MHLS Home Proposed Building Code Change Affects NYS Libraries

From the 8/14/01 MHLS Bulletin

Currently scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2002, NYS has announced that they will replace the current NYS Uniform Fire Prevention Building Code with the International Code Council, Inc. International Building Code. Peter R. Hoffmann, Architect in Marlboro, has attended the introductory training courses on this proposed change and sent an informational packet to MHLS, which has been summarized here. If you would like the full packet, please contact Rebekkah Smith at x39.

There is significant difference between the two codes that will affect libraries. Current NYS Code divides libraries into two specific categories of occupancy:

         Small with capacity for not more than 50 persons (C1 Business occupancy). Allows smaller libraries to be in a wood frame building up to 2 stories

         Libraries with capacity of more than 50 persons (C5 Assembly occupancy). Allowed to be in a wood frame building if only a single story and not exceed 6,000 sq. ft.

The impact of the Code change will be felt most by small libraries currently in 2 story wood frame structures. International Business Code has all libraries treated same as each other (A3 Assembly occupancy), virtually eliminating the potential for 2 story wood frame libraries unless substantial fire protection is added (including complete sprinkler system for the building – not all our libraries are located in communities with municipal water systems, making the installation of sprinkler systems much more complicated and costly).

The new International Building Code does not address grandfathering of existing buildings. This issue is expected to be addressed in amendments, and it is anticipated that small libraries will be grandfathered unless they wish to expand or renovate. Since the International Building Code treats all libraries as assembly occupancy, it is anticipated that when smaller libraries wish to renovate or add on, they would be required to bring the existing building into compliance with the International Building Code.

Peter R. Hoffmann wants member libraries to know he is available to assist them in evaluating the impact of the upcoming Code changes on their facilities. (845) 236-3650 or FAX (845) 236-1090.

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