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  • PREFACE

    Introduction

    Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date property maintenance code governing the maintenance of existing buildings. The International Property Maintenance Code®, in this 2015 edition, is designed to meet this need through model code regulations that contain clear and specific property maintenance requirements with required property improvement provisions.

     This 2015 edition is fully compatible with all of the International Codes® (I-Codes®) published by the International Code Council (ICC)®, including the International Building Code®, International Energy Conservation Code®, International Existing Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Fuel Gas Code®, International Green Construction Code®, International Mechanical Code®, ICC Performance Code®, International Plumbing Code®, International Private Sewage Disposal Code®, International Residential Code®, International Swimming Pool and Spa Code®, International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® and International Zoning Code®.

     The International Property Maintenance Code requirements provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for code officials and other interested parties to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.

    Development

    The first edition of the International Property Maintenance Code (1998) was the culmination of an effort initiated in 1996 by a code development committee appointed by ICC and consisting of representatives of the three statutory members of the International Code Council at that time, including: Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI). The committee drafted a comprehensive set of regulations for existing buildings that was consistent with the existing model property maintenance codes at the time. This 2015 edition presents the code as originally issued, with changes reflected through the previous 2012 edition and further changes developed through the ICC Code Development Process through 2013. A new edition of the code is promulgated every 3 years.

     This code is founded on principles intended to establish provisions consistent with the scope of a property maintenance code that adequately protects 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.

    Adoption

    The International Code Council maintains a copyright in all of its codes and standards. Maintaining copyright allows ICC to fund its mission through sales of books, in both print and electronic formats. The International Property Maintenance Code is designed for adoption and use by jurisdictions that recognize and acknowledge the ICC’s copyright in the code, and further acknowledge the substantial shared value of the public/private partnership for code development between jurisdictions and the ICC.

     The ICC also recognizes the need for jurisdictions to make laws available to the public. All ICC codes and ICC standards, along with the laws of many jurisdictions, are available for free in a nondownloadable form on the ICC’s website. Jurisdictions should contact the ICC at adoptions@iccsafe.org to learn how to adopt and distribute laws based on the International Property Maintenance Code in a manner that provides necessary access, while maintaining the ICC’s copyright.

    Maintenance

    The International Property Maintenance Code is kept up to date through the review of proposed changes submitted by code enforcing officials, industry representatives, design professionals and other interested parties. Proposed changes are carefully considered through an open code development process in which all interested and affected parties may participate.

     The contents of this work are subject to change through both the code development cycles and the governmental body that enacts the code into law. For more information regarding the code development process, contact the Codes and Standards Development Department of the International Code Council.

     While the development procedure of the International Property Maintenance Code ensures the highest degree of care, the ICC, its members and those participating in the development of this code do not accept any liability resulting from compliance or noncompliance with the provisions because the ICC does not have the power or authority to police or enforce compliance with the contents of this code. Only the governmental body that enacts the code into law has such authority.

    Code Development Committee Responsibilities
    (Letter Designations in Front of Section Numbers

    In each code development cycle, proposed changes to this code are considered at the Committee Action Hearings by the International Property Maintenance/Zoning Code Development Committee, whose action constitutes a recommendation to the voting membership for final action on the proposed changes. Proposed changes to a code section having a number beginning with a letter in brackets are considered by a different code development committee. For example, proposed changes to code sections that have the letter [F] in front of them (e.g., [F] 704.1) are considered by the International Fire Code Development Committee at the Committee Action Hearings.

     The content of sections in this code that begin with a letter designation is maintained by another code development committee in accordance with the following:

    [A]=Administrative Code Development Committee;
    [F]=International Fire Code Development Committee;
    [P] =International Plumbing Code Development Committee;
    [BE] =IBC – Means of Egress Code Development Committee; and
    [BG]=IBC – General Code Development Committee.

     For the development of the 2018 edition of the I-Codes, there will be three groups of code development committees and they will meet in separate years. Note that these are tentative groupings.

    Group A Codes (Heard in 2015, Code Change Proposals Deadline: January 12, 2015)Group B Codes (Heard in 2016, Code Change Proposals Deadline: January 11, 2016)Group C Codes (Heard in 2017, Code Change Proposals Deadline: January 11, 2017)
    International Building Code – Fire Safety (Chapters 7, 8, 9, 14, 26) – Means of Egress  (Chapters 10, 11, Appendix E) – General (Chapters 2-6, 12, 27-33,   Appendices A, B, C, D, K)Administrative Provisions (Chapter 1 of all codes except IRC and IECC, administrative updates to currently referenced standards, and designated definitions)International Green Construction Code
    International Fuel Gas CodeInternational Building Code –Structural  (Chapters 15-25, Appendices F, G,    H, I, J, L, M)
    International Existing Building CodeInternational Energy Conservation Code
    International Mechanical CodeInternational Fire Code
    International Plumbing CodeInternational Residential Code – IRC-B (Chapters 110, Appendices E,   F, H, J, K, L, M, O, R, S,T, U)
    International Private Sewage  Disposal CodeInternational Wildland‒Urban Interface  Code
    International Property Maintenance  Code
    International Residential Code – IRC‒Mechanical (Chapters 1224) – IRC‒Plumbing  (Chapters 2533, Appendices G, I, N, P)
    International Swimming Pool and Spa  Code
    International Zoning Code

    Note: Proposed changes to the ICC Performance Code will be heard by the Code Development Committee noted in brackets [ ] in the text of the code.

     Code change proposals submitted for code sections that have a letter designation in front of them will be heard by the respective committee responsible for such code sections. Because different committees hold code development hearings in different years, it is possible that some proposals for this code will be heard by committees in both the 2015 (Group A) and the 2016 (Group B) code development cycles.

     For instance, every section of Chapter 1 of this code is designated as the responsibility of the Administrative Code Development Committee, and that committee is part of the Group B portion of the hearings. This committee will hold its code development hearings in 2016 to consider all code change proposals for Chapter 1 of this code and proposals for Chapter 1 of all I-Codes except the International Energy Conservation Code, International Residential Code and ICC Performance Code. Therefore, any proposals received for Chapter 1 of this code will be assigned to the Administrative Code Development Committee for consideration in 2016.

     It is very important that anyone submitting code change proposals understand which code development committee is responsible for the section of the code that is the subject of the code change proposal. For further information on the code development committee responsibilities, please visit the ICC website at www.iccsafe.org/scoping.

    Marginal Markings

    Solid vertical lines in the margins within the body of the code indicate a technical change from the requirements of the 2012 edition. Deletion indicators in the form of an arrow () are provided in the margin where an entire section, paragraph, exception or table has been deleted or an item in a list of items or a table has been deleted.

     A single asterisk [*] placed in the margin indicates that text or a table has been relocated within the code. A double asterisk [**] placed in the margin indicates that the text or table immediately following it has been relocated there from elsewhere in the code. The following table indicates such relocations in the 2015 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code.

    2012 LOCATION2015 LOCATION
    NoneNone

    Italicized Terms

    Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions that the user should read carefully to facilitate better understanding of the code.

    EFFECTIVE USE OF THE INTERNATIONAL
    PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE

    The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) is a model code that regulates the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings.

     The IPMC is a maintenance document intended to establish minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety. Responsibility is fixed among owners, operators and occupants for code compliance. The IPMC provides for the regulation and safe use of existing structures in the interest of the social and economic welfare of the community.

    Arrangement and Format of the 2015 IPMC

    Before applying the requirements of the IPMC it is beneficial to understand its arrangement and format. The IPMC, like other codes published by ICC, is arranged and organized to follow sequential steps that generally occur during an inspection. The IPMC is divided into eight different parts:

    ChaptersSubjects
    1Administration
    2Definitions
    3General Requirements
    4Light, Ventilation and Occupancy Limitations
    5Plumbing Facilities and Fixture Requirements
    6Mechanical and Electrical Requirements
    7Fire Safety Requirements
    8Referenced Standards

    The following is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the scope and intent of the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code:

    Chapter 1 Scope and Administration. This chapter contains provisions for the application, enforcement and administration of subsequent requirements of the code. In addition to establishing the scope of the code, Chapter 1 identifies which buildings and structures come under its purview. Chapter 1 is largely concerned with maintaining “due process of law” in enforcing the property maintenance criteria contained in the body of the code. Only through careful observation of the administrative provisions can the building official reasonably expect to demonstrate that “equal protection under the law” has been provided.

    Chapter 2 Definitions. All terms that are defined in the code are listed alphabetically in Chapter 2. While a defined term may be used in one chapter or another, the meaning provided in Chapter 2 is applicable throughout the code.

     Where understanding of a term’s definition is especially key to or necessary for understanding of a particular code provision, the term is shown in italics wherever it appears in the code. This is true only for those terms that have a meaning that is unique to the code. In other words, the generally understood meaning of a term or phrase might not be sufficient or consistent with the meaning prescribed by the code; therefore, it is essential that the code-defined meaning be known.

     Guidance is provided regarding tense, gender and plurality of defined terms as well as terms not defined in this code.

    Chapter 3 General Requirements. Chapter 3, “General Requirements,” is broad in scope. It includes a variety of requirements for the exterior property areas as well as the interior and exterior elements of the structure. This chapter provides requirements that are intended to maintain a minimum level of safety and sanitation for both the general public and the occupants of a structure, and to maintain a building’s structural and weather-resistance performance. Chapter 3 provides specific criteria for regulating the installation and maintenance of specific building components; maintenance requirements for vacant structures and land; requirements regulating the safety, sanitation and appearance of the interior and exterior of structures and all exterior property areas; accessory structures; vehicle storage regulations and establishes who is responsible for complying with the chapter’s provisions. This chapter also contains the requirements for swimming pools, spas and hot tubs and the requirements for protective barriers and gates in these barriers. Chapter 3 establishes the responsible parties for exterminating insects and rodents, and maintaining sanitary conditions in all types of occupancies.

    Chapter 4 Light, Ventilation and Occupancy Limitations. The purpose of Chapter 4 is to set forth these requirements in the code and to establish the minimum environment for occupiable and habitable buildings, by establishing the minimum criteria for light and ventilation and identifies occupancy limitations including minimum room width and area, minimum ceiling height and restrictions to prevent overcrowding. This chapter also provides for alternative arrangements of windows and other devices to comply with the requirements for light and ventilation and prohibits certain room arrangements and occupancy uses.

    Chapter 5 Plumbing Facilities and Fixture Requirements. Chapter 5 establishes the minimum criteria for the installation, maintenance and location of plumbing systems and facilities, including the water supply system, water heating appliances, sewage disposal system and related plumbing fixtures.

     Sanitary and clean conditions in occupied buildings are dependent upon certain basic plumbing principles, including providing potable water to a building, providing the basic fixtures to effectively utilize that water and properly removing waste from the building. Chapter 5 establishes the minimum criteria to verify that these principles are maintained throughout the life of a building.

    Chapter 6 Mechanical and Electrical Requirements. The purpose of Chapter 6 is to establish minimum performance requirements for heating, electrical and mechanical facilities and to establish minimum standards for the safety of these facilities.

     This chapter establishes minimum criteria for the installation and maintenance of the following: heating and air-conditioning equipment, appliances and their supporting systems; water heating equipment, appliances and systems; cooking equipment and appliances; ventilation and exhaust equipment; gas and liquid fuel distribution piping and components; fireplaces and solid fuel-burning appliances; chimneys and vents; electrical services; lighting fixtures; electrical receptacle outlets; electrical distribution system equipment, devices and wiring; and elevators, escalators and dumb-waiters.

    Chapter 7 Fire Safety Requirements. The purpose of Chapter 7 is to address those fire hazards that arise as the result of a building’s occupancy. It also provides minimum requirements for fire safety issues that are most likely to arise in older buildings.

     This chapter contains requirements for means of egress in existing buildings, including path of travel, required egress width, means of egress doors and emergency escape openings.

     Chapter 7 establishes the minimum requirements for fire safety facilities and fire protection systems, as these are essential fire safety systems.

    Chapter 8 Referenced Standards. The code contains numerous references to standards that are used to regulate materials and methods of construction. Chapter 8 contains a comprehensive list of all standards that are referenced in the code. The standards are part of the code to the extent of the reference to the standard. Compliance with the referenced standard is necessary for compliance with this code. By providing specifically adopted standards, the construction and installation requirements necessary for compliance with the code can be readily determined. The basis for code compliance is, therefore, established and available on an equal basis to the code official, contractor, designer and owner.

     Chapter 8 is organized in a manner that makes it easy to locate specific standards. It lists all of the referenced standards, alphabetically, by acronym of the promulgating agency of the standard. Each agency’s standards are then listed in either alphabetical or numeric order based upon the standard identification. The list also contains the title of the standard; the edition (date) of the standard referenced; any addenda included as part of the ICC adoption; and the section or sections of this code that reference the standard.

    LEGISLATION

    Jurisdictions wishing to adopt the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code as an enforceable regulation governing existing structures and premises should ensure that certain factual information is included in the adopting legislation at the time adoption is being considered by the appropriate governmental body. The following sample adoption legislation addresses several key elements, including the information required for insertion into the code text.

    SAMPLE LEGISLATION FOR ADOPTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE ORDINANCE NO.________

    A[N] [ORDINANCE/STATUTE/REGULATION] of the [JURISDICTION] adopting the 2015 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code, regulating and governing the conditions and maintenance of all property, buildings and structures; by providing the standards for supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary and fit for occupation and use; and the condemnation of buildings and structures unfit for human occupancy and use, and the demolition of such existing structures in the [JURISDICTION]; providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees therefor; repealing [ORDINANCE/STATUTE/REGULATION] No. ______ of the [JURISDICTION] and all other ordinances or parts of laws in conflict therewith.

    The [GOVERNING BODY] of the [JURISDICTION] does ordain as follows:

    Section 1. That a certain document, three (3) copies of which are on file in the office of the [TITLE OF JURISDICTION’S KEEPER OF RECORDS] of [NAME OF JURISDICTION], being marked and designated as the International Property Maintenance Code, 2015 edition, as published by the International Code Council, be and is hereby adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the [JURISDICTION], in the State of [STATE NAME] for regulating and governing the conditions and maintenance of all property, buildings and structures; by providing the standards for supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary and fit for occupation and use; and the condemnation of buildings and structures unfit for human occupancy and use, and the demolition of such existing structures as herein provided; providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees therefor; and each and all of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of said Property Maintenance Code on file in the office of the [JURISDICTION] are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof, as if fully set out in this legislation, with the additions, insertions, deletions and changes, if any, prescribed in Section 2 of this ordinance.

    Section 2. The following sections are hereby revised:

    Section 101.1. Insert: [NAME OF JURISDICTION]

    Section 103.5. Insert: [APPROPRIATE SCHEDULE]

    Section 112.4. Insert: [DOLLAR AMOUNT IN TWO LOCATIONS]

    Section 302.4. Insert: [HEIGHT IN INCHES]

    Section 304.14. Insert: [DATES IN TWO LOCATIONS]

    Section 602.3. Insert: [DATES IN TWO LOCATIONS]

    Section 602.4. Insert: [DATES IN TWO LOCATIONS]

    Section 3. That [ORDINANCE/STATUTE/REGULATION] No. ______ of [JURISDICTION] entitled [FILL IN HERE THE COMPLETE TITLE OF THE LEGISLATION OR LAWS IN EFFECT AT THE PRESENT TIME SO THAT THEY WILL BE REPEALED BY DEFINITE MENTION] and all other ordinances or parts of laws in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

    Section 4. That if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this legislation is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance. The [GOVERNING BODY] hereby declares that it would have passed this law, and each section, subsection, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses and phrases be declared unconstitutional.

    Section 5. That nothing in this legislation or in the Property Maintenance Code hereby adopted shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding impending in any court, or any rights acquired, or liability incurred, or any cause or causes of action acquired or existing, under any act or ordinance hereby repealed as cited in Section 3 of this law; nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this legislation.

    Section 6. That the [JURISDICTION’S KEEPER OF RECORDS] is hereby ordered and directed to cause this legislation to be published. (An additional provision may be required to direct the number of times the legislation is to be published and to specify that it is to be in a newspaper in general circulation. Posting may also be required.)

    Section 7. That this law and the rules, regulations, provisions, requirements, orders and matters established and adopted hereby shall take effect and be in full force and effect [TIME PERIOD] from and after the date of its final passage and adoption.

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