On December 31, 2014 the 2014 New York City Building Codes became effective and the rules governing the way one applies the Building Code to an existing building have changed.
The 2014 NYCBC (28-101.4.3) still allows the optional use of “Prior codes”
This generally refers to the 1938 and 1968 NYC Building Codes.
To understand how you apply prior codes to existing buildings built before 2008 you start by referring to the 1968 Building Code Article 4: Alteration of Existing Buildings. The following apply to buildings built before the 1968 Code became effective:
27-117 Alterations under 30 percent of the building value: If the cost of the alteration in any twelve month period is below 30% of the building value, one could use the 1968 Code or if the building was built prior to 1968, any prior code in effect at the time the building was constructed.
27-116 Alterations between 30% and 60% of building value: If the cost of the alteration in any twelve-month period is between 30% and 60% of the building value, only those portions of the building altered need to comply with the 1968 Building Code
27-115 Alterations exceeding 60% of building value: If the cost of the alteration in any twelve months exceed 60% of the building value, the entire building shall be made to comply with the 1968 Building Code.
27-118 Alterations involving change of occupancy of use. If an alteration of a building or space results in a change of occupancy group, the entire building must comply with the 1968 Code. Except when the cost of the alterations involved in the change of occupancy of a building erected prior to the effective date of the 1968 Building Code, the change of use may be made in accordance with the cost value approach listed above.
27-120 Alterations to multiple dwellings and conversions to multiple dwellings: At the option of the owner, regardless of cost of the alterations, Codes in effect prior to the 1968 Code may be used.
There is one more factor to be considered. Handicap compliance was subject to the 2014 New York City Building Code no matter which Prior Codes one uses:
BC 1101.3.2 Requirements based on value of alterations: If the value of the alterations exceed 50% of the value of the building, the entire building must comply with Chapter 11 of the 2014 Code. If the value of the alteration is below 50% of the value of the building, then only the portion altered must comply.
The important part is that there are 19 exceptions where one MUST use the 2014 Codes even if you can use Prior Codes. They are as follows:
- Fuel gas, plumbing and mechanical work.
- Fire protection systems.
- Elevators, conveyors and amusement rides.
- Safety during construction operations.
- Encroachments into the public right of way.
- Administration and enforcement.
- Special Inspections.
- Security grilles.
- Energy efficiency.
- Roof coverings and replacements:
- Cool roofs
- Green roofs
- Areas of special flood hazard.
- Emergency and standby power.
- Parking garages and open parking lots. (LL130/2013)
- Mold protection. (LL 13/2014)