Borrowing a line from New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s best selling graphic novel about aging seems as applicable to building codes as it is to aging parents. This Jim Warner white paper analyzes the impact of the 2015 International Building Code on assisted living facilities.
What is it?
The International Building Code is a code providing a template for design and construction, ensuring occupant health and safety.
Why is it relevant?
Buildings are defined or classified according their use because building uses vary widely. Similarly, safety requirements vary along with each individual use and are reflected in the application of the code to that specific use. Most uses are fairly straightforward with one very big exception: Assisted Living.
How will this affect you?
For those hoping to reduce construction costs there is some very good news: you can now build Assisted Living, including Memory Care, to a maximum of three floors with Protected Wood Construction, Type V-A. The drawback being under I-1, condition 2, corridor doors require a 20 minute rating and need to have closers, therefore the resident unit doors would not be allowed to be left open in Special Care. Additionally, compartmentalization requirements of an I-1 Use Group may limit some openness in household designed living, dining, kitchen spaces.
Where do we stand and what should we do?
Providers, developers, operators, architects, code officials and AHJ’s alike need to become familiar with the new code as it will become law by the end of this year. The vast majority of Senior Living projects should fall neatly into either R-2 for Independent Living, where Aging-in-Place is not an option, or; I-1, Condition 2 for all Assisted Living including Memory Care or communities where Aging-in-Place is anticipated. But there is much confusion and a need for global clarification…
A founding principal of JSA, James Warner, FAIA has helped lead the company’s evolution into a national firm, and established the Studio structure it maintains today. Directly involved in Healthcare, Hospitality, Housing and Senior Living, he has most recently led the Senior Living Studio to national prominence.