Elevator Pressurization

We are renovating a qualified historic high-rise building in Los Angeles, under the jurisdiction of LA County. The Historic Building Code states that historic high-rise buildings shall meet the requirements “of the regular code for existing high-rise buildings”.

I assume the “regular code” means the CBC with LA County amendments, and “for existing” means chapter 34. Is that correct?

My main question is: are we required to pressurize the existing elevator hoistway as part of our work? Elevators were upgraded very recently, but the hoistway was not pressurized. We are not doing any work on the elevators as part of our project. The existing elevator lobbies are historic, so enclosed lobbies cannot be added without destroying some historic elements.

Are we required to pressurize? The only possible exception I see is CBC 3407A.1, Historic Buildings. “The provisions of this code … shall not be mandatory for historic buildings where such buildings are judged by the building official to not constitute a distinct life safety hazard.”

The building as a whole is sound, but I think it would be a very hard sell to say that unprotected elevator shafts in a high-rise are not a life safety hazard.

Thanks !
Michael Montgomery, AIA IVI Assessment Services
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