Significant changes to the 2021 International Building Code
The 2021 Significant Changes guides are available for the International Building, Residential, Fire, Energy Conservation, Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes. This valuable series can help any code user save time by zeroing in on the most critical changes in the 2021 International Codes. The Code Council’s technical experts provide summaries, analysis and graphics for these changes making them clear and easy to understand.
2021 International Existing Building Code
A modification to Sections 603.1, 704 and 801.3 (Furniture and Equipment) states that furniture, such as office cubicles, reception desks and small bookcases, is exempt from a permit and not intended to be a Level 2 alteration.
It has been clarified that the work area has limited applicability and does not include building systems, windows and alterations for the purpose of increasing accessibility. Questions arise in large office spaces with cubicles about whether addition or rearrangement of the cubicles qualifies as a reconfiguration of space, creating a work area. Clarification has occurred by recognizing that cubicle walls are considered furniture when they are no more than 5 feet 9 inches in height, and where they do not create a work area. Additionally, a project can be a Level 2 alteration without an assigned work area. Level 2 alterations, as defined in IEBC Chapter 6, include the addition or extension of any system.
Classification of the work as Level 2 is not deemed appropriate where there is only the movement of furniture, including cubicle walls. Section 603.1 now clarifies that the movement of casework is not considered reconfiguration of a space, and so moving furniture will not be considered a Level 2 alteration. Changes to Section 704.2 focus on the movement of casework that affects any means of egress and may require analysis but does not contribute to the work area size.
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