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does direction count in lateral upgrade?

does direction count in lateral upgrade?

(OP)
I'm taking a preliminary look at a 100+ year old building that is comprised of four brick bearing wall structures. These side-by-side structures have been combined to one address, with each being roughly 18' wide X 50' long. This is a typical early 20th century commercial building: long parallel bearing walls and an open storefront with cast iron or steel supporting the facade wall.

The owner would like to remove a long portion of one of the bearing walls. This affects the lateral load carrying capacity in this direction (greater than 10%), but has a minimal affect in the perpendicular direction.

In the long direction of the walls, I believe it can be shown that the building meets current code. In the perpendicular direction, there is no alteration, but I don't believe it would meet current code.

My question is this: does the code *require* that the building be reinforced in both directions?

RE: does direction count in lateral upgrade?

You'd have to check with your local building department (authority having jurisdiction). In a lot of places there is usually a provision that says if you invest money into a property that is more than 20% of the value of that property then you have to bring the whole building up to code.

Now "up to code" may focus primarily on exiting, fire protection, finish materials, mech/elec systems, etc. But the structural is many times included. I've worked on projects where you can discuss the structural aspects with the official to see how far you need to go to meet the current codes. With today's codes it is sometimes very difficult for brick bearing wall structures to meet code.

RE: does direction count in lateral upgrade?

(OP)
JAE - thanks for the reply. I've been looking more closely and I think that some upgrade will be necessary. I think it falls under 907.4.2 of the IEBC which states, "where more than 30% of the total floor and roof area of the building or structure have been proposed to be involved in structural alteration...analysis shall demonstrate that the altered building complies with the IBC for wind and with reduced IBC level seismic forces."

RE: does direction count in lateral upgrade?

kipfoot - that is a good point to bring up the IEBC. I forgot about that.

I think beyond the strict dictates of the code, however, cities and their building dept. personnel are usually very interested in the improvement of older buildings as this raises the quality of the city buildings and also increases the tax rolls. So they are always to some extent interested in working with you (the good city gov'ts at least) and discussing the degree to which the structural improvements are needed.

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