Does Jeffco Have a 50% Area Rule for Remodeled Homes?

Recently and in past years, at EVstudio we’ve heard rumors that Jefferson County, Colorado has a rule stating that if remodel work exceeds 50% of the total square footage then the entire home has to be brought up to code. So to clear the air I spoke with a Jeffco plans reviewer who intimated that no, areas of a home that may not be up to code and outside the work area do not have to be brought up to code.

The 2009 IBC, is the current adopted building code of Jeffco dictating commercial and multi-family buildings. It addresses remodel and alteration work in Chapter 34 Existing Structures. It states under sub-section 3401.4.1 for existing building materials, “Materials already in use in a building in compliance with requirements or approvals in effect at the time of their erection or installation shall be permitted to remain in use unless determined by the building code official to be dangerous to life, health or safety. Where such conditions are determined to be dangerous to life,health or safety, they shall be mitigated or made safe.” In previous editions of the IBC, it clearly indicates areas outside of the work area do not have to be brought up to code but it is open to the judgment of the code official.

The 2009 IRC, as of this post, is currently the adopted building code of Jeffco for single and two-family dwellings. It addresses remodel and alteration work in Appendix J Existing Buildings and Structures. It states under sub-section AJ501.3 Extensive alterations, that “When the total area of all the work areas included in an alteration exceeds 50 percent of the area of the dwelling unit, the work shall be considered as a reconstruction and shall comply with the requirements of these provisions for reconstruction work. Exception: Work areas in which the alteration work is exclusively plumbing, mechanical or electrical shall not be included in the computation of total area of all work areas.” And the provisions for reconstruction work, Section AJ601 Reconstruction do not stipulate anything related to requiring the unintended areas of a home be brought up to code, nor does it indicate exemption either.

So each code book treats existing materials and areas of work not intended to be in the scope in different ways. Both allow for interpretation by the code official as to determining the extent of work that shall be done, even if not intended or included in the original design scope.


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