Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Aziz Cassis's Avatar
    Aziz Cassis Guest

    Default Attic terrible accident

    I am an engineer, I live in Egypt and have my best friend in the US. My friend has a house in Texas where only the living room has a double height. My friend husband went on the attic, probably to repair something in the air conditioning but suddenly, the floor of the Attic in this 10 years modern house could not whistand his weight, he fall down in the living room and died.
    I just returned from the US after condoleances but I have many questions...
    !) Are they any areas in the Attics where people should not walk on?
    2) Is their a min LIFE LOAD requirement (Building code)for ALL AREA of the attic and is this life load sufficient for a person to walk on the attic?
    3) Do you think that there could be a design or constrction problem in the attic
    4) If the answer to the last question is YES, what do you think I should advice my friend to do?

    Similar Threads:
    Member Benefits1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziz Cassis View Post
    the floor of the Attic
    .

    The "floor of the Attic" was most likely the "gypsum board ceiling" he was walking on.

    NEVER walk on the drywall ceiling ANYWHERE.

    My condolences.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mount Pleasant, SC
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Aziz,

    http://www.sbcindustry.com/images/te...-MI_BCLL06.pdf

    This link will open a pdf that talks to your question a little bit. You'll find that in areas where the manufacturer will provide less than 42" of clear space above the bottom chord (likely in your friends scenario with the two story main entry opening) tha they really expect minimum loads on those bottom chords.

    I've HEARD as little as 10 lbs/ft2.

    And Like Jerry said, it's very likely the drywall that failed to support him if a miss step occurred.

    My condolences on the loss of your friend.

    We know why you fly: because the bus is too expensive and the railroad has a dress code...
    www.atozinspector.com

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Unlike others I will say that any framing in an attic should at least be able to walk on. As far as minimal codes for that I am not sure and not n a position to look that up right now. Attics have to be accessible for any possible repairs needed. Even as simple as adding more insulation one should be able to walk on most if not all wood members. Now if he stepped thru the drywall and his body weight snapped a 2x4 that may have been a bottom of a truss then that is another story. As far as standing on it it should at least hold his weight.

    Sorry to hear about your friend. This is definitely something that can not be resolved from talking on th INTERNET.


  5. #5
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziz Cassis View Post
    I am an engineer, I live in Egypt and have my best friend in the US. My friend has a house in Texas where only the living room has a double height. My friend husband went on the attic, probably to repair something in the air conditioning but suddenly, the floor of the Attic in this 10 years modern house could not whistand his weight, he fall down in the living room and died.
    I just returned from the US after condoleances but I have many questions...
    !) Are they any areas in the Attics where people should not walk on?
    2) Is their a min LIFE LOAD requirement (Building code)for ALL AREA of the attic and is this life load sufficient for a person to walk on the attic?
    3) Do you think that there could be a design or constrction problem in the attic
    4) If the answer to the last question is YES, what do you think I should advice my friend to do?
    Aziz: I don't know where your friend was walking, but if he was walking on the service flooring in the attic even this can be dangerous in Texas. Most of the builders use 7/16" sheathing for service floors. This material is not designed for this purpose and will fail if used thusly.

    If he was walking on the tops of the ceiling joists they should have borne his weight.

    If he was walking on the ceiling drywall, that would be a problem. It is neither designed nor intended to bear weight.

    The family should have an inspector look into the matter and, if the framing or actual service flooring is to blame, take the issue to an attorney.

    My condolences regarding your friend.

    Aaron


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziz Cassis View Post
    but I have many questions...
    1) Are they any areas in the Attics where people should not walk on?
    .

    Let's answer that one first, then proceed down the list:

    *IF* there is a wood floor down on top of the ceiling joist or on top of the truss bottom chords, then the floor, and the joists/trusses, and that wood floor was in a location which required a wood floor (i.e., the wood floor was not added by a home owner after the house was built) would be required to sustain the specified dead load and live load given as the reason for requiring the attic floor in that area.

    2) Is their a min LIFE LOAD requirement (Building code)for ALL AREA of the attic and is this life load sufficient for a person to walk on the attic?
    .

    Yes and no. However, what I think you are asking is this: Are some areas of the attic designed to basically only support the gypsum board ceiling, no storage and no one walking in the attic. If that is what you are asking, then, yes, in most homes *NONE* of the attic has a floor, or at least not a floor suitable for walking on.

    The exception would be for areas which have a walkway to mechanical equipment, water heaters, and the like, and for those areas deemed to be designed/intended to have storage. These few area would be required to have a structure and floor which would support the equipment/storage/people in those areas.

    3) Do you think that there could be a design or constrction problem in the attic
    .

    This would depend upon the answer to many questions, only some of which are being asked here, and this question: Did the trusses/joists fail and come crashing down (which would lead to the loss of the entire structure with the roof falling in too), or did just the ceiling come crashing down, leaving the roof structure up there?

    I am guessing, as I did originally, that "just the ceiling came crashing down", in which case he was walking on the drywall (gypsum board) ceiling and was lucky to have walked as far as he did, or, he was walking on the ceiling joists/truss bottom chords and simply slipped off, which caused him to step on the gypsum board ceiling, which then gave way under his weight.

    4) If the answer to the last question is YES, what do you think I should advice my friend to do?
    Before any of us can answer that, or even consider answering that, we would need the answers to the above questions.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Georgetown, KY
    Posts
    537

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Perhaps there's a link to a news story that would give us more details?

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    One item no one mentioned on here yet,

    As far as I know, no code requires any blocking on ceiling joists.

    Around here, many framers just toe nail the 2x6 or 2x8 at each end leaving a joist that will lay over easily if a load is placed at an angle as would be the case with most attempts to navigate an attic with insulation covering up the joist.

    Imagine how bad it would be if the toe nailing was missed or partly left out...


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Attic terrible accident

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Around here, many framers just toe nail the 2x6 or 2x8 at each end leaving a joist that will lay over easily if a load is placed at an angle

    Aren't the joist also nailed to the rafters in most cases?

    From the IRC. (underlining is mine)
    - R802.3.1 Ceiling joist and rafter connections.
    Ceiling joists and rafters shall be nailed to each other in accordance with Table R802.5.1(9), and the rafter shall be nailed to the top wall plate in accordance with Table R602.3(1). Ceiling joists shall be continuous or securely joined in accordance with Table R802.5.1(9) where they meet over interior partitions and are nailed to adjacent rafters to provide a continuous tie across the building when such joists are parallel to the rafters.
    - - Where ceiling joists are not connected to the rafters at the top wall plate, joists connected higher in the attic shall be installed as rafter ties, or rafter ties shall be installed to provide a continuous tie. Where ceiling joists are not parallel to rafters, rafter ties shall be installed. Rafter ties shall be a minimum of 2-inch by 4-inch (51 mm by 102 mm) (nominal), installed in accordance with the connection requirements in Table R802.5.1(9), or connections of equivalent capacities shall be provided. Where ceiling joists or rafter ties are not provided, the ridge formed by these rafters shall be supported by a wall or girder designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice.
    - - Collar ties or ridge straps to resist wind uplift shall be connected in the upper third of the attic space in accordance with Table R602.3(1).
    - - Collar ties shall be a minimum of 1-inch by 4-inch (25 mm by 102 mm) (nominal), spaced not more than 4 feet (1219 mm) on center.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •