The Performance Compliance Method allows the building’s existing standards of health, safety, and welfare to be maintained or improved upon without requiring full compliance with the Rehab Code. This is done by evaluating the proposed rehabilitation against a scoring system to show that the building will maintain or exceed the current level of safety in the building without necessarily adhering to the building code.
The scoring must be calculated by a registered design professional (licensed architect or structural engineer) through an investigation and evaluation of the existing building. The evaluation comprises three review categories: fire safety, means of egress, and general safety. Section 14R-13-1301.6 details the evaluation process the registered design professional must follow for calculating scores (one for each category).
Table 14R-13-1301.8 provides the minimum score thresholds needed to be met for each of the three categories to ensure a minimum level of safety. Lastly, the scores get summarized in Table 14R-13-1301.7 which is used in tandem with a structural analysis to submit as a report to the buildings department for a determination of compliance as proposed.
In essence, this report is seeking permission to use alternative design strategies to achieve code equivalence. It is similar in concept to an Alternative Code Approval Request (ACAR). The building official also has the authority to refer these reports to the Committee on Standards and Tests (14R-13-1301.4.4).
One key point to keep in mind is that a permit application will not be reviewed until the evaluation report has been accepted by the building official (14A-10-1004.4.4). Due to the linear review process and complexity of this compliance method, MAPS highly recommends meeting with an official at the buildings department prior to initiating this evaluation. We can set up these meetings and facilitate discussions with the Chicago Department of Buildings.
The Performance Compliance Method offers the most potential design options for achieving compliance. However, this also means there is a greater burden on the architect to prove to the city that a proposed design solution meets or exceeds the life safety requirements of the code.