Many small towns face an incredibly expensive hurdle to saving and using their downtown buildings: code compliance costs.
Most municipalities have adopted one of the standard international building codes. Which are, well, standard. And no matter who does the inspections or enforcement, everyone thinks their compliance person is over-zealous. I can relate.
One smart move you can make to reduce the costs is to adopt one of the many building codes designed specifically for renovation and reuse, rather than mostly new construction.
Here are a few resources I’ve found online. You can use these as examples to consider changes in your own local codes.
- 2018 IEBC – International Existing Building Code
- California’s State Historical Building Safety Board
- New Jersey Rehabilitation Subcode – “Common sense rules for the restoration and re-use of existing buildings in New Jersey”
- Seattle Existing Building Code (SEBC)
- Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has tons of resources on reusing rather than demolishing old buildings. There’s a lot more than just code info here.
- ReUrbanism – National Trust for Historic Preservation
If you want to search for more examples, here are some search terms to get you started:
- “existing building code”
- “adaptive reuse ordinance”
- “building rehabilitation code”
- “historic building reuse”
Try searching on each of them. Let us know any great resources you find in the comments below.
Filling Empty Buildings
Code compliance is only one of the barriers that keeps buildings empty in small towns. Deb Brown and I will talk about more practical ways to get your buildings back in service in our SaveYour.Town webinar, Filling Empty Buildings. The deadline to register is June 19, 2018.
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