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Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC
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Re: Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC By  jdrobysh

Posts: 0

5/26/2009 9:14:00 AM

jws - Welcome to the board.

Short answer: NO.

The provision applies to ''existing'' ceiling heights of 7'', not to allow a reduction in ceiling height for an alteration.

''Existing'' means lawfully existing at the time of adoption of the new code. So the 1860''s farm house that has 7'' ceilings upstairs could remain and undergo alteration without conflicting with the current code requirements.

Definitions, Title, Scope and Purpose tend to be the most boring parts of the codes, but are also some of the most important.


Re: Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC By  Patricia Huff

Posts: 0

5/26/2009 9:25:00 AM

I agree with what jdrobysh is telling you. There are many buildings that do not meet the code of today. These buildings fall under existing.

We have few 1860''s farm houses in Arizona but we have many buildings that were built in rural areas that were not governed by building codes. As we expand and require building permits in these areas we try to make it easy for these structures to have renovations. We would want these structures to be brought up to code as much as possible and if doing additions we will try to have them meet the current code but if they remodel we will allow the 7'' ceilings since it would not be practical to require them to have ceilings that meet the code of today. We are lucky if they meet any code.


Re: Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC By  jws

Posts: 0

5/26/2009 9:48:00 AM

Thanks for the quick reply. Your answer makes perfect sense. Reading the definition of Existing building", I would say if the building was constructed under any code that required 7''6 ceilings, which goes back to way before I started practicing, the IEBC would not be a license to reduce the requirement. Unfortunately, I think the way the code is written lends itself to misinterpretation. Wording is "The minimum ceiling height of newly created habitable and occupiable spaces and corridors shall be 7 feet" (701.3 exception 4). It doesn''t restrict it to only where the ceiling height is already low. Someone trying to shoehorn ductwork in would want to interpret that to his advantage. Is there anywhere to find unambiguous language that supports your interpretation?


Re: Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC By  jdrobysh

Posts: 0

5/26/2009 10:17:00 AM

jws -

The key is ''newly created'', those two words DO restrict it to where ceiling height is already low... Also remember you are quoting the exception, not the rule.

If I have an existing unfinished, unused basement space that is being altered to provide habitable or occupiable space, but that space only has a ceiling height of 7''1", I can avail myself of the exception. (the extra 1" allows for ceiling and floor finishes BTW ;) )

If I am altering an existing retail space with a 7''6" ceiling height, and want to lower the ceiling height because it will be cheaper to heat, I cannot.

Considering the bredth of coverage provided by the EBC, it''s pretty unambiguous. You may be able to find a commentary section to support that position, but I for one am comfortable with the built-in limitations of careful reading of the text.

Also, NYS has a great State level support system for Code Officials, so we rarely end up out on the proverbial limb alone.

Final note (and this is a pet peeve of mine) Code Officials don''t interpret, we ''opine''. Boards of Review and courts ''interpret''.


Re: Ceiling height - IBC vs IEBC By  jws

Posts: 0

5/26/2009 10:31:00 AM

Thanks. I think you nailed it. "Newly created" habitable space is not existing habitable space to be renovated.


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2015 I-Codes
2015 I-Codes