces as specified in Section 305.2.1 for the new risk category.

Exceptions:

1. Specific detailing provisions required for a new structure are not required to be met where it can be shown that an equivalent level of performance and seismic safety is obtained for the applicable risk category based on the provision for reduced VCC-level seismic forces as specified in Section 305.2.2.

2. Where the area of the new occupancy with a higher hazard category is less than or equal to 10% of the total building floor area and the new occupancy is not classified as Risk Category IV. For the purposes of this exception, buildings occupied by two or more occupancies not included in the same risk category, shall be subject to the provisions of Section 1604.5.1 of the VCC. The cumulative effect of the area of occupancy changes shall be considered for the purposes of this exception.

3. Unreinforced masonry bearing wall buildings in Risk Category III when assigned to Seismic Design Category A or B shall be allowed to be strengthened to meet the requirements of Appendix Chapter A1 of this code Guidelines for the Seismic Retrofit of Existing Buildings (GSREB).

4. Specific seismic detailing requirements of Section 1613 of the VCC for a new structure shall not be required to be met where the seismic performance is shown to be equivalent to that of a new structure. A demonstration of equivalence shall consider the regularity, overstrength, redundancy, and ductility of the structure.

5. When a change of occupancy results in a structure being reclassified from Risk Category I or II to Risk Category III and the structure is located where the seismic coefficient, SDS, is less than 0.33, compliance with the seismic requirements of Section 1613 of the VCC is not required.

711.3.2 Access to Risk Category IV. Where a change of occupancy is such that compliance with Section 711.3.1 is required and the building is assigned to Risk Category IV, the operational access to the building shall not be through an adjacent structure, unless that structure conforms to the requirements for Risk Category IV structures. Where operational access is less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from either an interior lot line or from another structure, access protection from potential falling debris shall be provided by the owner of the Risk Category IV structure.

X. Add Section 712 Accessibility.

Y. Add Section 712.1 to the IEBC to read:

712.1 General. Existing buildings that undergo a change of occupancy classification shall comply with Section 402.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2018; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

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