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Items Required to be Included on Plans or Specifications

Items 1-6: General
Items 7-15: Existing Building Conditions
Items 16-24: Proposed Conditions
Items 25-33: Proposed Individual Space or JLWQ

Existing Building Conditions

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Occupancy - all existing occupancies of the building and the boundaries of the occupancies; Each particular use of a building is assigned an "Occupancy Classification," such as residence, office, factory, or auditorium (R, B, F, & A, respectively). Typically, different occupancies must be separated from each other, often by fire-rated walls called "occupancy separations". Therefore, each of the existing occupancies needs to be identified and labeled on the floor plans. However, it is unlikely that walls would need to be added between two existing occupancies which were not going to be changed by the proposed project.
For example, a project might be configured as 1/3 conversion to live/work, 1/3 existing commercial to remain, and 1/3 woodworking shop, i.e. Hazardous Occupancy. An occupancy separation in the form of a fire wall between the commercial and the shop would be required under today’s code.
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Type of construction - all existing types of construction of the building and the boundaries of the types of construction. Indicate the fire-resistance of the building elements. The building elements to be indicated are listed in Table 6-A. Buildings are constructed of different materials, and each of the basic systems of construction are given "types," numbered I - V, along with whether they are fire rated (as in "Type V-N"= Type V non-rated vs. Type V-1 hour) or, in the case of type I and II (concrete and high-rise), fire "resistive" construction. Type V allows wood frame, and type IV is Heavy Timber Construction.
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Location on property - indicate the distance from property line to the existing exterior walls and openings. Indicate any openings that are protected. Indicate the fire-resistance of the existing exterior walls. The location of the building in relation to the property line is important because openings are not typically permitted at or near a property line, even existing ones (without an Administrative Modification Request [AMR]). This is because a fire could spread by bursting out through openings onto other properties. In live/work occupancies in Oakland, any wall five feet or less from an interior property line (one shared with another property as opposed to one on a street front or other public way) cannot contain any openings and must be at least one-hour rated. In wood frame construction this means 5/8" sheet rock on the inside and the same on the outside under siding, or, alternatively, stucco.
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Floor area - indicate existing floor areas including mezzanine areas. Show floor areas of existing occupancies. To establish a baseline, the total existing floor area and also the floor area of existing occupancies (residential, commercial, storage, etc.) should be itemized. This is particularly true if you are planning to invoke the exception to the provision (338B.2) which states that if no more than 10% of the area of the existing building will become designated residential portions of live/work units (in the aggregate), then many provisions of this code, including required seismic upgrade, do not apply (see full text of section 338B.2).
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Height and number of stories - indicate existing building height and number of stories and mezzanines within a story. Height and number of stories are regulated by the building code, depending on occupancy and construction type. For example, a new wood frame (type V) building cannot be over 40 feet in height, three stories or 14,000 square feet. As a pre-existing building it may exceed those maximums. However, conversion to live/work is normally a Change of Use, requiring the building to be brought up to today’s code requirements, unless the "10% rule" exempting the conversion from Change of Use is invoked. Again, existing figures establish a baseline.
A work about stories: the building code generally views levels in buildings as either stories or mezzanines. A second story must be at least six feet off the ground for the ground floor level to be considered a story. A mezzanine is an elevated area within a space, whose floor area is no more than 1/3 of the area of the room into which it opens. Mezzanines are not stories; so, for example, a three level building whose third level is a mezzanine opening onto the second floor space is still a two-story building.
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Occupant load - indicate existing occupant load and exits or lack of exits of various portions and rooms of the building based on Table 10-A. Every occupancy, as well as each different activity within occupancies, such as (within a commercial occupancy) an office, manufacturing area or stock room, has a different "occupant load factor." This term does not actually refer precisely to the number of people who can occupy a space, although it is not unrelated. Depending on its hazard level–either in terms of the hazards generated by the occupancy, or the susceptibility to hazards of the probable occupants of that occupancy, suppositions are made about the number of square feet that should be allotted to each occupant. more
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Indicate number and location of any existing individual spaces and the extent of their conformance with current code requirements ("notice of limitation" on file?, fire-resistive construction? etc. also see Numbers 25 through 33 below) and percentage of the building floor area they occupy; Many live/work projects involve legalization of existing spaces, in part or in total. To do this, an architect or other code expert must assess the extent to which the existing spaces conform to the 1999 OBC (the current live/work code). It is also possible that this may be a renovation of a building which was partly renovated under the 1996 OBC as "shell construction." The purpose of this item is to clarify the situation with regard to pre-existing live/work, whether it be legal or not-so-legal, in the existing building. more
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Indicate extent and nature of any existing fire-protection systems within the building; Fire Protection Systems normally means sprinkler systems, although they may be augmented by fire extinguishers, fire alarms, etc. Again it is important to establish this baseline information.
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Nature, location, and extent of any existing hazardous material control areas; Hazardous Materials Control Areas are specially constructed rooms designed for storage of hazardous materials such as chemicals, tanks of flammable gases, etc. If any exist in the building (they are not difficult to recognize), note them and locate them on the drawings.

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