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Thread: Railings or not

  1. #1
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    Default Railings or not

    This was approved by a local AHJ. Do you think a rail should be required? The height was only 24" at the top landing.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Bombardiere View Post
    This was approved by a local AHJ. Do you think a rail should be required?
    "Should" be for safety or "should" be for code? Not required for code, but certainly "should" be for safety.

    The height was only 24" at the top landing.
    I'm having a problem with that part though:

    Three risers, 24" height ...
    - (from the 2006 IRC)
    - - R311.5.3 Stair treads and risers.
    - - - R311.5.3.1 Riser height.
    The maximum riser height shall be 73/4 inches (196 mm). The riser shall be measured vertically between leading edges of the adjacent treads. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm).



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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Jerry, I was just rounding it off. It was not a full 24". It was about 23 1/2" so it is off about 1/4 to 3/8". I did not measure the risers as I usually can tell by walking them if they are off. I did recommend that they add one for safety reasons. The builder of course said he did not have to. I just wanted to see if there was something I was not thinking about with this configuration that might require railings in the code.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Frank,

    Always measure the riser heights and tread depth, as well as the other requirements for stairways. You will find nary a one (stairway) which is constructed properly (well, okay, you might find a few one and two step stairways which are okay, but that's about it), and remember, stairways are one of the leading trip and fall causes in the house, so, when they trip and fall and (here is that dreaded phrase) *their home inspector said they were okay*, or even, *their home inspector did not say anything about the riser being too high ... *, that is when they call an attorney and the attorney calls you.

    I always measured every riser height, every tread depth, tread slope, stairway width, guard (rail), handrail, landing, etc., and documented it all, in my report and with photos.

    How did the builders fix them? Most did not, but some did - a few even tore the stairways completely out and re-built them, the others just gave my client money or threw in some options are no additional cost.

    7-3/4 + 7-3/4 + 7-3/4 = 23-1/4 *maximum* to the landing ... provided you are measuring from a level floor. That garage floor may have had a slope, say 1/8" per foot, with that being somewhere about 8 feet long, that would be a 1" drop, meaning that if the height went up 1" to 24-1/4, that would still be okay. Chances are, based on the sloping floor and your 23-1/2" height, you are probably okay on maximum riser height, but maybe not on variation. Those measurements, depending (of course) on where you measure the lowest riser and the landing, the farther apart the more sloping floor, the better.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-05-2009 at 07:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Bombardiere View Post

    I did recommend that they add one for safety reasons.

    The builder of course said he did not have to
    .
    .
    .
    Ye ow !!!

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Frank;

    This is what I put in my reports when that condition exists:

    'Although not required, you should consider adding railing to assist in walking the steps and to prevent fall.'

    Jerry's right; most steps do not meet code. Exterior steps are the worst- either a short step or a high steps is at the bottom while a high steps is at the top and most are uneven risers.

    FYI- NJ allows risers to be 8 1/4 inches. Homebuilders fought for this one hard years ago.

    Last edited by Darren Miller; 02-06-2009 at 04:02 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    I need to clarify something:

    In NJ, 8 1/4 inch risers are allowed on residential (IRC) only.

    All others (IBC) 'Stair riser heights shall be 7 inches maximum and 4 inches minimum.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Bombardiere View Post
    This was approved by a local AHJ. Do you think a rail should be required? The height was only 24" at the top landing.
    Frank: No rail is required. Risers are almost certainly non-compliant. Pull-down stair unit is required to be fire-rated.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Pull-down stair unit is required to be fire-rated.

    Aaron,

    You mean: "covered with 1/2" gypsum board", right?

    Unless the ceiling is a "fire-rated assembly" (as opposed to "separation consisting of 1/2" gypsum board") it would useless to install a "fire-rated" pull-down stair.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    That "should have" (not required) a guard the entire way, but it at least "should have" (not required) a railing on the two sides of the landing.

    I can see walking out that door carrying stuff and ... not turning in time ... falling off the landing straight out from the door.

    Likewise, I can see the reverse, carrying stuff up that stair, you are forced to turn at the intermediate landing, then not turning in time for the door at the upper landing ... falling off the far side of the landing.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    You mean: "covered with 1/2" gypsum board", right?
    JP: No, because the units are not designed to accept the additional weight and still function as intended as per Memphis Folding Stairs, et al.

    Unless the ceiling is a "fire-rated assembly" (as opposed to "separation consisting of 1/2" gypsum board") it would useless to install a "fire-rated" pull-down stair.
    JP: You split hairs here, and unnecessarily so. While it is true that there is a difference between the requirement for a fire separation and a fire rating, there are essentially only two types of pull-down stair units manufactured: those that are neither fire-rated nor approved as a part of a fire separation assembly, and those that are fire-rated and can be used in either instance.

    So, you can screw a piece of drywall to yours if you want. In my service area I call for fire-rated units and have the ICC opinion to support this opinion.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You split hairs here, and unnecessarily so.
    Aaron,

    That's not "splitting hairs", there is a HUGE difference between a non-fire-rated pull-down stair and a fire-rated pull-down stair.

    It may called "splitting sequoias" but not certainly not "splitting hairs".

    While it is true that there is a difference between the requirement for a fire separation and a fire rating, there are essentially only two types of pull-down stair units manufactured: those that are neither fire-rated nor approved as a part of a fire separation assembly, and those that are fire-rated and can be used in either instance.

    So, you can screw a piece of drywall to yours if you want. In my service area I call for fire-rated units and have the ICC opinion to support this opinion.
    Have you contacted all pull-down stair manufacturers and asked them? What was their answer?

    Here is an ICC supportable opinion too: You can use a 4 hour fire-rated door for your house front door, or from the garage to the house. Yep, you sure CAN. Don't have to, but it "meets or exceeds" the minimum requirements of the code.

    So, having an ICC opinion which says "Yep, you sure can use a fire-rated pull-down stair where one is not required." means little - sure, 'you sure can', but 'you do not have to'.

    Here is a better solution, and I've seen it done - you know, for those pull-down stairs which do not want you to attach a piece of 1/2" gypsum board to it - frame out around the pull-down stair in the attic high enough to lay a 1/2" piece of gypsum board over it and the stairs not hit it. The 1/2" gypsum board lays on trim around the inside of the frame, creating a retainer for the gypsum board and a full 3/4" surface around the gypsum board for the gypsum board to lay on, I've even seen them with 4 hook-and-eyes installed to hold the gypsum in place (to resist high winds from sucking it up).

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    We have yet to allow pull down stairs(ladder) in our area because no one has produced one that is fire rated.

    The 1/2" gypsum is not an option because the units are not designed for use with that extra weight. Often 5/8" sheetrock is required when a finished room projects into the garage area leaving only a partial but usable attic. This added weight is unacceptable and certainly not "approved" by the AHJ or any of his inspectors. Others have tried to use bolts outside the perimeter of the pulldown but large gaps are left behind. Very poor choice.

    As far as the steps in question, I have yet to see a ruler on the steps to get actual measurements and do not know if they have local code ammendments that cover this issue. Pennsylvania has ammendments for rise/run requirements similar to that of Jersey which Darren has pointed out.

    It is an ugly setup but less than 30". Since you are not there for code inspections, you can simply write it up as you see fit for safety reasons. Only the AHJ can force the builder to change the setup, not you anyway. Your job ends when you have reported your opinion to your client.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    That's not "splitting hairs", there is a HUGE difference between a non-fire-rated pull-down stair and a fire-rated pull-down stair.
    JP: You purposely have misquoted me and injected your own scenario as your usual red herring approach. Your post stated nothing about the stairs and everything about the assembly. I stated everything about the stairs and nothing about the assembly. Nice try, but no go.

    Have you contacted all pull-down stair manufacturers and asked them? What was their answer?
    JP: Yes I have and they all say no screwing stuff to their units like drywall.

    So, having an ICC opinion which says "Yep, you sure can use a fire-rated pull-down stair where one is not required." means little - sure, 'you sure can', but 'you do not have to'.
    The opinion I acquired states "shall have", not maybe-ought-to-in-a-rose-colored-glasses sort of world.

    Here is a better solution, and I've seen it done - you know, for those pull-down stairs which do not want you to attach a piece of 1/2" gypsum board to it - frame out around the pull-down stair in the attic high enough to lay a 1/2" piece of gypsum board over it and the stairs not hit it. The 1/2" gypsum board lays on trim around the inside of the frame, creating a retainer for the gypsum board and a full 3/4" surface around the gypsum board for the gypsum board to lay on, I've even seen them with 4 hook-and-eyes installed to hold the gypsum in place (to resist high winds from sucking it up).
    JP: You can, and I have even seen a couple of Rube Goldberg attempts at this. Problem is that you then create a very tall last riser at the top of the unit which is not compliant and not safe.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You purposely have misquoted me and injected your own scenario as your usual red herring approach. Your post stated nothing about the stairs and everything about the assembly. I stated everything about the stairs and nothing about the assembly. Nice try, but no go.
    Nope, did not misquote you.

    *You* brought up "fire-rated" pull-down stairs instead of non-fire-rated pull-down stairs, so I switch to that topic as well.

    Just following you as your make your turns.

    JP: Yes I have and they all say no screwing stuff to their units like drywall.
    Excellent information.

    The opinion I acquired states "shall have", not maybe-ought-to-in-a-rose-colored-glasses sort of world.
    Wait a minute ... "shall have" is a very specific statement ... regardless what color glasses you are wearing, or whether or not you are even wearing glass. It either is "shall have" or it is not, and, if not, then it is 'sure, no problem you can use that TOO'.

    Care to share that opinion with us and post it here?

    JP: You can, and I have even seen a couple of Rube Goldberg attempts at this. Problem is that you then create a very tall last riser at the top of the unit which is not compliant and not safe.
    Not if done correctly.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Nope, did not misquote you.
    JP: And, no doubt you never would.

    Just following you as your make your turns.
    JP: Good luck. I've been trying to do that for 56 years and have not been successful.

    Care to share that opinion with us and post it here?
    JP: Sure. What's it worth?


    Not if done correctly.
    JP: It's cheaper to buy the real thing . . .


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Sure. What's it worth?
    What is it worth?

    Hmmmm ... let's see ... supporting what you said?


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What is it worth?

    Hmmmm ... let's see ... supporting what you said?
    JP: You would lie for a code opinion? How about instead you answer my question which I sent you this morning regarding kitchen appliances?


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What is it worth?

    Hmmmm ... let's see ... supporting what you said?
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You would lie for a code opinion?
    Not quite sure where you get that from. You made a statement, confirmed your statement by stating it again, all that is missing now is "backup" supporting your statement.

    How you get "lie" out of that is beyond me.

    How about instead you answer my question which I sent you this morning regarding kitchen appliances?
    Been going to, but you keep posting here and I haven't had a chance.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    JP: So then, in exhcnage for a rather wiggly answer, I hereby submit a rather shifty response from the ICC:

    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    BTW, while we are discussing inspecting stairs, I keep meaning to mention that I've found this saves time compared to a tape measure:

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: So then, in exhcnage for a rather wiggly answer, I hereby submit a rather shifty response from the ICC:
    Dang!

    I had a real nice long and itemized reply, went to hit the shift key and some other key and ended up losing everything!

    Here is the short version (not going to do the long version all over again):

    That letter states "If the attic is required to be separated from the garage in accordance with the provisions of Section R309.2, then any attic access panel located in the garage ceiling should comply with the opening protection requirements stated in Section R309.1."

    R309.1.2 states:

    - R309.1.2 Other penetrations.
    Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion.


    Being as that does NOT penetrate into the residence as covered in R309.1, but does penetrate into the attic of the residence as covered in R309.2, you do not apply the base paragraph in R309.1, you have to go to its subparagraphs. Now, being as we are not referring to a duct penetration as is covered by R309.1.1, we must go to the "Other penetrations" as addressed in R309.1.2.


    R309.1.2 states: "Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion."

    That is not anywhere close to saying what you said: "The opinion I acquired states "shall have", not maybe-ought-to-in-a-rose-colored-glasses sort of world.".

    Even with opaque glasses, one can clearly see the difference.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Michael,

    Nice.

    One suggestion: Laminate it and leave more white space (use a wider stick). That way you can hold it up to something, mark it and write on it with a dry erase marker (or even a wet erase marker) showing what is there, take your photo, then wipe the new writing off.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    I had a real nice long and itemized reply, went to hit the shift key and some other key and ended up losing everything!
    JP: Serves you right for stacking the deck. Whatever, on your other answer. If you think that you can illustrate how a 1/4" plywood panel has the same fire resistance as a 1/2" sheet of drywall, then fine.

    Let's test it in your garage.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    And as long as we are on the subject of stupid stairs....

    ... here's a recent flight of "Guillotine blade risers" at a recent inspection, along with two of the condo's occupants - if I had had just a little more nerve I would a have asked her to monumentally place her sons head through a riser for a "how to" shot.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Serves you right for stacking the deck. Whatever, on your other answer. If you think that you can illustrate how a 1/4" plywood panel has the same fire resistance as a 1/2" sheet of drywall, then fine.

    Let's test it in your garage.
    Aaron,

    This really is a simple question, but ... show me where "the penetration" has to be "fire-rated" or equivalent to 1/2" gypsum board.

    Really.

    Is a recessed light equivalent to 1/2" gypsum board? Nope. Is a recessed light light "allowed" in a garage ceiling? Yep. What must be done with that recessed light, how to protect it?

    R309.1.2 states: "Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion."

    Yes, I know, that section could be written better and explained better, and include what you think is intended. However, as currently written in the 2006 IRC, the above it the extent of it.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    several jurisdictions in this area have allowed a piece of 3/4" plywood hinged to the framed opening with 5/8" type x screwed or glued to the plywood. the stairs would be below the arrangement. i don't see the concern about the last step in the attic being too tall as the pull down stairs don"t meet any known code in themselves. attaching anything to an illegal something does not make it anymore legal or illegal


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    show me where "the penetration" has to be "fire-rated" or equivalent to 1/2" gypsum board.
    JP: You are back to putting words in my mouth. I never said that the separation was a fire-rated assembly. Stop that, please.

    Is a recessed light equivalent to 1/2" gypsum board? Nope. Is a recessed light light "allowed" in a garage ceiling? Yep. What must be done with that recessed light, how to protect it?
    Claddings and luminaires are not synonymous nor are they comparable. Otherwise you could save lots om money lighting your house with the walls and ceilings.

    The separation itself is required by R309.2. Door or similar openings are covered by R309.1:

    R309.1 Opening protection.
    Openings from a private garage
    directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted.
    Other openings between the garage and residence shall
    be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1
    3/8 inches (35
    mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less
    than 1
    3/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

    Ducts and other utility penetrations are discussed in 309.1.1 and 309.1.2.

    So, here is a short and simple exam for you to determine if all of your cognitive abilities are up and running. Is a pull-down stair unit more like a door or a duct? Is it more like a door or a pipe? Is it more like a door or a luminaire? Is it more similar to an electrical receptacle than to a door?

    I really don't want to mislead you at this juncture, nor do I wish to offend, but, if you answered anything other than "door" to these questions, then you may be seeing reality darkly through the world of experimental pharmaceuticals.

    So, put down that hookah, take a walk around the house and look at theses items. See if you can detect differences and similarities. If it's all a blur, take a nap and try again later.

    Good luck,

    Aaron






  29. #29
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Please note that I did use the spell check on this and still came up with "om" and theses". It must be a Zen thing . . .


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Aaron,

    I will use your quote, with your bold, and your underlining, and just make the part *I* keep referring to in red text - that little red text part makes *all the difference* we are talking about, and, because of that red text, you have to *finish reading R309.1 - so I've also posted the entire R309.1 (not just posted the part I wanted, like you did) and made it red text too, because, after all, the red text part is *what matters here*.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    The separation itself is required by R309.2. Door or similar openings are covered by R309.1:


    R309.1 Opening protection.
    Openings from a private garage


    directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted.
    Other openings between the garage and residence shall
    be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1


    3/8 inches (35


    mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less
    than 1


    3/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

    - R309.1 Opening protection.
    Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors. (Jerry's note to Aaron: You can't just stop posting here, the above is only part of R309.1, the following are also part of R309.1. Also, notice the red text above regarding "between the garage and residence", which negates the entire first paragraph as the open *IS NOT* "between the garage and residence", the opening is between the garage and the residence's attic - see R309.2 for that reference.)
    - - R309.1.1 Duct penetration.


    Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be constructed of a minimum No. 26 gage (0.48 mm) sheet steel or other approved material and shall have no openings into the garage.
    - - R309.1.2 Other penetrations.


    Penetrations through the separation required in Section R309.2 shall be protected by filling the opening around the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion.

    Understand now?



    Remember, I did not write that stuff, I simply cannot make up stuff that good.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    JP: Obviously "penetrations" are not your bailiwick, else these ideas would have already penetrated your ever present line of defenses regarding the mundane. You seem patently unable to grasp the concept that the "residence" is the building in question. Not simply the interior or exterior. Not just the area with conditioned air or the area without conditioned air. The residence is the whole structure. The ding an sich, if you will. That is to say, the entire building structure totally independent of your opinion.

    Now that we have established what a residence is . . . say what? You still don't get it? OK then, let's consider that the International Residential Code governs the construction of residences. Not just the portions of the structures that happen to support your argument at any given time. See now, that was not so difficult, was it?

    So then, nothing in my argument has changed. The separation is required in the ceiling of the garage to separate the garage from the rest of the residence. Now you can certainly make that a totally vertical separation, i.e. with a firewall in the attic above the separating wall below and still have the separation. Then you can install your jury-rigged "fire-rated" attic stair monstrosity anywhere in the garage ceiling that you like,; with or without a drywall ceiling.

    Happy now?


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Aaron, just realize that not all people live in reality.

    They are also reluctant to admit mistakes and are willing to re-shuffle the old “reality deck” whenever it suits them because they must always be right. In short, they are master controllers and manipulators.


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    You seem patently unable to grasp the concept that the "residence" is the building in question.

    Aaron,

    You seem patently unable to grasp the concept of the code specifically separating "the residence" from "the residence's attic".

    Not only does the code specifically separate "the garage" from "the residence", the code also specifically separates "the residences attic" from "the residence".

    Thus, because the code specifically separates each of those THREE "parts of" "the residence", the code address "separation" differently between the three.

    And Jimbo-Jeffo follows your coat tails trying to look as smart as you are (and you are smart, but understanding what the code specifically states appears to be a challenge ).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Aaron, just realize that not all people live in reality.
    Jeff: I believe that they all do live in reality, just in different realities. Where JP's reality is, who can say? It is certainly in some fantastic location where reason and the search for the truth have been temporarily suspended for his entertainment.

    The difference is, that with me, that suspension is more or less permanent.

    So, let the arguments continue!


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    You seem patently unable to grasp the concept of the code specifically separating "the residence" from "the residence's attic"
    JP: I think I see what you mean. The garage is where you park that British excuse for an automobile. The garage's attic is where you keep $80K worth of spare parts to keep it running. Is this correct?

    And, to follow this line of reasoning (if that's what it is), the residence is where your life let's you stay if you do what you are told. The residence's attic is where your wife keeps the X-mas crap that you are told to do something with. OK so far?

    Thus, because the code specifically separates each of those THREE "parts of" "the residence", the code address "separation" differently between the three.
    JP: Problem is I'm coming up with four (4) distinct areas and not just three. Math may be a bit different in your reality.

    understanding what the code specifically states appears to be a challenge
    JP: Apparently so. But, I have faith in you. Through hard work and perseverance you too some day may have a eureka experience as regards the IRC, where it pertains to fire separations.

    For the time being though, you will have to settle for less that complete understanding.

    Our thoughts are with you . . .


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    GD spellcheck did it again - did not read my mind - many misspellings - life for wife, that for than - don't have time to fix it all, have to go work . . .


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Aaron,

    Let me see if going through it slower and simpler allows you to comprehend it ... (Maybe? At least "hopefully", as I have faith in your ability, so ... "may The Force be with you" in your endeavor to understand this.)

    In the beginning there was the 2000 IRC (the prequel) which identified "separation" between "a private garage", "the residence", and "the residence's attic", and within that story it was addressed as "separation" between three entities: 1) "The Garage", 2) "The Residence, and "The Residence's Attic".

    The story went as such:

    In R309.1, scene one, act one, stated that *No openings in the force shield will be allowed between "The Garage" and any of "The Residence's" 'sleeping cubicles' - NONE. It also deemed that should one choose to install and opening between "The Garage" and "The Residence", that there shall be an "Air Lock" door installed and the separation curtain shall be able to resist air pressure.

    In R309.1.1, scene one, act two, it was deemed that should one penetrate that laser resisting curtain with a "Duck", that said "Duck" will be able to resist air pressure too.

    In R309.2, scene two, act one, it was deemed that if the curtain did not fully separate "The Garage" from "The Residence", that it would be acceptable to "wrap The Garage" with a similar air pressure resisting material, BUT, if "The Garage" was located such that it was beneath a part of "The Residence", the air pressure resisting material "must also resist lasers".

    In the 2003 IRC, the main feature, the scenes were set up the same.

    However, in the 2006 IRC, the sequel, while the scenes were set up the same, a scene one, act three, was inserted.

    In R309.1.2, scene one, act three, there was deemed a need to address some inconsistencies in the main feature and the prequel, was that there were "Other Penetrations" being made under R309.2 which were being made between "The Garage" and "The Residence's Attic" which had not yet been addressed. This was addressed as "Other Penetrations through Separation Required by R309.2" and stated that those "Other Penetrations" must also resist air pressure "Around The Penetration".

    Yes, indeed, it was soon realized, that the "Other Penetrations" were talking about "Life Support Cables" and "Other Such Penetrations", but, what was stated was, quite simply, and maybe in error, "Other Penetrations". Thus, when Hans wanted to install a secret entrance to "The Residence's Attic", all he could be made to do was make the "Other Penetration" capable of resisting air pressure "Around The Penetration". Luke said he would bring that up with Princess Leah at the next opportunity.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  38. #38
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    In the beginning there was the 2000 IRC (the prequel) which identified "separation" between "a private garage", "the residence", and "the residence's attic", and within that story it was addressed as "separation" between three entities: 1) "The Garage", 2) "The Residence, and "The Residence's Attic".
    JP: So, does the garage not have an attic? Doesn't it deserve its own?


    would (you) bring that up with Princess Leah at the next opportunity.
    Which entity does the attic belong to in the upper right graphic?


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    What graphic? And make that the center right graphic.

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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: So, does the garage not have an attic? Doesn't it deserve its own?
    The garage does indeed have an attic, and, yes, in my opinion it does deserve its own attic.

    However, when it does not have "its own" attic, i.e., the garage's attic and the residence's attic are one and the same, therein lies the root of the problem.

    This is most easily solved by giving the garage, as you say, "its own attic", which is simply done by running the garage/residence wall up to the bottom of the roof sheathing.

    Unfortunately, few, if any, builders do that, thus we are left dealing with the situation where the garage's attic and the residence's attic are one and the same.

    Which entity does the attic belong to in the upper right graphic?
    The attic in the center left drawing is representing the condition where the garage's attic and the residence's attic are one and the same.

    The attic in the center right drawing represents the condition where the garage has its own attic and the residence has its own attic (my preferred method).

    In the center left drawing, penetrating through the garage ceiling is penetrating into the residence's attic, meaning that special conditions and precautions must be taken.

    In the center right drawing, penetrating through the garage ceiling (which no longer even needs to be there) is of no great consequence.

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  41. #41
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    JP: I will agree with this. Without the vertical separation a residence shares an attic with the garage. They do not have their own attics, but rather an attic in common. When this is the case, the ceiling above the garage becomes the separating entity between the garage and the attic. Now, whether you call that the garage attic, the shared attic - or attic in common, or the residence attic, it still must be separated from the garage. Can we at least agree on that, that the attic must be separated from the garage in this scenario? Huh? Is anybody home?

    And, if that ceiling separation is breached (or penetrated) by a door-like entity (or a pull-down stair unit) then that door-like entity must be treated as all other door-like entities in the garage. Right?

    Let that simmer for a bit. I've a report to finish and will return in an hour or so.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: I will agree with this. Without the vertical separation a residence shares an attic with the garage. They do not have their own attics, but rather an attic in common. When this is the case, the ceiling above the garage becomes the separating entity between the garage and the attic. Now, whether you call that the garage attic, the shared attic - or attic in common, or the residence attic, it still must be separated from the garage. Can we at least agree on that, that the attic must be separated from the garage in this scenario? Huh? Is anybody home?
    Correct.

    And, if that ceiling separation is breached (or penetrated) by a door-like entity (or a pull-down stair unit) then that door-like entity must be treated as all other door-like entities in the garage. Right?
    Nope. That is where you start confusing the separation between the garage and the residence's attic (in this case the attic is common with the garage's attic, it is one and the same) and the separation between the garage and the residence itself.

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  43. #43
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    I am surprised that no one corrected me on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The story went as such:

    In R309.1, scene one, act one,

    In R309.1.1, scene one, act two,

    In R309.2, scene two, act one,

    In R309.1.2, scene one, act three,
    That should have been act one, scene one ... scene two ... scene three, act two, scene one, etc., as I had the "act' and "scene" reversed.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  44. #44
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Nope. That is where you start confusing the separation between the garage and the residence's attic (in this case the attic is common with the garage's attic, it is one and the same) and the separation between the garage and the residence itself.
    JP: Well, I'm truly sorry that you fell that way. Be that as it may, you put up a decent (though quite fallacious) argument.

    The townhouse I inspected this morning would have even further exacerbated this conversation, I am sure. The garage did not have an attic (either kind) and had bedrooms above. An air conditioner was installed in a furr down along the ceiling. It was accessible by a 3/4" plywood door on cabinet hinges. I wrote it up as breaching the fire rating required by IRC.

    Additionally, the fire sprinkler control panel was located in the contiguous wall with the house (residence, if you must). It had the same kind of door. I wrote it up too.

    Maybe you don't agree, but you are not the AHJ. Him, I will convince. Count on it.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Well, I'm truly sorry that you fell that way. Be that as it may, you put up a decent (though quite fallacious) argument.

    The townhouse I inspected this morning would have even further exacerbated this conversation, I am sure. The garage did not have an attic (either kind) and had bedrooms above. An air conditioner was installed in a furr down along the ceiling. It was accessible by a 3/4" plywood door on cabinet hinges. I wrote it up as breaching the fire rating required by IRC.

    Additionally, the fire sprinkler control panel was located in the contiguous wall with the house (residence, if you must). It had the same kind of door. I wrote it up too.

    Maybe you don't agree, but you are not the AHJ. Him, I will convince. Count on it.
    The above is quite different than what we have been discussing.

    However, I would not state that it breached the fire rating required by the IRC as no fire rating is required by the IRC.

    Instead, I would state that it breached the 5/8" Type X gypsum board required by the IRC. That wording is quite correct, defensible, and can be backed up with a code reference.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  46. #46
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The above is quite different than what we have been discussing.

    However, I would not state that it breached the fire rating required by the IRC as no fire rating is required by the IRC.

    Instead, I would state that it breached the 5/8" Type X gypsum board required by the IRC. That wording is quite correct, defensible, and can be backed up with a code reference.
    JP: While we will have to agree to disagree on the pull-down stair issue, as you have yet to sway me over to your way of thinking, we are in agreement with the fire rating v. fire separation issue.

    So, you win 50% of the argument. Not a bad deal all things considered. I really would like to do an on-site (i.e. in your garage) demonstration of my theory. This assumes that you have a pull-down stair unit in the ceiling of your garage. I propose that we start fires of equal size and intensity all around and in the middle of the stair unit to see which allows the fire into the attic first. I have $10,000 that I am willing to escrow with any reputable third party (which would of course be nobody on this forum) to wager that the stair unit will be the first to succumb.

    In light of this I feel that, if for no other reason than to be in the spirit of the IRC, which is to protect life, limb and property, you should agree that the stair unit poses a very real hazard and must be altered to perform as the surrounding drywall, i.e. its equivalent.




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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    I propose that we start fires of equal size and intensity all around and in the middle of the stair unit to see which allows the fire into the attic first.
    Okay, you start one in your garage, video tape it, and I will try my best to duplicate it in my garage, based on my interpretation of your video.

    In light of this I feel that, if for no other reason than to be in the spirit of the IRC, which is to protect life, limb and property, you should agree that the stair unit poses a very real hazard and must be altered to perform as the surrounding drywall, i.e. its equivalent.
    I agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway violates the 1/2" gypsum board " *SEPARATION* " requirements.

    I also agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway DOES NOT violate the 5/8" fire-rating of a ceiling beneath habitable space. This is because there is no "fire-rating" of that ceiling.

    Additionally, I agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway violates the 5/8" Type X gypsum board " *SEPARATION* " requirements.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  48. #48
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Okay, you start one in your garage, video tape it, and I will try my best to duplicate it in my garage, based on my interpretation of your video.
    JP: Too late, mine is already a fire-rated unit.

    I agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway violates the 1/2" gypsum board " *SEPARATION* " requirements.
    JP: Hold on, let me get some Visine to clear up my vision. Did you actually write the words, "I agree"?

    I also agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway DOES NOT violate the 5/8" fire-rating of a ceiling beneath habitable space. This is because there is no "fire-rating" of that ceiling.
    JP: Agreed.

    Additionally, I agree that a regular, unprotected, pull-down stairway violates the 5/8" Type X gypsum board " *SEPARATION* " requirements.
    JP: OMG, twice in a single post!


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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Hold on, let me get some Visine to clear up my vision. Did you actually write the words, "I agree"?

    Aaron,

    I presume your Visine cleared up your vision such that you were also able to read the read of the sentence ... ... which means you just agreed with me on what I've been stating all along.

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  50. #50
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    I presume your Visine cleared up your vision such that you were also able to read the read of the sentence ... ... which means you just agreed with me on what I've been stating all along.
    JP: Nope. I practice what I like to refer to as "selective recognition" when reading your posts. It is a tried and true method that prevents me from inadvertently agreeing with something that I do not agree with.

    And, just to set the record straight, I initially said that a regular pull-down stair unit breached the required fire separation (note here that I am not returning to read what I actually said, but am relying solely upon my excellent - though perhaps prejudiced in my own favor - memory). Your contentions were along the lines of whose attic is where and that the only viable (for normal people) alternative to a regular pull-down stair happens to be a fire-rated unit.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Nope. I practice what I like to refer to as "selective recognition" when reading your posts. It is a tried and true method that prevents me from inadvertently agreeing with something that I do not agree with.

    And, just to set the record straight, I initially said that a regular pull-down stair unit breached the required fire separation (note here that I am not returning to read what I actually said, but am relying solely upon my excellent - though perhaps prejudiced in my own favor - memory). Your contentions were along the lines of whose attic is where and that the only viable (for normal people) alternative to a regular pull-down stair happens to be a fire-rated unit.
    Your memory is as bad as your vision ... selectively enhanced by you to confirm your position, regardless of what has really been discussed. By the way, the Visine did not help (eyes OR memory).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  52. #52
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    Default Re: Railings or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Your memory is as bad as your vision ... selectively enhanced by you to confirm your position, regardless of what has really been discussed. By the way, the Visine did not help (eyes OR memory).
    JP: Agreed, on all counts.


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