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Introducing the New North Carolina Rehabilitation Code

The North Carolina Rehabilitation Code is the first building code in the state written expressly for existing buildings. It moves away from the historic and nearly universal reliance on new building codes as the appropriate measuring stick for safety in existing buildings. Building codes are typically oriented toward new construction. Applying code requirements for new buildings to old buildings can be a major drawback for builders and developers. Developers and building owners can now predict with certainty the time and resources required to rehabilitate outdated or damaged buildings.


The Rehabilitation Code addresses six categories of work:

1. repair: patching and minor replacement

2. renovation: refinish and replacement, but no space reconfiguring

3. alteration: reconfiguring space less than 50% of the area

4. reconstruction: reconfiguring space effecting exits or exit access

5. change of occupancy: change in use requiring change in application of the code

6. addition: increase in building area

In general, the code is:

  • friendlier to small rehab projects, encouraging rather than discouraging the upgrading of buildings
  • supports affordable housing efforts
  • more flexible for historic building projects


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