At their meeting March 10, the Tyler City Council voted unanimously to adopt the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) which is designed to encourage the re-use of older existing buildings and help efforts to revitalize older areas of the city.
A property owner who possesses an older existing building will be able to utilize a code written specifically for these structures, as opposed to standards written for new buildings.
IEBC will still require properties to achieve safety standards; the difference is the method by which those points of safety are achieved. The code addresses repair, alteration, addition and change of occupancy for historic and existing buildings.
In 2009, a task force comprised of local stakeholders including developers, architects, building inspectors and representatives from the Fire Marshal's office was organized by the City to examine the appropriateness of IEBC for use in Tyler. Chaired by local property owner Martin Heines, the group studied details of IEBC and brought in speakers from other communities who use the Existing Buildings Code to accommodate adaptive re-use of buildings.
"Adoption of the International Existing Building Code will provide developers and the City the flexibility to allow the reuse of older existing buildings without making cost-prohibitive improvements or sacrificing public safety," said IEBC Task Force Chair Martin Heines.
"Downtown, with all of its historic and older building stock, will certainly benefit from IEBC," said Beverly Abell, director of the City of Tyler's Main Street department. "This code proves that safety, progress and the preservation of older buildings – our built history – are compatible."
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