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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
1/23/2020

13VAC5-63-434.5. Chapter 9 Historic Buildings.

A. Change Sections 901.1 and 901.2 of the IEBC to read:

901.1 Scope. It is the intent of this chapter to provide means for the preservation of historic buildings. The provisions of this code relating to construction involving historic buildings shall not be mandatory unless such a construction constitutes a life safety hazard. Accessibility shall be provided in accordance with Section 405.

901.2 Report. The code official shall be permitted to require that a historic building undergoing repair, alteration or change of occupancy be investigated and evaluated by an RDP or other qualified person or agency as a condition of determining compliance with this code.

B. Add Section 901.3 to the IEBC to read:

901.3 Special occupancy exceptions. 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 official may determine that the occupancy is Group B when life safety conditions can be demonstrated in accordance with Section 901.2. 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.

C. Change Section 902 to Flood hazard areas.

D. Change Section 902.1 of the IEBC to read:

902.1 Flood hazard areas. In flood hazard areas, if all proposed work, including repairs, work required because of a change of occupancy, and alterations, constitutes substantial improvement, then the existing building shall comply with Section 1612 of the International Building Code or Section R322 of the International Residential Code, as applicable.

Exception: If an historic building will continue to be an historic building after the proposed work is completed, then the proposed work is not considered a substantial improvement. For the purposes of this exception, an historic building is:

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 as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined to qualify as an historic district; or

3. Designated as historic under a state or local historic preservation program that is approved by the Department of Interior.

E. Delete Section 902.2 of the IEBC.

F. Change Section 903 to Repairs.

G. Change Sections 903.1 through 903.3, including subsections, to read:

903.1 General. 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.

903.2 Moved buildings. Foundations of moved historic buildings and structures shall comply with the VCC. Moved historic buildings shall otherwise be considered an historic building for the purposes of this code. Moved historic buildings and structures shall be sited so that exterior wall and opening requirements comply with the VCC or with the compliance alternatives of this code.

903.3 Replacement. Replacement of existing or missing features using original materials shall be permitted. Partial replacement for repairs that match the original in configuration, height, and size shall be permitted. Replacement glazing in hazardous locations shall comply with the safety glazing requirements of Chapter 24 of the VCC.

Exception: Glass block walls, louvered windows, and jalousies repaired with like materials.

H. Change Section 904 to Fire Safety.

I. Change Sections 904.1 and 904.2, deleting subsections, of the IEBC to read:

904.1 Scope. Except as provided in Section 901, historic buildings undergoing alterations, changes of occupancy, or that are moved shall comply with this section.

904.2 General. 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 in this code 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.

J. Add Sections 904.3 through 904.12, including subsections, to the IEBC to read:

904.3 Means of egress. Existing door openings and corridor and stairway widths less than those specified elsewhere in this code shall be permitted, provided there is sufficient width and height for a person to pass through the opening or traverse the means of egress. 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.

904.4 Transoms. 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.

904.5 Interior finishes. The existing finishes of walls and ceilings shall be accepted when it is demonstrated that they are the historic finishes.

904.6 Stairway enclosure. 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.

904.7 One-hour-fire-resistant assemblies. Where one-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.

904.8 Glazing in fire-resistance-rated systems. Historic glazing materials are permitted in interior walls required to have a one-hour-fire-resistance rating where the opening is provided with approved smoke seals and the area affected is provided with an automatic sprinkler system.

904.9 Stairway railings. Grand stairways shall be accepted without complying with the handrail and guard requirements. Existing handrails and guards at all stairways shall be permitted to remain, provided they are not structurally dangerous.

904.10 Guards. Guards shall comply with Sections 904.10.1 and 904.10.2.

904.10.1 Height. Existing guards shall comply with the requirements of Section 501.2.

904.10.2 Guard openings. 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.

904.11 Exit signs. 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.

904.12 Automatic fire-extinguishing systems. Every historical building that cannot be made to conform to the construction requirements specified in the VCC 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 official approves an alternative life safety system.

K. Change Section 905 to Alterations.

L. Change Section 905.1 to the IEBC to read:

905.1 General. The provisions of Chapter 6, as applicable, shall apply to facilities designated as historic structures that undergo alterations, unless technically infeasible.

M. Delete Sections 905.2 and 905.3 of the IEBC.

N. Change Section 906 to Change of Occupancy.

O. Change Sections 906.1 and 906.2 of the IEBC to read:

906.1 General. Historic buildings undergoing a change of occupancy shall comply with the applicable provisions of Chapter 7, except as specifically permitted in this chapter. When Chapter 7 requires compliance with specific requirements of Chapter 6 and when those requirements are subject to the exceptions in Section 903, the same exceptions shall apply to this section.

906.2 Building area. The allowable floor area for historic buildings undergoing a change of occupancy shall be permitted to exceed by 20% the allowable areas specified in Chapter 5 of the VCC.

P. Add Sections 906.3 through 906.14 to the IEBC to read:

906.3 Location on property. Historic structures undergoing a change of use to a higher hazard category in accordance with Section 707.1 may use alternative methods to comply with the fire-resistance and exterior opening protective requirements. Such alternatives shall comply with Section 901.2.

906.4 Occupancy separation. Required occupancy separations of one hour may be omitted when the building is provided with an approved automatic sprinkler system throughout.

906.5 Roof covering. Regardless of occupancy or use group, Roof covering materials not less than Class C, when tested in accordance with ASTM E 108 or UL 790, shall be permitted where a fire-retardant roof covering is required.

906.6 Means of egress. Existing door openings and corridor and stairway widths less than those that would be acceptable for nonhistoric buildings under these provisions shall be permitted, provided 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.

906.7 Door swing. 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.

906.8 Transoms. 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.

Exception: Transoms conforming to Section 904.4 shall be accepted.

906.9 Finishes. Where interior finish materials are required to have a flame spread index of Class C or better, when tested in accordance with ASTM E 84 or UL 723, 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 VCC and the nonconforming materials can be substantiated as being historic in character.

906.10 One-hour-fire-resistant assemblies. Where one-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.

906.11 Stairways and guards. Existing stairways shall comply with the requirements of these provisions. The code official shall grant alternatives for stairways and guards if alternative stairways are found to be acceptable or are judged to meet the intent of these provisions. Existing stairways shall comply with Section 904.

Exception: For buildings less than 3,000 square feet (279 m2), existing conditions are permitted to remain at all stairways and guards.

906.12 Exit signs. Where exit signs would damage the historic character of the building or structure, alternative locations shall be permitted. Such signs shall identify the exits and exit paths.

906.13 Exit stair live load. Existing stairways in buildings changed to a Group R-1 or R-2 occupancy shall be permitted where it can be shown that the stairway can support a 75-pounds-per-square-foot (366 kg/m2) live load.

906.14 Natural light. When the natural light requirements of Section 709.1 will lead to loss of historic character or historic materials in the building, the existing level of natural lighting shall be considered acceptable.

Q. Change Section 907 to Structural.

R. Change Section 907.1 of the IEBC to read:

907.1 General. Historic buildings shall comply with the applicable structural provisions for the work as classified in Section 103.10.

Exception: The code official shall be authorized to accept existing floors and approve operational controls that limit the live load on any such floor.

S. Delete Sections 907.2 through 907.4, including subsections, of the IEBC.

T. Delete Section 908 of the IEBC in its entirety.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 03, eff. November 1, 2018.

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