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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
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    2,303

    Default Townhouse Fire separation.

    I inspected a townhouse the other day and found single layer of OSB in the attic separating the units, one wall also has holes in it. The building was built in 1999 and I wrote it up as not having fire separation in the attic. The home owners assn. wrote back to my client:

    "Good afternoon. I talked to the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement today and they would like to know the code passage that is being questioned in the inspection. As I stated last week, these units were all built to code and we have never had this question come up on any other sales of units.

    Thanks.

    Bryan"

    Am I crazy or have I seen tapped drywall in every other multi-family that is less than 20 years old?

    Any help with how to reply would be appreciated.

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    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Townhouse Fire separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I inspected a townhouse the other day and found single layer of OSB in the attic separating the units, one wall also has holes in it. The building was built in 1999 and I wrote it up as not having fire separation in the attic. The home owners assn. wrote back to my client:

    "Good afternoon. I talked to the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement today and they would like to know the code passage that is being questioned in the inspection. As I stated last week, these units were all built to code and we have never had this question come up on any other sales of units.

    Thanks.

    Bryan"

    Am I crazy or have I seen tapped drywall in every other multi-family that is less than 20 years old?

    Any help with how to reply would be appreciated.
    You are correct ... for most parts of this great country of ours, however, some places, quite possibly such as NC did not adopt building codes, or much of a building code, until recently, and some places still have not adopted much of a building code.

    My response to Bryan would be something to the effect of: "Bryan, please have the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement provide the code which was in effect at the time of construction (name of the code and year edition). They should have a copy in archive, and I will gladly stop by and look through that code to verify how fire separation of townhouses was addressed in that code. However, I am aware that most codes since the 1980s, and even earlier, required a fire separation wall between townhouse units. I look forward to the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement response and reviewing the code which was in effect at the time of construction. Thank you, YFPITAI" (Your Friendly Pain In The A$$ Inspector".)

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Townhouse Fire separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You are correct ... for most parts of this great country of ours, however, some places, quite possibly such as NC did not adopt building codes, or much of a building code, until recently, and some places still have not adopted much of a building code.

    My response to Bryan would be something to the effect of: "Bryan, please have the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement provide the code which was in effect at the time of construction (name of the code and year edition). They should have a copy in archive, and I will gladly stop by and look through that code to verify how fire separation of townhouses was addressed in that code. However, I am aware that most codes since the 1980s, and even earlier, required a fire separation wall between townhouse units. I look forward to the CTAC Department of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement response and reviewing the code which was in effect at the time of construction. Thank you, YFPITAI" (Your Friendly Pain In The A$$ Inspector".)
    Awsum,

    This is the first unit I have seen like this, most even have the drywall on the underside of the roof for 4' back into the attic. (You don't mind if I leave off the YFPITAI do you?)

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Townhouse Fire separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    This is the first unit I have seen like this, most even have the drywall on the underside of the roof for 4' back into the attic.
    You mean like they should have.

    The wall between the units, even in the attic, probably should be a 2 hour rated wall, not just a 1 hour rated wall, and that wall should extend from the bottom to the underside of the roof sheathing and the 4 feet out as you described, or, penetrate through the roof and be a minimuim 18" parapet wall above the roof.

    (You don't mind if I leave off the YFPITAI do you?)

    What? And leave the good part out - oh the horrors ... (of course not, change it as you wish ).

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
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    Default Re: Townhouse Fire separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You mean like they should have.

    The wall between the units, even in the attic, probably should be a 2 hour rated wall, not just a 1 hour rated wall, and that wall should extend from the bottom to the underside of the roof sheathing and the 4 feet out as you described, or, penetrate through the roof and be a minimuim 18" parapet wall above the roof.




    What? And leave the good part out - oh the horrors ... (of course not, change it as you wish ).
    I have forwarded the 1997 code section to the Realtor. With six units per building and at least four buildings, I suspect the HOA will wish they had just sent someone into the attic with some drywall to shut me up.

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    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Townhouse Fire separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    ... I suspect the HOA will wish they had just sent someone into the attic with some drywall to shut me up.
    Yep! A big 10-4 on that.

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

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