Talkin’ Code with Andrew Getty

To understand the code, you must understand the terminology


The following are definitions Taken word-for-word out of the Residential Code of New York.

So the next time you are in any Code Enforcement office in the State of New York, and these terms or phrases are used, this is exactly what they mean.

There is no difference from one town to another. Please keep in mind that these are from the Residential Code, not the Building Code which regulates buildings other than one and two family dwellings.

They may be close, but not necessarily the same.ACCESSIBLE. Signifies access that requires the removal of an access panel or similar removable obstruction.

ACCESSIBLE, READILY. Signifies access without the necessity for removing a panel or similar obstruction.

ADDITION. An extension or increase in floor area, number of stories or height of a building or structure.

For the purpose of compliance with Chapter 11, the term “addition” shall also include an increase in conditioned space or the extension of a building system or subsystem.

ALTERATION. Any construction  or renovation to an existing structure other than repair or addition. Alterations are classified as Level 1 and Level 2. For the purpose of compliance with Chapter 11, the term “alteration” shall also include a change to a mechanical system that involves an extension, addition or change to the arrangement, type or purpose of the original installation.

APPROVED AGENCY. An established and recognized agency regularly engaged in conducting tests or furnishing inspection services, when such agency has been approved by the building official.

DEAD LOADS. The weight of all materials of construction incorporated into the building, including but not limited to walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, stairways, built-in partitions, finishes, cladding, and other similarly incorporated architectural and structural items, and fixed service equipment.

EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENING. An operable exterior window, door or similar device that provides for a means of escape and access for rescue in the event of an emergency.

HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating, cooking or used as a home occupation.

Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.

HEIGHT, BUILDING. The vertical distance from grade plane to the average height of the highest roof surface.

GRADE PLANE. A reference plane representing the average of the finished ground level adjoining the building at all exterior walls.

Where the finished ground level slopes away from the exterior walls, the reference plane shall be established by the lowest points within the area between the building and the lot line or, where the lot line is more than 6 feet (1829 mm) from the building between the structure and a point 6 feet (1829 mm) from the building.

JURISDICTION. The governmental unit that has adopted this code under due legislative authority.

LIVE LOADS. Those loads produced by the use and occupancy of the building or other structure and do not include construction or environmental loads such as wind load, snow load, rain load, earthquake load, flood load or dead load.

SHALL. The term, when used in the code, is construed as mandatory.

SLEEPING AREA. A room or space that can be used, either on an occasional or permanent basis, for sleeping.

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