View Full Version : Code Change

Mike Schulz
04-17-2007, 02:36 PM
We had a major fire awhile back that took out a complex. newsobserver.com | Owners of burned townhouses must rebuild (http://www.newsobserver.com/1525/story/554093.html)

I spoke with a AHJ today that was on the same site I was. He says they are changing the code for town homes and alike to where the soffit vents are going to be fire rated. Is there such a thing? :confused:

He said the fire was passing from one to the other through the vents.

Mike Schulz
04-17-2007, 03:00 PM
Well it seems they are going to have non-combustible soffits. It is only going to work as long as they are not vented. Around here everything is soffit and ridge vents.

No one died in the Pine Knoll fire, but it was one of the biggest in Raleigh's history, requiring more than 150 firefighters to put it out.
The building code council has already proposed one change in response to the fire -- the first townhouse-specific amendment that North Carolina has put forward, Tingen said.
During its meetings earlier this month, the council introduced an emergency rule requiring builders to use soffits made of noncombustible material on townhouses. Soffits run from the top of an exterior house wall to the outer edge of the roof.
In the Pine Knoll fire, investigators say, flames crept up the vinyl siding of the townhouses and entered into attics through the soffits. The council concluded that noncombustible soffits would have delayed the fire from rapidly spreading into townhouse attics and adjacent units. The rule, which is expected to go into effect April 5, will apply to townhouses that have not yet been issued building permits. Any further amendments to the building code will likely depend on whether state officials can be convinced that the changes are not an overreaction to a rare event.

Jerry Peck
04-17-2007, 09:12 PM
What I think he was referring to is that the fire walls should have extended out to cut off the soffit area.

While that was seldom enforced, it has always been in there.

Or, he may be referring to, like roof sheathing, if the fire wall does not extend through the roof for 30 inches in height, the roof sheathing needs to be protected for 4 feet to each side of the fire wall.

If the second thing is what he was referring to, then no vents would be allowed in that first 4 feet, and the top side of the soffit would be (most likely) protected with 5/8 Type X gypsum board - just like the roof sheathing I described.