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  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Fire Blocking in a town home

    This is the crawl of a town home built in 1997. 5/8 drywall. Does installed to only one side of the framing. For fireblocking purposes does this need to be installed on both sides of the framing.

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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    This is the crawl of a town home built in 1997. 5/8 drywall. Does installed to only one side of the framing. For fireblocking purposes does this need to be installed on both sides of the framing.
    I believe it would depend upon what fire rating was reqauired for that space. 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hour etc.


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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    Is this a dividing/separation wall between true town homes or condos? (doesn't appear to be either).

    Is this a support wall within the "town home" footprint? (appears to be.) What is the height? (sheer ?s).

    Is there mechanical equipment present in the crawlspace?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-02-2011 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    For fireblocking purposes does this need to be installed on both sides of the framing.
    The answers to Watson's questions will help, nonetheless, though ...

    "For fireblocking purposes"

    If that wall is intended to be a fire-resistance rated wall - which it appears to be based on the fact that there is 5/8" fire-resistance drywall installed on one side and maybe more stacked next to it on this side - if that wall is intended to be a fire-resistance rated wall then you are correct in that BOTH sides need to be protected as it must be presumed that a fire could start on EITHER side of the wall and the wall framing and the drywall needs to be able to resistance that fire from either side for the duration of its fire-resistance rating time.

    What is that duct work for? It looks like it is uninsulated and the duct is not in the thermal envelope of the structure.

    Also, if that is a fire-resistance rated wall between two townhouses then the wall should be able to remain standing and supporting the non-fire townhouse structure while the fire burning townhouse structure burns. down to the ground, and I see no means of attachment of those short studs to the sill plate or to the top plate, and there appears to be an I-joist running on top of the top plate with other I-joists perpendicular to that wall.

    What little I see looks like it would work for a condo where the structure is common, but not for a townhouse where each structure is considered a separate structure.

    Just some things I see, think I see, or should see.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    It is a sheer wall seperating true town home. There is HVAC equipment int the crawl space.


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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    It is a sheer wall seperating true town home. There is HVAC equipment int the crawl space.
    It is not a shear wall, at least not much of one with just gypsum board on it.

    (It is almost a "sheer" wall, though, as it is almost see-through. )

    These sections are a bit long, so I will only post portions of them, there are also many more which affect that wall, but these will get you to the correct area in the code:
    - R317.2 Townhouses. Each townhouse shall be considered a separate building and shall be separated by fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies meeting the requirements of Section R302 for exterior walls.
    - - Exception: A common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. Electrical installations shall be installed in accordance with Chapters 33 through 42. Penetrations of electrical outlet boxes shall be in accordance with Section R317.3.
    - - R317.2.1 Continuity. The fire-resistance-rated wall or assembly separating townhouses shall be continuous from the foundation to the underside of the roof sheathing, deck or slab. The fire-resistance rating shall extend the full length of the wall or assembly, including wall extensions through and separating attached enclosed accessory structures.
    - R317.2.4 Structural independence. Each individual townhouse shall be structurally independent.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Foundations supporting exterior walls or common walls.
    - - - 2. Structural roof and wall sheathing from each unit may fasten to the common wall framing.
    - - - 3. Nonstructural wall coverings.
    - - - 4. Flashing at termination of roof covering over common wall.
    - - - 5. Townhouses separated by a common 2-hour fire-resistance-rated wall as provided in Section R317.2.



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

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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    As I recall you would have been under an earlier edition of the UBC at that time period/frame.

    There used to be more than one "type" of townhome configuration.

    Assuming a row type true townhome with open access on two opposing sides, if common wall, would have, if I'm remembering correctly, required mineralwool insul. blocking and stopping, and two each layers of 5/8 gyp independantly taped and mudded with staggered seams, on each side for the required 1-hour assembly for a framed separation wall.

    I question the description, as you have referred to condos as townhomes based merely on their appearance. Land and access title ownership of the walls and roof makes a difference. Looks more than 18" high to me.


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    Default Re: Fire Blocking in a town home

    If this is a 'true' townhouse, then there is probably a fire separation wall on the other side of the wall in your photos.
    The wall in your photos has the floor joists resting on them; that would prevent the wall from being 'continuous from the foundation to the underside of the roof sheathing, deck or slab'.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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