General Information About the Code

Scope and Work Area

Fire Requirements

Accessibility Requirements

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FAQs - Scope and Work Area

Q: If the work area consists only of the building toilet facilities, could that work be considered reconstruction?

Reconstruction, by definition, has to be primary function space.

Q: If the work area consists of changing an electrical panel, must clearance requirements be met?

If the change is “like for like” then existing clearances are acceptable. If you increase the size of an electrical service panel (upgrade) then clearance requirements are per NEC.

Q: If you have 100,000 sq.ft. of building space, can you separate the work into parts?

Yes. Different scopes of work could take place in the same space/building. A single project may include for example, repairs to stairs, alterations to a path of travel, and renovations to the floor and wall finishes. However, phasing of a project cannot be used to intentionally bypass any percentage of requirements.

Q: What about certificate of occupancy requirements?

Emphasis should be on whether or not space can be occupied, whether there are structural changes, are there safety issues, and minimum facilities. It is not an issue of vacating for convenience. Example: Gut renovation is reconstruction. Two things will impact reconstruction/renovation: 1) is the work area primary function space, and 2) when the work area is entire use or entire tenant space.

Q: What is meant by the term “workmanlike manner”?

It was determined that this was legitimate language given the nature of the Rehab Code. Because the Code reduces some requirements this does not mean that you do not need to install correctly.

Q: What happens if a building or space changes use illegally?

You would go back to the last legal usage and verify compliances with the fire prevention code for the new occupancy regarding life safety issues.

Q: If a long, narrow room has an office bank added to the side of the room, how has the egress been impacted?

Corridors have dimensional requirements and fire resistance requirements, which you kick in when you add the corridor. Point: if you find that an element didn’t meet code you should address it if it’s a life safety issue.

Q: Is a basement a ‘use’ in and of itself?

Yes, storage.

Q: If you put smoke detection in a basement, is that considered a work area?

Yes. The addition or extension of smoke detection systems would be considered an alteration.

Q: In the scope of alterations, what about residential window repair or renovation that does not comply with exit requirements and sizes?

The creation of a sleeping room in any group R or I-1 occupancy would require compliance with section 1.9, item #16. In an existing sleeping room alteration you would:

  • Keep the basic requirements in place, and
  • Not change the space in violation of basic requirements.

Q: How does the NCRC apply the energy code?

The NCRC does not reference the energy code. However, any new building elements/additions would have to be energy compliant since that scope of work follows the current NCSBC.

Q: How does “tenancy” work?

Tenancy means a room or space, which houses a major activity for which the building or space is intended. An example might be an office suite used as travel agency. The main function of the space is the agency, but the bathrooms, manager’s office, and break room are not primary function space.

Q: What if you have a five-story building and the top two floors of a building have never been occupied?

The NCRC would apply to floors 1-3, and since the NCRC does
not apply for any building or space that has never been occupied (Section 1.2 B 1) you would apply the NCSBC on floors four and five. See also limitations on new buildings undergoing a change of use that have been occupied for their intended use for less than one year in Section 1.31 A 1 i.

Q: What about buildings with floors abandoned for ten or so years?

You would revert to last legitimate building use that must be compliant with the codes in force at that time. Then you would apply the NCRC from that point.

Q: Why is changing interior walls a renovation and not repair?

The NCRC matrix triggers materials and methods per Sec.1.8 which you want applied to wall installation.

Q: Is tenant upfit in a vacant space which would have caused/not caused extensive scope of work not an issue?

Yes, consider as if the space had been occupied.

Q: How does primary function work on a fire station?
Q: Can you have a building that has multiple primary functions?

Once again you would refer to Sec. 1.3 for a definition of primary function space. One example of a building with multiple primary functions would be a city hall building.

Q: Is it reasonable to assume it was an “M” three months ago, so it’s probably compliant today?


Q: What if I have a transom and a side light door?

If your scope of work is a change of use or reconstruction then you will comply with basic requirements of 1.25 L for R1 regarding transoms, and 1.26 K for R2. If your project has historic designation then you will have no requirements for the transom or sidelight.

Q: Not all codes have historic designations in place at the start of a project. What do we do in that case?

The project must gain historic status by project completion. Reference Sec. 1.33 a 1.

Q: When you put in electrical outlets, what determines the scope?

See materials and methods. If you are going to do it, do it right.

Q: What if the addition is a sunroom? How do you apply the energy code?

The intent is not to use the NCRC to toughen compliance. Common sense should prevail. Once again, the NCRC does not reference the energy code.

Q: What if work is phased to avoid compliance?

According to Section 1.7a (2) if work performed or to be performed in phases is so extensive that the project would require a new certificate of occupancy if the work were performed at one time, the construction official may designate the project a reconstruction project and require that the requirements of section 1.7 be met.


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