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Construction to Existing Commercial Structures Post Flooding

This page clarifies building code requirements that apply to commercial structures damaged by the flood. Specifically it addresses whether construction repairs are subject to the California Building Code (CBC) Chapter 11B requirements for commercial building accessibility for people with disabilities


Is construction work in commercial structures to replace flood damaged materials, such as flooring, sheetrock, electrical wiring, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures and other non-structural elements, subject to the CBC Chapter 11B?


Upon consideration of the CBC and explained below, construction work to replace flood damage materials with commercial structures is not subject to Chapter 11B.

The typical construction work conducted after a flood or similar event is non-structural and meets the definition of repair because the work is to correct damage caused by the flood event.  Provided no structural work is performed, the construction work meets the definition of repair work.

Repair work is not required to comply with Chapter 11B.  Section 11B-201.1 Scope includes newly designed and newly constructed building as well as altered portions of existing buildings.  Repair work is not newly designed and not newly constructed.  Repair work does not meet the definition of “alteration.”  Therefore, repair work is not within the scope of Chapter 11B.

Repair work includes, but is not limited to, removal and installation of carpet, flooring, sheetrock, electrical wiring, electrical conduit, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures and/or cabinets.

Structural work includes, but is not limited to, removal and installation of piers, posts, foundations, girders, joists, sub-floor, bottom plates, jack studs, studs, headers, top plates, load bearing walls, ceiling members and/or roof members.

All work shall meet other provisions and chapters of the building codes such as the plumbing code, electrical code, etc.

Code References

[A] ALTERATION.Any construction or renovation to an existing structure other than repair or addition. [DSA-AC] A change, addition or modification in construction, change in occupancy or use, or structural repair to an existing building or facility. Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, resurfacing of circulation paths or vehicular ways, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting, or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.

[A] REPAIR. The reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance or to correct damage.

11B-201.1Scope. All areas of newly designed and newly constructed buildings and facilities and altered portions of existing buildings and facilities shall comply with these requirements.

11B·202 Existing buildings and facilities

11B-202.1 General. Additions and alterations to existing buildings or facilities shall comply with Section 11B-202.

11B-202.2 Additions. Each addition to an existing building or facility shall comply with the requirements for new construction and shall comply with Section 11B-202.4.

11B·202.3 Alterations. Where existing elements or spaces are altered, each altered element or space shall comply with the applicable requirements of Division 2, including Section 11 B-202.4.

11B-202.4 Path of travel requirements in alterations, additions and structural repairs. When alterations or additions are made to existing buildings or facilities, an accessible path of travel to the specific area of alteration or addition shall be provided.