When done rationally, maintaining and repairing existing buildings represents an efficient use of resources that should be promoted. Also, reusing and repairing existing construction becomes increasingly important as sustainability becomes a higher priority.
Model building codes change over time, with hundreds of changes every few years. Given such revisions, existing buildings would either require frequent modifications or need to be treated differently.
Fortunately, lawful existing building conditions are typically “grandfathered,” which means they can be used without modification.
Various incidents—such as fires, accidents, and storms—cause damage to buildings that often require repairs to maintain conformance with applicable requirements. When damage occurs, the minimum required scope of work must be determined in many cases. Can the building be maintained as it was? What upgrades, if any, must be added to the repairs?
Answers to these and similar questions can be found within the code provisions that govern the repair of existing buildings. The intent of code repair provisions can be better appreciated by studying their evolution.
Shared with permission from STRUCTURE magazine, February 2017.