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Thread: Townhome attic

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    Default Townhome attic

    So I went up into this 1970's townhouse attic yesterday and I noticed that the entire attic was open. Not only that, but there was accessibility to the adjacent unit. I would have knocked on their attic hatch if it wasnt 200 degrees in there, ...that would have been pretty funny.
    Anyhow, you can see their ducting etc... I guess my question is; under what circumstances would this ever be acceptable? If any.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    that was allowed in the70's. relate to present standards and leave the upgrade up to them


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    that was allowed in the70's. relate to present standards and leave the upgrade up to them
    Wow..so you can just cruise over to your neighbors place while their away and go shopping I guess.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Wow..so you can just cruise over to your neighbors place while their away and go shopping I guess.
    That was allowed in some areas.

    On the other hand I was building firewalls in attics since the early 70s in Mass but then in Florida and Texas I find duplexes/town homes etc that have no separation at all just as the OP from the same time frame. And yes, you can go in the attic and then into the neighbors home and watch their cable and cook their steaks while they are out.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    If the codes allowed for no firewalls, there would be no requirement to bring it up to code. So why would they have to upgrade?


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Its more likely a condo, possibly converted from HUD based construction lending for apartments, not a UBC townhome, as pictured & described.

    California used UBC based codes even then. The extra hatches/unit accesses added or reworked, inappropriately, if not a locking and securement system and/or subsequent to original construction; maintenance of roof assembly protection (floor {attic}/ceiling {below})required even then, and access from maint. control only; If UBC townhome there would be required double gyp board each side stud wall to roof deck, separations at that vintage, with simple plywood with single layer gyp or asbestos tile, and sheet metal, drop in hatch stuffed with mineral wool or fiberglass behind the moulding below, or FRT plywood hatches.


    Support for venting materials lacking, inappropriate "horizontal" lean to vertical; as well as lacking insulation dams and clearance issues.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-07-2011 at 09:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    There are 70's condo complexes in my area that have similar open attics, but there are hatches only in the stairwells. I mention the lack of fire separation as a subject to bring before Strata Council.
    One day I was checking out a unit in one of the buildings and the Fire Marshal was there with the maintenance man, doing his safety inspection, so it is not like they are ignorant of the situation.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Canadian to American translation

    Strata Council = Condo Assoc Board.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I guess my question is; under what circumstances would this ever be acceptable? If any.
    I had inspected a 2005 built townhouse without firewall separation but using fire rated access door. Similar to this website Fire Rated Access Doors - Access Doors / Access Panels - Custom Sizes
    The owner and neighbour are unawared the situation. The City Hall confirmed it is acceptable to use fire rated access doors. My concern is someone can open the door from attic and get into the neighour's home.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Daniel,
    Door or no door you just break through the ceiling. Locks on a entry door does not prevent you from coming in through a window or a chainsaw through the side of the (non brick/block/stone) house.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    (bold and underlining are mine)

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    that was allowed in the70's. relate to present standards and leave the upgrade up to them
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    If the codes allowed for no firewalls, there would be no requirement to bring it up to code. So why would they have to upgrade?
    Wayne didn't say they have to, he said to leave the upgrade to them (as to whether or not they wanted to address it).

    Marc,

    I would definitely bring it to their attention, least they go to sell and their inspector brings up to their buyer, and your client wonders why you did not mention it to them.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Its more likely a condo,
    That is what I am thinking too, especially with the frequent use of "townhome" which later changes to "condo" as what was actually meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I mention the lack of fire separation as a subject to bring before Strata Council.
    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Canadian to American translation

    Strata Council = Condo Assoc Board.
    IF that is the correct translation, then John is likely referring to condos, not townhomes.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Jerry

    The bigger question is; was it a requirement in the 70s to have a firewall? Further if it was or is a requirement is it going to be an insurance issue?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The bigger question is; was it a requirement in the 70s to have a firewall?
    The first question is: Is it a "condo" or is it a "townhouse". If that question IS NOT answered, then there is no way of knowing if it was or was not required to have a firewall between the two units.

    In most parts of the country, back in the 1970s, if it was a "townhouse" then it should have had a firewall.

    This is because townhouses are "separate structures" and should be able to stand alone. A condo building is "one structure" and a condo unit is simply a designated "space within that structure", but they do not own the structure around them, they are "part owners" of the entire structure.

    Further if it was or is a requirement is it going to be an insurance issue?
    That question is not as important as this question:\
    - Will a fire TODAY in one 'townhouse' cause the entire structure to burn down due to lack of proper firewall separation ... and fire has no regard for "when" the structure was constructed. As that photo is showing, if there is a fire in one "unit" (townhouse or condo), yes, the entire structure will burn down.

    The fire will not care what was or was not required "back then".

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Knowing what insurers are like up here, that is one caveat I would certainly be checking out with the insurance provider.

    Yes I am familiar with the difference between a townhouse and condo.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Yes I am familiar with the difference between a townhouse and condo.
    Is this correct?
    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Canadian to American translation

    Strata Council = Condo Assoc Board.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Owning a Condominium

    What is a condominium?
    A condominium is a strata lot in a strata development that subdivides a building (or sometimes land) into separate parts (called strata lots) for individual ownership. Depending on the development, a strata lot may be an apartment, a townhouse, a retail store, a medical office, and so on. In a high-rise strata building, each apartment is a separate strata lot. In this example, the strata scheme allows people to own their apartment.
    The words strata and condominium mean the same thing. British Columbia is the only place in North America that uses the word “strata” instead of “condominium”.


    Since I live in Ontario we have the Condominium Act; we do not refer to it as Strata.
    Condominium Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 19


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Hey yall,
    ya know, This was classified as a townhouse but i agree that it does look like a condo.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    (underlining and bold are mine) ... now that I know what a "strata" is:
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    There are 70's condo complexes in my area that have similar open attics, but there are hatches only in the stairwells. I mention the lack of fire separation as a subject to bring before Strata Council.
    Fire separation between attics in a condo are not required. The attic is a single attic of a single structure.

    The fire-resistance separation from a condo and the attic is the ceiling of the condo.

    One day I was checking out a unit in one of the buildings and the Fire Marshal was there with the maintenance man, doing his safety inspection, so it is not like they are ignorant of the situation.
    They are not ignorant of the situation, it is just that the situation is not as you think it should be - they do not address no firewalls in the attic as no firewalls are required in the attic.

    Depending on the size of the attic and the code, a draftstop wall may have been required, but maybe not even that.

    The fire separation between condos is the wall between them, the fire separation between condos and the common corridor is the wall between them, the fire separation between vertically stacked condos is the floor between them, and the fire separation between the top condo and the attic is the ceiling of the top condo.

    The best way to think of condos is you have a large box (the structure) and then you place smaller boxes (the condos) within it - the smaller boxes are made up from horizontal dividers (floors) and vertical dividers (walls) which are part of the structure. The condo owner owns "the air" inside the smaller boxes, and if you were to paint the inside of the smaller boxes, the condo owner would own "paint to paint" ... but NOT the walls, ceilings, or floors (floor covering, yes, but not the floors).

    That is why many people refer to condo owners as owning "paint to paint" - if they touch the drywall on the enclosing walls of the condo they are messing with "common property" and that is not allowed as they could easily screw up the fire-resistance rating of those walls.

    I have seen condos laid out where the condo owners do not even own the interior partition walls within the condo as the walls are chases and shafts for electrical, plumbing, fire standpipes, ducts, etc., you name it.

    One condo building design I inspected had one interior wall full of electrical feeder cables going up within the wall, and if one owner were to drive in a large nail to hang a picture there was a good probability that they would drive that large nail into one of the feeder cables ...

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    <snip>
    In most parts of the country, back in the 1970s, if it was a "townhouse" then it should have had a firewall.

    This is because townhouses are "separate structures" and should be able to stand alone.
    ...
    .
    I would like you to support your history with facts, because your characterization is not correct, neither by population nor area, as to the building codes of that era.

    I furthermore challenge that "because" conclusion you've made, as it is downright false. There is no such engineering or design requiring a townhome to "stand" despite a damaged or absent shared or party wall.

    Construction using party or common walls was common and legal. These were not necessarily "fire walls" but separation (assemblies) walls of prescribed (or tested fire resistant construction) of the time period. There were several "townhome" types, not all "row home" type either. These walls were NOT required to be 2-hour masonry constructed "fire walls" for the majority of the country (geographic area or by population) for the majority of the 70s.

    The migration of "townhomes" being covered by a one- and two-family residential code has been a relatively recent event.

    However, the poster is in California, and likely the questioned property is as well (and even more likely in a western state), the code basis of the region was UBC - which continued to prescribe "townhome" construction up until quite recently.

    I stand by my post.


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I furthermore challenge that "because" conclusion you've made, as it is downright false. There is no such engineering or design requiring a townhome to "stand" despite a damaged or absent shared or party wall.
    Watson, your ignorance is forgiven, your bullying to keep repeating and repeating yourself is not, neither is the fact that YOU DO NOT RESPOND in the manner in which you are requesting - YOU SIMPLY IGNORE REQUESTS for supporting code sections until the inquiring parties finally tire of asking for that documentation - not to worry, though, those various items pop up time and again - STILL WAITING FOR YOU TO DOCUMENT AND BACKUP what you say ... BUT YOU DON'T ...

    Nonetheless, though, ... AND THIS HAS BEEN POSTED BEFORE ... READ IT ... COMMIT IT TO MEMORY (if you still have such) ... THEN QUIT ASKING FOR STUFF YOU DO NOT GIVE.

    Watson ... ONE LAST TIME ... and for this item only, your other comments are being ignored as you simply do not, or cannot, pay attention:

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I furthermore challenge that "because" conclusion you've made, as it is downright false. There is no such engineering or design requiring a townhome to "stand" despite a damaged or absent shared or party wall.
    - R317.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building and shall be separated by fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies meeting the requirements of Section R302 for exterior walls.
    - - Exception: A common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. Electrical installations shall be installed in accordance with Chapters 33 through 42. Penetrations of electrical outlet boxes shall be in accordance with Section R317.3.

    - R317.2.4 Structural independence. Each individual townhouse shall be structurally independent.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Foundations supporting exterior walls or common walls.
    - - - 2. Structural roof and wall sheathing from each unit may fasten to the common wall framing.
    - - - 3. Nonstructural wall coverings.
    - - - 4. Flashing at termination of roof covering over common wall.
    - - - 5. Townhouses separated by a common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall as provided in Section R317.2.


    There are various options to achieve the above, but " R317.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building " and "Each individual townhouse shall be structurally independent.", within the given exceptions, which is almost always the case with the code to allow for various options.


    Watson, go take your meds (or stop taking those meds, whichever is the case) and go to bed ... it is well past your bed time.

    Then come back here WHEN YOU PROVIDE THE DOCUMENTATION AND CODE WHICH ARE ASKED OF YOU ... otherwise ... BUG OFF!

    "Watson, your ignorance is forgiven," ... on second thought - MAYBE NOT!


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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Peck, you're being a jackass and a pecker-head again.

    You are referencing a code that did not exist in the 1970s, and its predecessors did NOT ADDRESS TOWNHOME construction in that decade for the VAST MAJORITY of the geographic United States, as well as didn't apply to majority areas by population.

    Your pretention that a townhome must "stand" on its own, without benefit of a common wall, is false, then and now.

    Neither your citations, nor your conclusionary statements have any merit regards 1970s construction in CALIFORNIA, frankly just about anywhere in the midwest, west, and the central and NE states.


    There was no "FIRE WALL" required between townhomes. The party walls did NOT have to be ballooned, they could be frame construction. They required merely two layers of 5/8" gyp board each layer individually attached, taped and mudded, on each side. Where subfloor upon parallel wood joists against, blocked and stopped, and the voids in stud cavities filled with fiberglass batt. First floor joists from unfinished basement or crawl was not required to be covered ceiling side from same.


    A separation fire-resistant assembly was prescribed, as I DESCRIBED earlier, and can still be found at the most prior adoptions under the CBC which was UBC based. The BOCA codes also prescribed same even in the 80s, although by that time the assembly also required protection of the roof supporting assembly several feet out from the separation wall (NOT A FIRE WALL). These were built under the building code NOT a one-two family code all over the country in the 60s & 70s, and oftentimes with HUD and VA approval at the planning stages and throughout the construction to occupancy.


    I have seen you RANT, BULLY, and CARRY ON literally hundreds of times at posters on this forum and the site that immediately preceeded it for stating such and such was a fire wall, when it was not.


    You have not only claimed same but made stupendous statements that a townhome was and is required to "stand" on its own, i.e. free-standing, which is absolutely false.


    As usual in your furious typer and cut & paste mode you fail to even read what you claim supports your points, which don't actually say what you want them to say, no matter how much you snip, bold and underline.

    It rather reminds me of yet another such tantrum you've been throwing, and you still can't "get" the difference between the EDGE of a framing member and the SIDE of a framing member.

    Building "townhomes" under a one- and two-family residential code is a relatively NEWER concept - i.e. POST 1970s construction, especially in CALIFORNIA.

    A wood framed wall which may resist the spread of fire for a time period due to its gyp board covering, but when burst then burning up quickly is quite different than a masonry structural wall which does not burn, but when subjected to fire will weaken and deteriorate after a time and no longer be structurally sound.

    Again 1970s Townhomes were not required to be separated by FIRE WALLS.

    Moot, however, as I said before as pictured and described by the OP, a shared un-separated attic space accessible by both units would not have been a "townhome" construction under 1970s in CALIFORNIA.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-09-2011 at 09:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    So I went up into this 1970's townhouse attic yesterday and I noticed that the entire attic was open. Not only that, but there was accessibility to the adjacent unit. I would have knocked on their attic hatch if it wasnt 200 degrees in there, ...that would have been pretty funny.
    Anyhow, you can see their ducting etc... I guess my question is; under what circumstances would this ever be acceptable? If any.
    I started seeing this exact thing several years back, but only townhomes built in the '70s and only in one particular city. In my report and to the client I describe the problem and suggest verification of compliance with the local code jurisdiction. As I'm not a code inspector.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Watson,

    You are like the silent screen comedy players with their counterpart players: you stand there with your bowler hat on, someone walks up and asks for your hat, you hand your hat to them, they place a cream pie directly in your face, then hand you your hat, which you then put back on ... and stand there. That is what you look like at times.

    The above would be funny to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Again 1970s Townhomes were not required to be separated by FIRE WALLS.
    I am looking at the 1970 Uniform Building Code and Group I (Dwellings and lodging houses) are required to have 2 hour fire resistance rated exterior walls (and walls separating townhouses would be their "exterior" walls as the codes were not as explicit with fire walls, fire partitions, smoke partitions, etc., back then) when the separation was less than 20 feet.

    "Townhouses" were not recognized as "townhouses" back then, they were still classed as "buildings" and/or "structures" and were required to maintain that separation or have fire resistance rated wall separating the "separate" structures/buildings.

    Now, with condos, which were, and still are, one building, that would have been Group H in the 1970 UBC and Group H includes hotels and apartment homes, and, convents, monasteries (each accommodating more than 10 persons), their exterior walls were just that, the "exterior" walls as the structure/building was a single structure/building, and those exterior walls also 2 hour fire resistance rated if less than 20 feet separation to another structure.

    In condo, in the 1970, with "condos" being the same as "apartment homes", the separation between condos/apartments was none.

    Keep in mind the difference between "condos" and "townhouses".

    Moot, however, as I said before as pictured and described by the OP, a shared un-separated attic space accessible by both units would not have been a "townhome" construction under 1970s in CALIFORNIA.
    So you command and say, but that may not be correct (it may be correct, but not just because you said it, but because it 'should be' correct - it may NOT be correct because the AHJ MAY HAVE ALLOWED IT back then, unless they asked you for your permission? ), that photo actually MAY BE of a townhouse attic.

    We cannot control what WAS allowed and WAS NOT allowed BACK THEN.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    (underlining and bold are mine) ... now that I know what a "strata" is:


    Fire separation between attics in a condo are not required. The attic is a single attic of a single structure.

    The fire-resistance separation from a condo and the attic is the ceiling of the condo.



    They are not ignorant of the situation, it is just that the situation is not as you think it should be - they do not address no firewalls in the attic as no firewalls are required in the attic.

    Depending on the size of the attic and the code, a draftstop wall may have been required, but maybe not even that.
    Not to confuse the issue, but to add to it, Condominium buildings in my area have fire separation, taped drywall, in the attic cavities, which are accessible by hatches in the hallways or stairwells. That is why I comment on an older building which lacks this feature. The lack of a requirement shouldn't stop them from upgrading, IMO.
    So in my area, where condo buildings are wood frame, there is a requirement for separation of the attic space, where the attic consists of trussed roof structures over the fourth floor apartments, into smaller units, obviously to control the spread of fire.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Not to confuse the issue, but to add to it, Condominium buildings in my area have fire separation, taped drywall, in the attic cavities, which are accessible by hatches in the hallways or stairwells. That is why I comment on an older building which lacks this feature. The lack of a requirement shouldn't stop them from upgrading, IMO.
    So in my area, where condo buildings are wood frame, there is a requirement for separation of the attic space, where the attic consists of trussed roof structures over the fourth floor apartments, into smaller units, obviously to control the spread of fire.
    John,

    Are they located at the walls separating every condo from every other condo, and at the walls separating every condo from common areas (such as corridors), i.e., are there a few walls in the attic or is the attic chopped up to match the layout below?

    I suspect you are referring to the draftstop walls I referred to. 'Down here' and wherever the International codes are used or codes are based on them, you should find draftstop walls in the attic at 3,000 sf maximum spacing or two condo units maximum, and the draftstop walls should be located over the walls which separate units, thus, if all condos are 1,501 sf or larger, you should find the draftstop walls separating every condo, but the draftstop walls may include the common corridor if a unit plus the corridor is less than 3,000 sf.

    If the condos are 800 sf, you can still only have two condos within a draftstopped attic area.

    Not sure if I worded that clearly or not.

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    That's clear to me. yes, they are likely draftstop walls then. How do they differ from fire separation?

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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    That's clear to me. yes, they are likely draftstop walls then. How do they differ from fire separation?
    A fire separation wall is a continuous wall from the foundation to the roof (or through the roof with a minimum 18 inch parapet wall above the roof) with 4 feet of roof decking protected on each side of the firewall, and that does not allow for an 8 foot sheet of fire retardant plywood to be laid over the center of the wall as that would leave less than 4 feet to each side of the wall.

    The firewall would need, minimum, 1 layer of 5/8" Type X gypsum on each side, taped and sealed, and maybe 2 layers or more (depending on the hour rating of the wall), typically, though, a 1 hour wall is 1 layer each side of 2x4 studs, taped and sealed (nail/screw heads covered with drywall compound, but the drywall does not need to be finished).

    A draftstop wall is typically 1/2" gypsum board applied to one side, the joints are many times taped and sealed, sometimes the nail/screw heads are also covered with drywall compound.

    Not long ago someone posted a photo of a 'firewall' in a crawlspace with drywall on one side only, if that had been a condo, that may have been a draftstop wall, however, as I recall, that was a purportedly a townhouse which should have had a firewall, not sure if you recall that photo or not.

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    There remains today NO requirement that a townhome be structurally independant. The exeptions allow for a fire-resistive wall or prescribed assembly, and this has been the case even in the uniform building code at the vintage suggested by the OP. California's codes were very namby-pamby in the 70s, it was not nearly as organized later in the 80s, 90s, and now with their adoption of the IRC with california ammendments.


    The 2009 IRC's 302 addresses this as a prescribed 1-hour common wall referencing ASTM E119 or UL 263 tested assemblies. There have been a HOST of tested and approved assemblies over the years as the standards have developed. Even today there are a HOST of tested and approved assemblies which vary in construction details, materials, and specifics.


    If you were familiar with the prescribed specifications for the various assemblies, or the history of same, you might be familiar with the numerous specifications regarding the FACT that townhomes were not then, nor now ever REQUIRED to be Structurally Independent!.

    The Assemblies have material, design specifications and reference for example floor-ceiling assemblies and connections thereto.


    The rule is no plumbing, ventillation, etc. in the common wall assembly, electrical contained as prescribed and the specification is ONE HOUR, and IN NO WAY MUST BE STRUCTURALLY INDEPENDENT. At the time relevant to the OP, there were for example floor-ceiling assemblies designs (UL) specifying attachment, blocking, stopping as well as floor and ceiling finish. The common "wall" assemblies were completed as to exterior walls (i.e. insulation as well) still today this is 1-hour, NOT TWO-HOUR) when physical distance is less than five feet, with overhanging projections finished underside as per code and assembly specifications.


    A supposed quote is meaningless without a reference. As usual you have "cut and pasted" yourself to the point of fabrication.



    2009 unammended International Residential Code reads thusly:

    R302.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building and shall be separated by fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies meeting the requirements of Section R302.1 for exterior walls.

    Exception: A common 1-hour fire-resistance-rated wall assembly tested in accordance with ASTM E119 or UL 263 is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. The wall shall be rated for fire exposure from both sides and shall extend to and be tight against exterior walls and the underside of the roof sheathing. Electrical installations shall be installed in accordance with Chapters 34 through 43. Penetrations of electrical outlet boxes shall be in accordance with Section R302.4

    R302.2.1 Continuity. The fire-resistance-rated wall or assembly separating tounhouses shall be continuous from the foundation to the underside of the roof sheathing, deck or slab. The fire-resistance rating shall extend the full length of the wall or assembly, including wall extensions through and separating attached enclosed accessory structures.



    R302.2.2 Parapets. Parapets constructed in accordance with Section R302.2.3 shall be constructed for townhouses as an extension of exterior walls or common walls in accordance with the following:
    1. Where roof surfaces adjacent to the wall or walls are at the same elevation, the parapet shall extend not less than 30 inches (762 mm) above the lower roof, the parapet shall extend not less than 30 inches (762 mm) above the lower roof surface.


    2. where roof surfaces adjacent to the wall or walls are at different elevations and the higher roof is not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the lower roof, the parapet shall extend not loess than 30 inches (762 mm) above the lower roof surface.

    Exception: A parapet is not required in the two cases above when the roof is covered with a minimum class C roof covering, and the roof decking or sheathing is of noncombustible materials or approved fire-retardant-treated wood for a distance of 4 feet (1219 mm) on each side of the wall or walls, or one layer of 5/8-inch (15.9 mm) Type X gypsum board is installed directly beneath the roof decking or sheathing, supported by a minimum of nominal 2-inch (51 mm) ledgers attached to the sides of the roof framing members, for a minimum distance of 4 feet (1219 mm) on each side of the wall or walls.
    3. A parapet is not required where roof surfaces adjacent to the wall or walls are at different elevations and the higher roof is more than 30 inches (762 mm) abvoe the lower roof. The common wall construction from the lower roof to the underside of the higher roof deck shall have not less than a 1-hour fire-resistance rating. The wall shall be rated for exposure from both sides.



    {insert Table R302.1 Exterior walls}
    R302.2.3 Parapet construction. Parapets shall have the same fire-resistance rating as that required for the supporting wall or walls. On any side adjacent to a roof surface, the parapet shall have noncombustible faces for the uppermost 18 inches (457 mm), to include counterflashing and coping materials. Where the roof slopes toward a parapet at slopes greater than 2 units vertical in 12 units horizontal (16.7-percent slope), the parapet shall extend to the same height as any portion of the roof within a distance of 3 feet (914 mm), but in no case shall the height be less than 30 inches (762 mm).

    R302.2.4 Structural independence. Each individual townhouse shall be structurally indepenent.

    Exceptions:
    1. Foundations supporting exterior walls or common walls.
    2. Structural roof and wall sheathing from each unit may fasten to the common wall framing.
    3. Nonstructural wall and roof coverings.
    4. Flashing at termination of roof covering over common wall.
    5. Townhouses separated by a common 1-hour fire-resistance-rated wall as provided in Section R302.2.
    Perhaps you thought NOBODY would NOTICE - your hiding the facts. Structural independence is NOT required - NEITHER IS A 2-hour "fire wall" - DESPITE your having ALTERED the Code, and DISMISSING, MISQUOTING, and eliminating the EXCEPTIONS.

    Unfortunate you took the tact you did Mr. Peck, you have only yourself to blame, when you resort to modifying un-cited language.

    However, regarding the OP, this appears to be yet again another "condo" as I said BEFORE.


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-20-2011 at 10:51 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post

    Perhaps you thought NOBODY would NOTICE - your hiding the facts. Structural independence is NOT required - NEITHER IS A 2-hour "fire wall" - DESPITE your having ALTERED the Code, and DISMISSING, MISQUOTING, and eliminating the EXCEPTIONS.
    Watson,

    Obviously you cannot read, or chose not to read, otherwise you would noticed that I said there were, and posted the code for, the exceptions.

    I have added the larger text and red for you so that you will be able to find what I posted ... not sure if you can read it though as you seem to have a problem reading what is written.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    - R317.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building and shall be separated by fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies meeting the requirements of Section R302 for exterior walls.
    - - Exception: A common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. Electrical installations shall be installed in accordance with Chapters 33 through 42. Penetrations of electrical outlet boxes shall be in accordance with Section R317.3.

    - R317.2.4 Structural independence. Each individual townhouse shall be structurally independent.
    - - Exceptions:

    - - - 1. Foundations supporting exterior walls or common walls.
    - - - 2. Structural roof and wall sheathing from each unit may fasten to the common wall framing.
    - - - 3. Nonstructural wall coverings.
    - - - 4. Flashing at termination of roof covering over common wall.
    - - - 5. Townhouses separated by a common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall as provided in Section R317.2.





    There are various options to achieve the above, but " R317.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building " and "Each individual townhouse shall be structurally independent.", within the given exceptions, which is almost always the case with the code to allow for various options.



    I also said, and stand by, this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    Watson, go take your meds (or stop taking those meds, whichever is the case) and go to bed ... it is well past your bed time.


    Are you through with using your super larger text to make it easier for YOU to read?

    I think we ... which includes YOU ... should give the other readers of this board some respect and understand that THEY DO NOT NEED LARGE TEXT to be able to read things - just because you need that large text ... but even then you do not READ what is written.

    To all the other readers here: My apologies for having to treat Watson like a kindergartener, but that is what he seems to have digressed to.

    Now ... let us return the regular programming ... regular size type and in regular black color (think regular programming in black and white - the good old days).



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

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Peck,

    AGAIN YOU RESORT TO FAILING TO CITE YOUR SOURCE, AND ALTER 2006 or prior IRC. Try again there is no R317.2.4 in the California Code.

    TRY PROVING California ever adopted a residential code which had a section 317 which pertained to Fire-Resistant Construction! The citation is 302, WHICH PROVIDES (as Title 24, Part 2, 2007 did) for ONE-HOUR fire-separation assemblies (UL 263) or prescribed 1-hour construction and DO and DID NOT REQUIRE STRUCTURAL INDEPENDANCE of dwelling units!

    California utilizes 2009-based IRC language, ammended to Also require sprinklers. Prior to that California used UBC-based for ALL construction.

    R317 has been "Protection of WOOD and WOOD PRODUCTS FROM DECAY" since the 2009 edition, and it is also addressing such in California. California did NOT adopt 2006, 2003 or 2000 IRC language. The version of UBC language California adopted in its Statutes ALSO provided for the ONE-HOUR fire separation assembly (going back to before sprinklers being required as well).

    R302 is the citation RELATIVE TO CALIFORNIA. whenEVER one is referring to the IRC-based language (TITLE 24), with the establishment of PART 2.5).

    There IS NO 317.2.4 in Part 2.5 of Title 24.

    So...get your HEAD OUT OF YOUR A$$ and out of the 2006 International Residential Code (or any earlier edition of same) for it DOES NOT and NEVER DID APPLY TO the STATE of CALIFORNIA.

    Get real, Peck.

    Next time "fire up" the relevant CD and CITE YOUR SOURCE!

    Playing around with UNCITED and inapplicable editions of model code language WHICH DOES NOT APPLY NOW, nor EVER DID to the Original Topic Post, and/or The Original Poster's LOCATION, is CHILDISH and STUPID.


    2010 California Residential Code, Title 24, Part 2.5 (First Printing), Includes Errata/Supplement through January 1, 2011

    Chapter 3 - Building Planning

    SECTION R302 FIRE-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION

    R302.1 Exterior Walls

    R302.2 Townhouses

    R302.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building and shall be separated by fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies meeting the requirements of Section R302.1 for exterior walls.

    Exception: A common 1-hour fire-resistance-rated wall assembly tested in accordance with ASTM E 119 or UL 263 is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. The wall shall be rated for fire exposure from both sides and shall extend to and be tight against exterior walls and the underside of the roof sheathing. Electrical installations shall be installed in accordance with the California Electrical Code. Penetrations of electrical outlet boxes shall be in accordance with Section R302.4.

    Chapter 3 - Building Planning


    Note, Marc didn't mention if sprinklers were present, and no evidence of detection system in this concealed attic space were present in the photograph or described.

    R317.2 Reads Thusly in California:

    R317.2 Quality mark. Lumber and plywood required to be pressure-preservative-treated in accordance with Section R318.1 shall bear the quality mark of an approved inspection agency that maintains continuing supervision, testing and inspection over the quality of the product and that has been approved by an accreditation body that complies with the requirements of the American Lumber Standard Committee treated wood program.

    The next-most-prior applicable would be 2007 California Building Code, Title 24, Part 2, Chapter 7.

    It must be tough riding that high-horse with your head up your A$$.

    It was obvious you were quoting inapplicable code language from IRC 2006 or prior!

    It must be especially tough riding that high-horse with your foot in your mouth and your head (and foot) up your A$$.

    Link (State of California Site): History

    Chew on that, while I put a fork in ya.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-22-2011 at 11:49 AM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Watson,

    Obviously you cannot read, or chose not to read, otherwise you would noticed that I said there were, and posted the code for, the exceptions.

    I have added the larger text and red for you so that you will be able to find what I posted ... not sure if you can read it though as you seem to have a problem reading what is written.




    I also said, and stand by, this:



    Are you through with using your super larger text to make it easier for YOU to read?

    I think we ... which includes YOU ... should give the other readers of this board some respect and understand that THEY DO NOT NEED LARGE TEXT to be able to read things - just because you need that large text ... but even then you do not READ what is written.

    To all the other readers here: My apologies for having to treat Watson like a kindergartener, but that is what he seems to have digressed to.

    Now ... let us return the regular programming ... regular size type and in regular black color (think regular programming in black and white - the good old days).



    Peck,

    I can read what you wrote, apparently you cannot read.

    The language from 2000 Section 321, and the language from 2003 & 2006 Section 317 DID NOT EVER APPLY TO CAL-I-FORN-IA!

    2009 IRC as ammended by CALIFORNIA is what was adopted as Title 24 part 2.5.

    2009 IRC citations have been provided. California further modifies by excepting when protected by sprinklers.

    You GAVE YOURSELF AWAY insisting both that ALL townhomes must be structurally independant, (untrue), AND your instance that a "FIRE WALL" must separate units (untrue) and your continued insistance that a 2-hour assembly must separate units (UNTRUE).

    NEVER WAS THE "LAW" in California, and most especially, NOT IN THE 1970s.

    You one who harps constantly about an attached garage framed separation not being a "fire wall" should know better. More importantly, the 2000-2006 IRC didn't EXIST in the 1970s and HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH the OP.

    If the OP chooses to use 2009 or 2011 IRC as his inspection guide (2009 with california ammendments is ACTIVE), then at LEAST don't be BACKWARDS in time and STICK to the APPLICABLE PRESCRIBED REQUIREMENTS.






  33. #33
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Watson has gone over the edge this time ...

    He's like those yappy dogs and the EverReady Rabbit ... just goes on and on and on and ...

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

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    I worked for CMHC in the early 80's. According to The National Building Code of Canada, townhouses had the option of a 3/4 hour fire separation from foundation to underside roof sheathing, or a 1 hour fire separation across the entire ceiling of all units in that cluster.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The firewall would need, minimum, 1 layer of 5/8" Type X gypsum on each side, taped and sealed, and maybe 2 layers or more (depending on the hour rating of the wall), typically, though, a 1 hour wall is 1 layer each side of 2x4 studs, taped and sealed (nail/screw heads covered with drywall compound, but the drywall does not need to be finished).
    I'd add to that taping or "Fire Taping" as it is called in some areas, even though it is hidden, may be required behind wall finishing such as large tile, etc.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Watson has gone over the edge this time ...

    He's like those yappy dogs and the EverReady Rabbit ... just goes on and on and on and ...

    Thanks guys, needed a little comic relief this morning----looks like heavy rain.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    So I went up into this 1970's townhouse attic yesterday and I noticed that the entire attic was open. Not only that, but there was accessibility to the adjacent unit. I would have knocked on their attic hatch if it wasnt 200 degrees in there, ...that would have been pretty funny.
    Anyhow, you can see their ducting etc... I guess my question is; under what circumstances would this ever be acceptable? If any.
    Fire break must be continuous from the basement ( if any ) to the attic and extend out roof decking.
    2 hour fire break in attics.
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/?id...317&format=pdf

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
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  38. #38
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    After having taught the UBC, CABO One & Two Family Dwelling, and IRC codes for more than a span of 14 years Jerry Peck properly interpreted the codes regarding fire protection in both condos and townhouses that were applicable during the years cited.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Townhome attic

    No he didn't!

    1. 2009 IRC doesn't require a TWO hour separation, but a ONE hour separation.

    Jerry Peck carries on about the DISTINCTION WITH A DIFFERENCE between a "fire wall" and a "separation wall" but seems to have forgotten it when he FABRICATED citations.

    California code, and UBC, BOCA, etc. in the 1970s did NOT require a FIRE WALL between townhome units.

    IRC 2009 UNAMMENDED does NOT REQUIRE A FIRE WALL between townhome units.

    What IS required is a one hour SEPARATION wall - a fire resistive assembly.

    A FIRE WALL does NOT BURN, it retains its streangh for a timed period, then starts to fail structurally.

    A FIRE RESITIVE ASSEMBLY CAN BURN, after a proscribed period of having resisted fire.

    The TWO HOUR claim AND the claim that townhomes MUST "Stand on their own" is POPPLYCOCK! Wasn't the law of the land then, nor is it now, for townhomes.

    If same met or meets the restrictions as to contents, thru penetrations, electrical contained, cavity insulated, protected both sides, and INSULATED as per exterior wall requirements - it passes and passed then and now. ONE HOUR WAS and IS the RULE - and its a fire resistive assembly NOT a FIRE WALL.


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