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  1. #1

    Default How can something like this be legal??

    We spotted this in today's McMansion inspection. It's a loft above the master bedroom area, accessible via a rolling library-style ladder. The loft wasn't tiny... it was about 15' x 35', and at the opposite end was another room containing a NG water heater and the furnace for the inside pool. How the heck did they get that equipment up there?!?
    Anyway, I went up the ladder to do my poking around, and when I tried to come down I realized that there were no handholds or any safe way to make the transition from the loft to the ladder. I admit that I'm not to great with ladders, but this we just scary. I actually had to call for Bob to come "spot" me so I could get down. Then he went up and took a look around in the mechanical room and then had issues getting down himself (and he's very good with ladders).
    The issues with a setup like this are just mind-boggling: there's no safety railing to prevent someone from just taking a tumble off the loft. There is no safe way to transition between the loft and the ladder. And, to top it off, someone with a cruel sense of humor could easily roll the ladder aside while someone was in the loft, and there is no way for a person in the loft to reach the ladder to pull it over.
    Anyone seen a setup like this? How could it possibly pass any kind of code inspection?

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  2. #2
    Ron Keeney's Avatar
    Ron Keeney Guest

    Default Re: How can something like this be legal??

    Just to play Devil"s Advocate, suppose those bookcases were part of a solid wall, so that the space above was enclosed, with some type of pull-down stair like an attic access.... Wouldn't this space then be similar to an attic with a couple of mechanical units in it?
    Now maybe that's not a fair analogy, but it does raise interesting questions. The rolling ladder could be truly intended as just a "library ladder" to access those bookcases. Who's to say it was intended as the "maintenance ladder'? If it hadn't been there, would you had taken in your own straight extension ladder to inspect the space? And thus been forced to deal with the "top of the ladder" problems because your ladder wasn't right?
    As for the equipment, how it got there is not relevant -- it was simply placed there somehow during construction. How does one get the metal cap on top of an exterior chimney? That doesn't make it illegal. One can place an HVAC air handler carefully into a tangle of roof truss webs in an attic, and then provide a 20" wide folding ladder in the ceiling. When it has to be replaced, one virtually has to cut it into pieces to get it out. And getting a new one up there will be quite a challenge. But that doesn't make it illegal.
    So in your case, the answer is actually simple. Consider it as an "uninhabitable plant shelf" and then decide if the Building Code prohibits it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: How can something like this be legal??

    What does OSHA have to do with a private home inspection, let alone the occupant, its a private residence, and if anything it is and building code issue/safety issue?

    If this is an older structure it may have been added before current building codes, and would be an existing non conforming and current code would not apply.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: How can something like this be legal??

    Ramond,
    It is OSHA and MOSHA (Maryland), dealing with worker safety by the company providing services. Harnesses required on roofs, but not home owner's responsibility to provide.

    It is the person providing service to comply to safety standards.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: How can something like this be legal??

    But its not a roof, and there is no way to tie off a harness in this particular application.
    If the inspector felt unsafe then they should have written in the report that it was unsafe to ascend the roller ladder.

    I can understand the roof inspection requirement.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: How can something like this be legal??

    Sorry for the confusion.
    The point was that the HI or any other service people will have to provide what ever they need to perform task if it is not there already.

    OSHA and MOSHA set job site requirements for the workers that the business have to follow, at least in theory. So if you have employees you have to follow the requirements to be in compliance.

    Did not like going up book case ladder, then use your own ladder that will make you happier.

    For report a not to take notice of the existing ladder and exercise caution in its use else replace it with something else. Or put notice on 3 rungs from top as not to be used.


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