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  1. #1
    Anne Kim's Avatar
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    Default Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    My contractor explained that shelving are mandatory for walk in closets. He claims that without them we cannot pass inspection. His reasoning is that the presence of shelves "prove" that it is an uninhabitable room and therefore not a bedroom.

    We never requested that he put in the shelving. He just showed up and started to put shelving up. We told him to stop, but he insisted that it must be done. We had originally planned to put up custom shelving, but now we are stuck with these ugly white bars.

    I live in Orange County, CA. Are there really any CA or international codes that dictate that closets must have shelves? I googled for hours but wasn't able to find this "code" that he is referring to.

    I would appreciate any input. Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne Kim View Post
    My contractor explained that shelving are mandatory for walk in closets. He claims that without them we cannot pass inspection. His reasoning is that the presence of shelves "prove" that it is an uninhabitable room and therefore not a bedroom.

    We never requested that he put in the shelving. He just showed up and started to put shelving up. We told him to stop, but he insisted that it must be done. We had originally planned to put up custom shelving, but now we are stuck with these ugly white bars.

    I live in Orange County, CA. Are there really any CA or international codes that dictate that closets must have shelves? I googled for hours but wasn't able to find this "code" that he is referring to.

    I would appreciate any input. Thanks.
    Yes, it is very possible that this is a requirement for the area you are in. I have a couple of municipalities near me that require shelving or hanging bars in closets in all new construction. It just depends on local codes or better yet the local code inspector.... Keep in mind that you are in CA and folks tend to do things a little different than in other parts of the country..

    When you close on the home, just remove the old shelving and install what you want.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Have the contractor print it out or show you the link. Could be an urban legend, or it could be a CA or OC thing. Mention not paying for the shelving and you may get more attention from him.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Sounds like rubbish. What if you have special walnut cabinets you want to put in the closet for your clothes, then you have to have him take out the shelves.
    if he can't provide a printout, pass on the cost.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    I would agree to have your contractor provide you with a copy of the specific code requirements.
    Then if required figure what the least costly way would be to meet the requirement that does the least damage. A single 1 1/4" rod may be all that is needed.

    It may be the cost of living in CA.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    fwiw..... I get new construction all the time around here with no rods or shelves in closets and the final occupancy has been granted. I agree with the others that it may be a regional thing. And, as Garry said, if it is really a requirement less than $20 for two brackets and one rod should do it.

    I'd guess the contractor is just trying to bill out as much as possible. Wasn't this discussed before the project started? Shelving in an average sized walk-in closet could range from nothing to thousands of dollars or more for super high end rack systems. This just seems like something that would have come up before now.


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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Anne,
    One last thought.
    If you had a contract there should be a reference to the closet and required shelves. Along with final payment on completion once passing inspection. If that is so then contractor has to put in what will meet completion of the building permit, on the contractors dime not yours. Else contract not completed and no payment.

    Unless it was a time and material contract, then its all about what is minimally required and cost which should require your consent as part of the contract. Unless it is a Pedro job.

    Need to pad the job with a little shelving, $30,000 should do it. Love those custom hand made Ubanga wood cabinets with shelves. A must have to meet local code in Orange County ?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Why not just call the local building dept and ask them? Get it from the horse's mouth.


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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Why not just call the local building dept and ask them? Get it from the horse's mouth.
    To easy.....


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are shelves required in walk in closets to pass inspection?

    It wouldn't be "rubbish" to complete contract performance - as per the contract! See the plans, drawings, notes thereto, schedules & specifictions, i.e. the contract (and change order(s). I suspect the presence of shelving is on the drawings/plans and specified minimally - as is being or has been installed by the builder.

    I presume the 'closet' storage room's footprint floor area equals or exceeds 7' in its dimensions and that without this simple rod/shelf installed has a clearance otherwise unencumbered (ceiling height) equal to or exceeding 7'.

    The installation is likely to clearly deliniate the "closet" room/space as "occupied" (storage, ancillary, etc.) yet NOT 'habital' space.Likely doesn't otherwise have a location specific smoke/CO alarm proximity for "habital" room.To meet/prove the various calculations for HVAC, lighting, egress pathways, etc. the installation likely meeting the plan documents (drawings, notes thereon, etc.)

    Arch. sign-off/certification, in a minimal fashion, and to meet the full requirements for a final inspection "to plan", C of O issuance by the inspecting and issuing authority, and the terms of the contract for closing, and that the "shelving" and/or 'closet rod(s), likely are contract performance driven and likely clearly deliniated (minimally) on the planning documents .

    I suggest you consult with your representtives/advisors and the contract (change orders, etc.) & planning documents attached thereto, and review what is 'on file' with the building/permitting authority.

    When its yours, occupiable, closed (you own it, its paid for or financed, etc.) you are free to remove, repair, and replace with your DIY or contracted 'custom' closet organization system, or go through the process and expense to negotiate (and acquire planner/designer/arch. drawing/specification changes, submit for authority approval) for a change order and contract(s) modification (may further require financing approval) pre-occupancy.

    May or may not apply, but the distinction between a walk-in and a walk-through "closet" vs. "dressing room" might be in play, esp. with fenestration.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-27-2012 at 10:10 AM.

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