Skip to code content (skip section selection)
Compare to:
§ 7-87  STRUCTURAL AND MATERIALS STANDARDS.
   (a)   General. Buildings or structures may be of any type construction permitted by and in compliance with the building code. Roofs, floors, walls, foundations and all other structural components shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. All structural elements shall be proportioned and joined in accordance with the stress limitations and design criteria specified in the applicable provisions of the building code.
   (b)   Construction materials.
      (1)   All construction materials, including, but not limited to, wood, gypsum products, glass, fiberglass, paper, canvas, fabric, plastic, vinyl, masonry, ceramic, plaster, brick, rock, stucco, slate, concrete, asphalt, tin, copper, steel, iron and aluminum, that is attached to or forms any part of a building or structure, shall be maintained in good condition.
      (2)   All wood used in the construction of buildings shall be protected against termite damage and decay as provided in the building code. In addition, wood used in construction of permanent structures shall not be located nearer than six inches to earth unless it is treated wood or wood of natural resistance to decay.
      (3)   Where wood, other than that which is approved as naturally resistant to decay, is used it shall be painted or treated with an approved treatment as often as necessary to maintain a barrier against insects and the elements.
   (c)   Roofs.
      (1)   The roofs of all buildings and structures shall be maintained in good condition and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. All structural elements shall be proportioned and securely fastened to eliminate collapse hazards.
      (2)   Roofs shall be repaired when leaks, sags or holes occur or when there are missing, charred or deteriorated shingles or rotten wood.
      (3)   Gutters and downspouts, where installed, shall be maintained in good condition, shall be capable of performing the function for which they were designed, and shall be securely fastened in place.
      (4)   Proper roof drainage shall be designed and constructed following the code in effect at the time of construction, but as a minimum, shall be maintained so as not to overload the structural design.
   (d)   Chimneys. Chimneys shall be reasonably plumb. Loose bricks or blocks shall be rebonded. Loose or missing mortar shall be replaced.
   (e)   Foundations. Foundations and components shall be maintained in good condition and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. All components shall be reasonably plumb, proportioned and securely fastened.
   (f)   Floor area of dwelling units.
      (1)   Each dwelling unit, other than an efficiency dwelling unit, shall have not less than two habitable rooms and shall conform to the following minimum requirements.
         a.   For combined living, sleeping, cooking and eating purposes, each unit shall have at least one room of not less than 120 square feet of floor area and one room of not less than 70 square feet of floor area.
         b.   Sleeping rooms which accommodate one or two persons shall have not less than 70 square feet of floor area, plus 50 square feet of additional floor area for each occupant in excess of two.
         c.   Each habitable room except kitchens shall not have any floor dimension that is less than seven feet.
         d.   Each toilet shall be located in a clear space not less than 30 inches in width. The clear space in front of the toilet shall not be less than 24 inches.
      (2)   Every efficiency dwelling unit shall have one habitable room and shall conform to the following minimum requirements:
         a.   For combined living, sleeping, cooking and eating purposes, each efficiency unit shall have one habitable room of not less than 220 square feet of floor area if the unit is occupied by one or two persons;
         b.   For each occupant in excess of two, an additional 100 square feet of floor area shall be provided;
         c.   Each efficiency unit shall have a separate closet; and
         d.   Each efficiency unit shall have a separate bathroom, containing a toilet, lavatory, sink and a bathtub or shower.
   (g)   Floors.
      (1)   All floors shall be maintained in good condition, and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction.
      (2)   All structural elements shall be proportioned, securely fastened and free of holes or decay to eliminate collapse or trip hazards. Cracks or breaches in concrete floors, sufficient in size to allow insects to enter, shall be sealed with approved materials.
   (h)   Bathroom floors and walls. The floors of toilet compartments and bathrooms shall be finished with approved non-absorbent materials such as tile or linoleum or similar floor coverings. Floors and walls of shower enclosures shall be maintained in good condition free of holes, cracks, breaches, decay and rot. Materials other than structural elements used in such floors and walls shall be of a type that is not adversely affected by moisture.
   (i)   Counter tops and backsplashes. Kitchen and bathroom counter tops and backsplashes surrounding kitchen sinks and lavatory sinks shall be maintained in good condition free of decay and rot.
   (j)   Interior walls and ceilings.
      (1)   All interior walls and ceilings and portions thereof shall be maintained in good condition, and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. All structural elements shall be proportioned and securely fastened to eliminate collapse hazards.
      (2)   All interior walls and ceilings and portions thereof shall be free of holes, breaches, significant cracks, dampness, water damage, significant smoke damage, fire damage and mildew.
   (k)   Exterior windows.
      (1)   The glass surfaces of exterior windows shall be maintained free of breaks and significant cracks. When damage occurs, glass shards shall be removed promptly to reduce the risk of injury.
      (2)   Exterior windows shall be maintained in good condition, and shall fit the contours of their frames, to prevent the entry of air, dampness and vectors and other pests when closed.
      (3)   Each habitable room within a dwelling unit shall be provided with natural light by means of an exterior glazed opening as required by the code in effect at the time of construction or as required for compliance as new construction, whichever is less restrictive.
   (l)   Exterior doors.
      (1)   The glass surfaces of exterior doors shall be maintained free of breaks and significant cracks. When damage occurs, glass shards shall be removed promptly to reduce the risk of injury.
      (2)   Exterior doors shall be maintained in good condition, and shall fit the contours of their frames, so as to prevent the entry of air, dampness and vectors and other pests when closed.
   (m)   Access, means of egress and emergency escape.
      (1)   All buildings or structures shall be located with respect to property lines and to other buildings or structures on the same property as required by the building code and the comprehensive zoning ordinance of the City of Fort Worth.
      (2)   Every dwelling unit shall have door access directly to the outside or to a public corridor. All buildings or structures shall be provided with means of egress and appurtenances as required by the building code. Each dwelling unit shall have access to a passageway not less than the width required by the building code at time of construction, but in no case shall it be less than three feet in width leading to a public street or alley.
      (3)   In dwelling units of multifamily dwellings and lodging houses, each sleeping room below the fourth story and each basement shall have at least one window or exterior door approved for emergency escape or rescue, as follows.
         a.   The window or exterior door shall provide access directly into a public street, public alley, yard or exit court, or shall be brought into compliance as new construction.
         b.   Escape or rescue windows shall comply with the most restrictive of:
            1.   The restrictions in effect at the time of construction or replacement;
            2.   The following dimensions;
               i.   Nineteen-inch minimum width, measured between inside edges of window frame;
               ii.   Twenty-four and one-half inch minimum height, measured between inside edges of window frame; and
               iii.   Forty-eight-inch maximum sill height.
         c.   1.   If a multifamily dwelling or lodging house is not in compliance with this requirement, the owner shall, by November 30, 2000, replace or install windows or doors of the full size necessary to comply with current codes at the time of replacement or installation. Any multifamily dwelling or lodging house discovered to not be in compliance by this date, or any multifamily dwelling or lodging house annexed after this date that is not in compliance, shall be given 30 days to come into compliance, or apply to the construction and fire prevention board to establish a compliance deadline.
            2.   During the period of noncompliance, if any dwelling unit in a multifamily dwelling or lodging house has a sleeping room below the fourth story that does not comply with the emergency escape or rescue window requirement and such unit is or becomes vacant, said unit shall not be leased until it complies with the emergency escape or rescue window requirement.
         d.   After obtaining primary compliance with the provisions listed above, future replacement windows may comply with the provisions of subsection (m)(6) below.
         e.   The provisions listed above do not apply to sprinklered high-rise buildings as defined in the building code; nor to any other building that may be in compliance with current code for new construction.
      (4)   In dwelling units of one- and two-family dwellings, each sleeping room below the fourth story and each basement shall have at least one window or exterior door approved for emergency escape or rescue which shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or exit court as required by the code in effect at the time of construction.
      (5)   In multifamily dwellings with a sleeping room in the loft apartment each sleeping room shall have at least one window or exterior door approved for emergency escape or rescue which shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or exit court as required by the code in effect at the time of construction.
      (6)   a.   When replacing a window or door that serves as the emergency escape and rescue opening of the residential code or the building code, the new installation shall not reduce the dimensions of the opening such that it is noncompliant with that section. If the dimensions are already noncompliant, the new installation shall not reduce any of the existing opening dimensions, increasing the noncompliant conditions.
         b.   The existing window sill height need not be corrected.
         c.   This subsection (m) shall apply to multifamily dwellings only after they have met the primary compliance items of subsection (m)(3) above.
      (7)   Bars, grilles, grates and other similar security devices may be installed on emergency escape or rescue windows or doors in dwelling units provided that:
         a.   A building permit is obtained prior to installation;
         b.   A final inspection is obtained from the building inspection division upon completion of work;
         c.   The devices are equipped with approved release mechanisms which are operable from the inside of the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort; and
         d.   The building or structure is equipped with smoke detectors installed in accordance with all applicable city ordinances.
   (n)   Ventilation.
      (1)   Except as provided by subsection (n)(2) below, each habitable room within a dwelling unit shall be provided with natural ventilation by means of an openable exterior opening. Such opening shall have an area of not less than one-twentieth of the floor area of the room, with a minimum of five square feet; or as required for compliance as new construction.
      (2)   In lieu of required exterior openings for natural ventilation, a mechanical ventilation system may be provided. Such system shall be capable of providing two air changes per hour in all habitable rooms and in public corridors. Twenty percent of the air supply shall be taken from the outside. As an alternative, mechanical ventilation may be installed as required for compliance as new construction.
      (3)   Except as provided by subsections (n)(4) or (n)(5) below, each bathroom, toilet compartment, laundry room and similar rooms shall be provided with natural ventilation by means of an openable exterior opening with an area not less than one-twentieth of the floor area of the room, with a minimum of one and one-half square feet. Private laundry rooms in group R, division 3 and inside individual dwelling units of group R, division 1 occupancies are exempt from the requirements of this subsection (n).
      (4)   In lieu of required exterior openings for natural ventilation in bathrooms containing a bathtub or shower or combination thereof, laundry rooms and similar rooms, a mechanical ventilation system connected directly to the outside, capable of providing five air changes per hour, shall be provided. The point of discharge of exhaust air shall be at least three feet from any opening into the building or structure. As an alternative, mechanical ventilation may be installed as required for compliance as new construction.
      (5)   Bathrooms which contain only a toilet or lavatory sink or combination thereof may be ventilated with an approved mechanical recirculating fan or similar device designed to remove odors from the air.
   (o)   Balconies, landings, porches, decks and walkways.
      (1)   a.   All balconies, landings, porches, decks and walkways shall be maintained in good condition and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction.
         b.   All structural elements shall be proportioned and securely fastened to eliminate collapse or trip hazards.
      (2)   Cracks or breaches in concrete or lightweight concrete balconies, landings, porches or walkways, that are of sufficient size to allow water to penetrate, shall be sealed with approved material.
      (3)   Support posts or columns that provide support to balconies, landings, porches, decks or walkways or canopies over same, shall be maintained in good condition, reasonably plumb and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. The structural elements shall be intact, proportioned, and securely fastened to eliminate collapse hazards.
   (p)   Handrails and railings.
      (1)   Handrails shall be provided as required by the building code.
      (2)   All handrails and railings shall be maintained in good condition, and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction. All components shall be proportioned and securely fastened.
      (3)   The maintenance requirements of this subsection (p) shall not prohibit the removal of a handrail or railing that is not required by law.
   (q)   Steps and stairways.
      (1)   a.   Steps and stairways shall be maintained in good condition and shall be maintained to withstand the loads and forces for which they were required to be designed and constructed pursuant to the code in effect at the time of construction.
         b.   All components shall be proportioned and securely fastened to eliminate trip or collapse hazards.
      (2)   Cracks or breaches in lightweight concrete in steps, balconies and walkways, which are of sufficient size to allow water to penetrate, shall be sealed.
   (r)   Fences, retaining walls and barriers.
      (1)   Fences, retaining walls, decorative walls and barriers shall be maintained in good condition, and shall not be out of vertical alignment by more than 18 degrees, unless designed as such.
      (2)   Rotted, fire damaged or broken wooden slats and support posts shall be repaired or replaced.
      (3)   Broken or severely bent metal posts or torn, cut or ripped metal fencing materials shall be repaired or replaced.
      (4)   Loose brick, stone, rock, mortar or similar materials on masonry walls and barriers shall be rebonded or similarly repaired.
      (5)   The above requirements shall not prohibit a fence, retaining wall, decorative wall or barrier from being removed if it is not otherwise required by law.
      (6)   The above requirements shall only apply to a fence, retaining wall, decorative wall or barrier adjacent to a public right-of-way.
   (s)   Barriers. Barriers required for swimming pools or spas shall be maintained in accordance with all statutes and ordinances.
(Ord. 13743, § 1, passed 3-23-1999; Ord. 14177, § 1, passed 5-2-2000; Ord. 19606-03-2011, § 1, passed 3-22-2011)