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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Atlanta, Georgia
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    Default Vertical site built Ladder

    Main attic access was through a 32 wide door in the back of a closet. There was a site built vertical ladder nailed to the wall framing to access the upper attic where the HVAC was located.

    I have seen vertical ladders for access to commercial roofs but was wondering if there was any problem with having a vertical ladder in a residential environment?

    There was a 2x4 screwed flat to the deck of upper attic. There was a 2x6 screwed flat to the 2x4 to create a grip when the ladder ends and you need something to pull yourself up and over.

    I remember a post that had a similar setup but in that case you also had to climb over a water heater, hang by one arm and swing over to another point or some other series of convoluted steps. It was generally agreed that particular situation did not constitute access. I searched and was not able to find the old post.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    2,797

    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Drywall screws, by any chance?

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    I know of nothing which would allow a ladder like that. At a minimum it would need cleats between the rungs.

    That said, if a ladder was to be allowed, it would, in my opinion, have to meet the requirements for permanent ladders to roof mounted HVAC equipment.

    From the 2006 IMC.
    - 306.5 Equipment and appliances on roofs or elevated structures. Where equipment and appliances requiring access are installed on roofs or elevated structures at a height exceeding 16 feet (4877 mm), such access shall be provided by a permanent approved means of access, the extent of which shall be from grade or floor level to the equipment and appliances’ level service space. Such access shall not require climbing over obstructions greater than 30 inches (762 mm) high or walking on roofs having a slope greater than 4 units vertical in 12 units horizontal (33-percent slope).
    - Permanent ladders installed to provide the required access shall comply with the following minimum design criteria:
    - - 1. The side railing shall extend above the parapet or roof edge not less than 30 inches (762 mm).
    - - 2. Ladders shall have rung spacing not to exceed 14 inches (356 mm) on center.
    - - 3. Ladders shall have a toe spacing not less than 6 inches (152 mm) deep.
    - - 4. There shall be a minimum of 18 inches (457 mm) between rails.
    - - 5. Rungs shall have a minimum 0.75-inch (19 mm) diameter and be capable of withstanding a 300-pound (136.1 kg) load.
    - - 6. Ladders over 30 feet (9144 mm) in height shall be provided with offset sections and landings capable of withstanding 100 pounds (488.2 kg/m2) per square foot.
    - - 7. Ladders shall be protected against corrosion by approved means.
    - Catwalks installed to provide the required access shall be not less than 24 inches (610 mm) wide and shall have railings as required for service platforms.
    - - Exception: This section shall not apply to Group R-3 occupancies.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,479

    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    - - Exception: This section shall not apply to Group R-3 occupancies.

    Uh... wouldn't that make it ok?

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Bruce,

    I have pulled those rungs as such right off the wall when trying to access one of those type ladders.

    After falling the last time several feet and luckily landing on some decking instead of in between the ceiling rafters, I made the decision then they are not safe to use.

    I can't understand how they can be approved for access to mechanical equipment. How is a man to get a new unit up a ladder as such or remove equipment. Poor design I say.

    rick


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    1,741

    Cool Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Never trust anybody who says, "trust me." and never trust a home made ladder!

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    From the 2006 IMC.

    - - Exception: This section shall not apply to Group R-3 occupancies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Uh... wouldn't that make it ok?
    Gunnar,

    First, notice that the reference is from the IMC, not the IRC.

    Second, that exception exempts Group R-3 from the requirement to have a permanent ladder for roof mounted mechanical equipment.

    If you noticed, I stated "That said, if a ladder was to be allowed, it would, in my opinion, have to meet the requirements for permanent ladders to roof mounted HVAC equipment.". That is because the IRC does not address "vertical ladders to access mechanical equipment", thus I used a reference which does address ladders to access mechanical equipment.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    I see those so called ladders fairly often. Most of the time an HVAC or water heater is up on that top section. And most of the time you have no room to place a real ladder to access that area!

    The exciting part with a ladder like the one in the picture is when you attempt to get down, that is if you were able to get up in the first place!

    Unsafe equals that it was not inspected by me!

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,643

    Cool Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    OSHA requires a ladder be set at a 4:1 ratio rise/run or about 75 degrees. At this pitch, a person can climb the ladder with one hand on the ladder and one hand holding a work piece. Where a ladder is steeper than this, you must have fall protection. That loft up there needs two railings in order for a tech to work up there.
    HTH,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Vertical site built Ladder

    Bob,

    Speaking of railings, check out the pics below.

    There was a railing around the attic opening. As I was entering the attic, I grabbed ahold of this thinking it was secured enough. When I pulled on the framing a bit, I then realized it was not.

    Luckily, I did not fall.

    Also notice the airborne cable wiring across the catwalk and the opening around the fireplace flue. They had tried to use OSB around the firestop. Someone else had stepped on it I quess while getting into the attic. I know someones leg had to go right through that opening.

    rick

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