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City approves new dangerous buildings ordinance

By Staff | Jun 10, 2011

The city of Rugby has approved an amendment to city ordinance 17.04.440 pertaining to dangerous buildings. The second reading of the amended ordinance was held at the Monday, June 6 meeting of the city council. An ordinance goes into effect after the second public reading if there have been no objections to it. No one appeared to object at either of the readings.

A dangerous building is defined as any building or structure which has any or all of the conditions or defects hereinafter described. This is provided that such conditions or defects exist to the extent that the life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered. The following are the top ten determinants of what constitutes a dangerous building.

1. Whenever any door, aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit does not provide safe and adequate means of escape in case of fire or other panic situation.

2. Whenever the walking surface of any aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit is so warped, worn, loose, torn or otherwise unsafe so that a safe and adequate exit is not possible.

3. Whenever the stresses in any materials are more than one-half times the working stresses allowed in the building code for similar buildings.

4. Whenever any portion of a building is damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood or by any other cause so that the structural strength or stability is less than it was before the catastrophe and is less than building codes allow.

5. Whenever any portion of a building is likely to fail or become detached thereby injuring persons or damaging property.

6. Whenever any portion of a building or ornamentation on the exterior is not of sufficient strength or stability to resist strong wind pressure, according to building code.

7. Whenever any portion has buckled or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural parts have less resistance to winds, etc.

8. Whenever a building or structure because of deterioration, faulty construction, removal of ground supporting a building and various other causes leads to its partial or complete collapse.

9. Whenever a building is unsafe for the purpose it is being used.

10. Whenever exterior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity does not fall inside the middle one-third of the base.

Structures that are so dilapidated that they encourage vagrants, criminals, etc. to hang out there or commit unlawful or immoral acts are considered dangerous buildings. Any building that violated building codes to the point of being uninhabitable.If a building is determined by a health inspector to be unsanitary or unfit for human habitation or by the fire marshal to be an unsafe hazard, it is considered a dangerous building by this ordinance.

Abandoned buildings which have been vacated for six months and constitute a public nuisance or hazard are also considered dangerous buildings.

Every town has such buildings to some extent. Ordinances help towns get rid of them legally.

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