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Collapsing building © Daniel FriedmanBuilding Codes re Dangerous Conditions

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Building Code Authority for Addressing Dangerous or Unsafe Conditions

Photo of earthquake damaged buildings in Northridge Meadows Los AngelesThe following definitions & positions on "dangerous" & "unsafe" building conditions are excerpted from

By its definition of "existing buildings" this model building code incorporates standards and advice for structures built before current building codes.

EXISTING BUILDING. A building erected prior to the date of adoption of the appropriate code, or one for which a legal building permit has been issued.

Definitions of DANGEROUS and Definition of UNSAFE in the 2009 IEBC

In the IEBC code the initial definition of "dangerous" limited in that it directs attention to risks of structural collapse but not other unsafe conditions. However the IEBC copes with this worry in its subsequent definition of "unsafe" and in a subsequent section on "dangerous conditions" in sections 301.2 and 304.1.1 cited below.

The IEBC UNSAFE definition is widely useful in authorizing building code officials to act when building conditions are unsafe for occupants or for the general public in any jurisdiction where the IEBC is an accepted building code authority and standard.

SECTION 104 DUTIES AND POWERS OF CODE OFFICIAL

104.6 Right of entry.

Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or where the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition which is contrary to or in violation of this code which makes the structure or premises unsafe, dangerous, or hazardous, the code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. ...

SECTION 114 STOP WORK ORDER

114.1 Authority.

Whenever the code official finds any work regulated by this code being performed in a manner contrary to the provisions of this code or in a dangerous or unsafe manner, the code official is authorized to issue a stop work order. 

SECTION 116 EMERGENCY MEASURES

116.1 Imminent danger.

When, in the opinion of the code official, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building that endangers life, or when any building or part of a building has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the building, or when there is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors, or the presence of toxic fumes, gases, or materials, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the code official is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith.

The code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice reading as follows:

“This Structure Is Unsafe and Its Occupancy Has Been Prohibited by the Code Official.”

It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition, or of demolishing the same. 

SECTION 202 GENERAL DEFINITIONS

DANGEROUS.

Any building, structure or portion thereof that meets any of the conditions described below shall be deemed dangerous:

1. The building or structure has collapsed, partially collapsed, moved off its foundation or lacks the support of ground necessary to support it.

2. There exists a significant risk of collapse, detachment or dislodgment of any portion, member, appurtenance or ornamentation of the building or structure under service loads. 

UNSAFE.

Buildings, structures or equipment that are unsanitary, or that are deficient due to inadequate means of egress facilities, inadequate light and ventilation, or that constitute a fire hazard, or in which the structure or individual structural members meet the definition of “Dangerous,” or that are otherwise dangerous to human life or the public welfare, or that involve illegal or improper occupancy or inadequate maintenance shall be deemed unsafe. A vacant structure that is not secured against entry shall be deemed unsafe.

[B] SECTION 301 GENERAL

301.2 Building materials.

Building materials shall comply with the requirements of this section.

301.2.1 Existing materials.

Materials already in use in a building in conformance with requirements or approvals in effect at the time of their erection or installation shall be permitted to remain in use unless determined by the code official to be dangerous to life, health or safety. Where such conditions are determined to be dangerous to life, health or safety, they shall be mitigated or made safe.

301.2.2 New and replacement materials.

Except as otherwise required or permitted by this code, materials permitted by the applicable code for new construction shall be used. Like materials shall be permitted for repairs and alterations, provided no hazard to life, health or property is created.

Hazardous materials shall not be used where the code for new construction would not permit their use in buildings of similar occupancy, purpose and location. 

[B] SECTION 304 REPAIRS

304.1.1 Dangerous conditions. Regardless of the extent of structural or nonstructural damage, the code official shall have the authority to require the elimination of conditions deemed dangerous.

Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards

SUBTITLE B - REGULATIONS RELATING to HOUSING and URBAN DEVELOPMENT (Continued) [PDF] at Part 3280, in Vol.5, [That is on page 107 of the PDF - Ed.] - original source www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2001-title24-vol5/pdf/CFR-2001-title24-vol5-subtitleB.pdf. There (on start on p. 107 or use your PDF reader to search for "3280") you will find Subtitle B Part 3280 Manufactured home construction and safety standards (p. 107)

Watch out: this red label is used in InspectApedia articles to focus specific attention on items or conditions that are particularly dangerous. Other non-tagged topics may also involve risks or danger.

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Continue reading at BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE - home, or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see BUILDING CODES for STAIRS

Or see BUILDING CODE DOWNLOADS free public access to model building codes & specific community, state, or provincial codes

Or see CODES for STAIRS & RAILINGS

Or see ELDERLY & VETERANS HOME SAFETY

Or see SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS

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BUILDING CODES re DANGEROUS CONDITIONS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to BUILDING SAFETY

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