(a) The provisions of this code and the fire safety rules of the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission shall apply to existing buildings and conditions, except as provided hereinafter.
(1) Existing conditions which do not constitute a distinct hazard to life or property.
(2) The transportation of any articles or substances under the jurisdiction of and in compliance with the regulations prescribed by the armed forces of the United States.
(b) Nothing in this code shall be construed, interpreted or applied to abrogate, nullify or abolish any law, ordinance or code adopted by the Town of St. John, Indiana, governing the construction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use location, occupancy and maintenance of building specifically provided herein. When any provision of this code is found to be in conflict with any building, zoning, safety, health or other applicable law, ordinance or code of the Town existing on the effective date of this code, or hereafter adopted, the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of the safety and welfare of the public shall prevail.
(c) The planning, design and construction of new buildings and structures to provide egress facilities, fire protection, and built-in fire protection equipment shall be controlled by the building rules of the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission. Any alterations, additions or changes in buildings required by the provisions of this code which are within the scope of the said building rules shall be made in accordance therewith.
(d) Buildings built under and in full compliance with the building and fire safety laws and Rules in force at the time of construction or alterations thereof, and that have been properly maintained and used for such use as originally permitted, shall be exempt from the requirements of this code pertaining to any of the following matters:
(1) Fire protection of structural elements.
(2) Exits required, except as provided for existing buildings under this code.
(3) Isolation of hazardous operations and mixed uses; provided, however, that the fire chief shall require the installation of fire safety devices or systems (fire extinguisher, fire alarms, fire detection devices, or similar systems) where they are necessary to provide safety to life. In lieu of requiring the installation of safety devices or systems or when necessary to secure safety in addition thereto, the fire chief shall prescribe limitations of the handling and storage of materials or substances or upon operations that are liable to cause fire, contribute to the spread of fire, or endanger life or property. Any orders issued by the fire chief to obtain compliance with this subsection shall be governed by the provisions of Indiana Code 36-8-17-10(d), as amended from time to time.