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  1. #1
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    Default Is there any code issue with this?

    The main entryway to this first floor condo unit is under the stairs to the door. The head room is reduced at left side of walk at stringer as you can see. Is there a code issue with head clearance in this area. The clearance at the door is OK, but not "to" the door.

    They should have removed the half wall on the landing and made access straight to the door, but they wanted to get cute.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Yes, that is a code issue for minimum headroom.

    I see two easy solutions to it: reconfigure to enter from the front (easiest) or to enter from the right side (still allows the cutesy look and also creates a cutesy garden area under the stairs.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes, that is a code issue for minimum headroom.

    I see two easy solutions to it: reconfigure to enter from the front (easiest) or to enter from the right side (still allows the cutesy look and also creates a cutesy garden area under the stairs.
    Jerry,

    I can't find any reference to code issues - not in section R311?? Can you point me to a paragraph that states this is a code issue for minimum headroom? It certainly seems logical, just can't find any reference to it.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Ken,

    From the 2012 IRC: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - R311.1 Means of egress.
    - - All dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress as provided in this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior of the dwelling at the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage.

    (think of that from porch and stair as a hallway as that is effectively what it is)
    - R311.6 Hallways.
    - - The minimum width of a hallway shall be not less than 3 feet (914 mm).

    - R305.1 Minimum height.
    - - Habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, at least 50 percent of the required floor area of the room must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) and no portion of the required floor area may have a ceiling height of less than 5 feet (1524 mm).
    - - - - 2. Bathrooms shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) at the center of the front clearance area for fixtures as shown in Figure R307.1. The ceiling height above fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above a minimum area 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.
    - - R305.1.1 Basements.
    - - - Portions of basements that do not contain habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    - - - Exception: Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.

    And, if you want to go this way (it is included by the wording ):
    - R311.7.2 Headroom.
    - - The minimum headroom in all parts of the stairway shall not be less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) measured vertically from the sloped line adjoining the tread nosing or from the floor surface of the landing or platform on that portion of the stairway.
    - - - Exception: Where the nosings of treads at the side of a flight extend under the edge of a floor opening through which the stair passes, the floor opening shall be allowed to project horizontally into the required headroom a maximum of 43/4 inches (121 mm).

    Then there are these, albeit that the critical wording you are seeking is not at the section you are seeking it to be at:
    - R311.2 Egress door.
    - - At least one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches (813 mm) when measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). The minimum clear height of the door opening shall not be less than 78 inches (1981 mm) in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.

    - R311.3 Floors and landings at exterior doors.
    - - There shall be a landing or floor on each side of each exterior door. The width of each landing shall not be less than the door served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel. Exterior landings shall be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 1/4 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).
    - - - Exception: Exterior balconies less than 60 square feet (5.6 m2) and only accessible from a door are permitted to have a landing less than 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.
    - - - R311.3.1 Floor elevations at the required egress doors.
    - - - - Landings or finished floors at the required egress door shall not be more than 11/2 inches (38 mm) lower than the top of the threshold.
    - - - - - Exception: The landing or floor on the exterior side shall not be more than 73/4 inches (196 mm) below the top of the threshold provided the door does not swing over the landing or floor.
    - - - - Where exterior landings or floors serving the required egress door are not at grade, they shall be provided with access to grade by means of a ramp in accordance with Section R311.8 or a stairway in accordance with Section R311.7.

    - R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.
    - - Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the finished floor to the bottom of the clear opening. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
    - - - Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

    You are looking for this wording "Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way." except that you are looking for it at the required egress door, not at EERO. Could the code be changed to clearly state what you are looking for? Yep, you bet - it sure would be expected that the Required Egress Door would specifically state that the Means of Egress Exit (the required egress door) " ... shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way."

    You can rest assured that our resident Troll will respond as he typically does about this ... (sigh)

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Ken,

    I thought of a simpler way to state it:
    - You egress through the required egress door to an open porch ... surrounded by a railing which meets minimum requirements of greater than 36" high - it's 84" high - and no gate ... do you really consider that outside the dwelling?

    Of course not!

    Neither is that front porch with the head banger staircase ...



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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ken,

    From the 2012 IRC: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - R311.1 Means of egress.
    - - All dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress as provided in this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior of the dwelling at the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage.

    Nothing specific about height.

    (think of that from porch and stair as a hallway as that is effectively what it is)
    - R311.6 Hallways.
    - - The minimum width of a hallway shall be not less than 3 feet (914 mm).

    - R305.1 Minimum height.
    - - Habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).

    Not habitable space. - Test -- "Not included in sq. footage."
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, at least 50 percent of the required floor area of the room must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) and no portion of the required floor area may have a ceiling height of less than 5 feet (1524 mm).
    - - - - 2. Bathrooms shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) at the center of the front clearance area for fixtures as shown in Figure R307.1. The ceiling height above fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above a minimum area 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.
    - - R305.1.1 Basements.
    - - - Portions of basements that do not contain habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    - - - Exception: Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.

    And, if you want to go this way (it is included by the wording ):
    - R311.7.2 Headroom.
    - - The minimum headroom in all parts of the stairway shall not be less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) measured vertically from the sloped line adjoining the tread nosing or from the floor surface of the landing or platform on that portion of the stairway.
    - - - Exception: Where the nosings of treads at the side of a flight extend under the edge of a floor opening through which the stair passes, the floor opening shall be allowed to project horizontally into the required headroom a maximum of 43/4 inches (121 mm).

    Not in a stairway

    Then there are these, albeit that the critical wording you are seeking is not at the section you are seeking it to be at:
    - R311.2 Egress door.
    - - At least one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches (813 mm) when measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). The minimum clear height of the door opening shall not be less than 78 inches (1981 mm) in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.

    Nothing specific here.
    - R311.3 Floors and landings at exterior doors.
    - - There shall be a landing or floor on each side of each exterior door. The width of each landing shall not be less than the door served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel. Exterior landings shall be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 1/4 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).
    - - - Exception: Exterior balconies less than 60 square feet (5.6 m2) and only accessible from a door are permitted to have a landing less than 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.
    - - - R311.3.1 Floor elevations at the required egress doors.
    - - - - Landings or finished floors at the required egress door shall not be more than 11/2 inches (38 mm) lower than the top of the threshold.
    - - - - - Exception: The landing or floor on the exterior side shall not be more than 73/4 inches (196 mm) below the top of the threshold provided the door does not swing over the landing or floor.
    - - - - Where exterior landings or floors serving the required egress door are not at grade, they shall be provided with access to grade by means of a ramp in accordance with Section R311.8 or a stairway in accordance with Section R311.7.

    - R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.
    - - Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the finished floor to the bottom of the clear opening. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
    - - - Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

    You are looking for this wording "Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way." except that you are looking for it at the required egress door, not at EERO. Could the code be changed to clearly state what you are looking for? Yep, you bet - it sure would be expected that the Required Egress Door would specifically state that the Means of Egress Exit (the required egress door) " ... shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way."

    Nothing specific here either.

    You can rest assured that our resident Troll will respond as he typically does about this ... (sigh)
    I think logic should prevail, but in a "court of law" - I'm not convinced you proved your point. You just provided a lot of verbiage with no meat. -- SORRY but not convinced. (I do appreciate the response and effort though)

    Ken Amelin
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    I think logic should prevail, but in a "court of law" - I'm not convinced you proved your point. You just provided a lot of verbiage with no meat. -- SORRY but not convinced. (I do appreciate the response and effort though)
    It is specific - you're just not reading what is written, you are only reading what you've heard in the past.

    On my phone now, will reply in better detail later.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    What is the headroom above the walk ?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    The main entryway to this first floor condo unit ...
    Ken,

    First thing is to clarify what you said and not what I took it to mean based on your question (me bad):
    - You said "condo unit" ... I was thinking "townhouse" because you were asking about the exterior items and therefore provided code references applicable to townhouses ... not condos.

    So ... before I go through the photo showing you the items related to the code references I gave, if it is a "condo" those references are not applicable anyway (better code references are applicable).

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    While awaiting Ken's clarification on that being a "condo" - any one know what the drawing is showing (what it is called)?

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Why would it make a difference being a condo? Condominium is a type of ownership and can be anything form a single detached dwelling to a townhouse, apartment building, commercial space, etc.

    Regardless of the type of building, why would being owned by a condo have an effect on clearances other than needing more exits for larger buildings?

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ... - any one know what the drawing is showing (what it is called)?
    Entry way?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    Why would it make a difference being a condo?
    Jerry posted the code from the IRC, however, the IBC would apply.
    IBC may have different requirements for this issue.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    It is a condominium unit, not a townhouse. Four units in each building, 2 on first level, 2 on second level. Multiple buildings in complex with same entry configuration.

    The landing is only the 3X3 (approx) at entry door. The other PT wood is a walkway on grade to the landing and not a two level landing.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Entry way?
    Stair.

    Not sure?

    If needed, I can post the code definitions.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Without having read Jim's post for content and accuracy - the IBC would be the code applicable to condos, and, yes, the IBC has very specific definitions for each component of the egress - which is why I said there are better code references for condos.

    (Takes a lot to make more detailed responses from my phone, so that will wait. )

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Ken - Why does it have to be a code issue ? If the low headroom issue is brought to the buyers attention , you have done your job.
    That being said - It appears that these buildings are old enough to have been constructed under the MA building code . That code has references to headroom in the means of egress. I clearly remember an issue with the City of Boston on an egress to the street from the rear yard of a row house that only had 77 1/2 inches of headroom. We had to dig out the walkway to gain 1/2 inch of headroom.

    If you need a code to hang your hat on try the fire code.
    [B]SECTION 1003 GENERAL MEANS OF EGRESS [B]

    [B] 1003.1 Applicability.
    The general requirements specified in Sections 1003 through 1013 shall apply to all three elements of the means of egress system, in addition to those specific requirements for the exit access, the exit and the exit discharge detailed elsewhere in this chapter.

    1003.2 Ceiling height.
    The means of egress shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches (2286 mm).


    1003.3 Protruding objects.
    Protruding objects shall comply with the requirements of Sections 1003.3.1 through 1003.3.4.
    Jim,

    Thanks! - That's perfect - answers my question. I don't have any reason to site code to clients, just curious. I couldn't find reference in IRC section 311. so that's why I asked.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    From the 2012 IBC:

    1003.2 Ceiling height.*
    The*means of egress*shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches (2286 mm).*
    Exceptions:*
    1. Sloped ceilings in accordance with*Section 1208.2.2. Ceilings of*dwelling units*and*sleeping units*within residential occupancies in accordance with*Section 1208.2.3. Allowable projections in accordance with*Section 1003.3.4.*Stair*headroom in accordance with*Section 1009.5.5. Door height in accordance with*Section 1008.1.1.6.*Ramp*headroom in accordance with*Section 1010.6.2.7. The clear height of floor levels in vehicular and pedestrian traffic areas in parking garages in accordance with*Section 406.4.1.8. Areas above and below*mezzanine*floors in accordance with*Section 505.2.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    I like the idea of suggesting moving the access to the right as I'm willing to bet you're one or two inches short of the 36" requirement for a landing/access/egress in front of the main/front door. I count six 2x6s plus a narrow ripping (much) less than 3" in width.

    This impacts your client's condo only marginally but the stair stringer above isn't even close to full bearing. I don't see any splitting so it is not an immediate issue, and most likely never will become one.

    Lastly, I wish good luck to your client in their dealings with the HOA to have these issues resolved, even if they, your clients, offer to pay for everything themselves.

    Regarding another post or two concerning condos and townhouses, one poster was correct in saying condominium is a form of ownership, not a type of structure, and there are many townhouses that are CID/condominia.


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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by CoronadoBruin View Post
    Regarding another post or two concerning condos and townhouses, one poster was correct in saying condominium is a form of ownership, not a type of structure, and there are many townhouses that are CID/condominia.
    Condos, like apartments, is a former of ownership - that is quite correct, however, when one says "condo" people think of an individual unit ... like when one says apartment people think of an individual unit.

    Condo buildings, like apartment buildings, are under the Building Code, not the Residential Code.

    Townhouses, on the other hand are under the Residential Code.

    One can live in an area where each structure is a Townhouse (owns the land below) but which is in a condominium association which has rules and regulations requiring/limiting aspects of the Townhouse - those Townhouses are under the Residential Code.

    One can live in an area which appears exactly like the above except that the 'townhouse' structure is on common land and is owned by the condominium association - those are under the Building Code.

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    As a builder of CID developments, including detached SFRs, townhouses and apartment-style condos, I know you to be correct, and when I call for inspections, the residential inspector comes out for the SFRs and the commercial inspector comes out for the multi-family. That throws some people for a loop and, if I'm using a new subcontractor on a particular project, I have to be careful that I know of his knowledge and capabilities regarding the differences. The sub may know but often that doesn't translate to the field with the employees. A case in point is where California still does not allow PVC or ABS waste lines in structures exceeding two stories in multi-family housing, Type III or V, CID or apartment, and yet 90% of the field plumbing foremen will say otherwise.

    In addition to that, AHJ will cross-pollinate on inspections of attached housing (townhouse) and two-story condos and apartments though that tends to be residential inspectors in my neighborhood (San Diego).

    I'm on the West Coast, where the nomenclature regarding condos and apartments is sometimes slightly different than, say, the northeast, e.g., people in New York will call an apartment-style condo an apartment but out here we just call it a condo, so I'm guessing that's why the one poster used the word condo.

    Also, is that development in the photo new enough to have a solid stair riser required?

    Came across this site late at night when I couldn't sleep and now I find the questions interesting when they come through my email. It challenges my knowledge of the codes.


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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by CoronadoBruin View Post
    In addition to that, AHJ will cross-pollinate on inspections of attached housing (townhouse) and two-story condos and apartments though that tends to be residential inspectors in my neighborhood (San Diego).
    We do that here in Florida too ... as long as the inspectors are multiple licensed for all trades and multiple licensed for residential and commercial - most inspectors are not multiple licensed for all trades and/or not multiple licensed for residential and commercial.

    There are a few of us here in Florida (few in relation to the number of inspectors here) who are licensed in all trades and licensed in commercial and residential - those of us who are get to "cross-pollinate on inspections" as you put it.

    In Florida, in addition to having separate licenses for each trade and for residential and commercial, there is also a separate certification/license to be able to inspect schools/universities/educational facilities, I also have that and inspect schools on occasion, so I guess I "cross-pollinate on inspections" all over?

    Glad to have you on board with your knowledge, we need knowledgeable people here - we all learn from each other as none of us "knows it all".

    Is there a name to go with "CoronadoBruin"?

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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Yes...

    Stephen Morison
    California Contractor's License #749301, B-1


    CoronadoBruin has pretty much become my screen name on every web site, B2B or otherwise, as I did my undergrad work at UCLA.


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    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    CoronadoBruin AKA Stephen Morison (or should that be vice-versa),

    Welcome aboard.


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

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    WESTMINSTER CO
    Posts
    1,088

    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    JERRY stay away from Jim this guy is he a blister on an ass, and let it not be mine or yours--hopefully he will go away--Watson did CVF


  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    JERRY stay away from Jim this guy is he a blister on an ass, and let it not be mine or yours--hopefully he will go away--Watson did CVF


    Charlie,

    Advise I am already following, albeit it has been difficult today to not point out his errors in his posts, but ... so far ... I have been able to ignore his posts and his incorrect statements as ... what is that saying? ... Oh, yeah, he knows not what he is talking about. Hopefully most, if not all the others here understand him like you and the others do.

    Mum's the word.

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

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    WESTMINSTER CO
    Posts
    1,088

    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    THANKS JERRY--MAYBE BRIAN WILL say something--cvf


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Is there any code issue with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    THANKS JERRY--MAYBE BRIAN WILL say something--cvf
    Charlie,

    If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it ... does it still make a noise? (Yeah, I know, that's an old saying. )

    If someone makes a post and no one responds ... does the post actually exist?

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

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