2020 New York State Existing Building Code
The 2020 Existing Building Code of New York State® (EBCNYS®) is founded on principles intended to encourage the use and reuse of existing buildings that adequately protect public health, safety and welfare; provisions that do not unnecessarily increase construction costs; provisions that do not restrict the use of new materials, products or methods of construction; and provisions that do not give preferential treatment to particular types or classes of materials, products or methods of construction.
The EBCNYS is intended to provide requirements for the repair and alternative approaches for alterations and additions to existing buildings. A large number of existing buildings and structures do not comply with the current building code requirements for new construction. Although many of these buildings are potentially salvageable, rehabilitation is often cost prohibitive because compliance with all the requirements for new construction could require extensive changes that go well beyond the value of the building or the original scope of the alteration.
At the same time, it is necessary to regulate construction in existing buildings that undergo additions, alterations, extensive repairs, or change of occupancy. Such activity represents an opportunity to ensure that new construction complies with the current building codes, and that existing conditions are maintained, at a minimum, to their current level of compliance or are improved as required to meet basic safety levels.
To accomplish this objective, and to make the alteration process easier, this code allows for options for controlled departure from full compliance with the Uniform Code dealing with new construction, while maintaining basic levels for fire prevention, structural, and life safety features of the rehabilitated building. This code provides three main options for a designer in dealing with alterations of existing buildings. These are laid out in Section 301 of this code:
- OPTION 1: Work for alteration, change of occupancy or addition of all existing buildings shall be done in accordance with the Prescriptive Compliance Method given in Chapter 4.
- OPTION 2: Work for alteration, change of occupancy or addition of all existing buildings shall be done in accordance with the Work Area Compliance Method given in Chapters 6 through 12.
- OPTION 3: Work for alteration, change of occupancy or addition of all existing buildings shall be done in accordance with the Performance Compliance Method given in Chapter 13. Under limited circumstances, a building alteration can be made to comply with the laws under which the building was originally built, as long as there has been no substantial structural damage and there will be limited structural alteration.