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Thread: No back door

  1. #1
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    Default No back door

    1200 sq ft ranch only has front door into living room, and door into attached double garage. Door from kitchen leads to enclosed sunroom behind garage with only windows/screens. There is absolutely no way to get to the back yard. I think it's a safety/egress issue, and am going to note as such. Any thoughts?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: No back door

    IRC 311.1 only requires a minimum of one Emergency Egress Rescue Opening door that is hinged with a net clear opening of 32.5" (36" door). EERO windows should be not more than 44 inches above the walking surface with an min opening 24" wide by 20" tall. EERO windows required in sleeping rooms. Not required for remainder of the structure.

    Technically it sounds as if the building meets minium code. You are welcome to suggest more EERO doors for enhanced safety.

    I might mention to clients verbally but unlikley to put in the report.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Walker Haglock View Post
    Door from kitchen leads to enclosed sunroom behind garage with only windows/screens.
    I would put it in the report and recommend they check for permits for the enclosed sunroom - my guess is that the door from the kitchen was the "back door" and that the alteration and addition of the sunroom closed off that egress from the house, and access to the rear yard, and that is indicative of not having had a permit.

    Does not mean it did not have a permit, and does not mean it was not inspected, and having a permit and having been inspected does not mean the plan reviewer or inspector caught it.

    Many times there are addition plans submitted which only show the interconnecting walls, not unit the building department begins insisting on full perimeter and floor plan is there enough to see that the addition is now removing a secondary exit, an EERO, a window and blocking the required natural light and ventilation, etc.

    Added the following code references with edit:

    Keep in mind that the previously referenced code section is not the only section referencing egresses:
    - It it was a townhouse there is this:
    - TOWNHOUSE. A single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and with a yard or public way on at least two sides.

    And, is it a "sunroom"?
    - SUNROOM. A one-story structure attached to a dwelling with a glazing area in excess of 40 percent of the gross area of the structure’s exterior walls and roof. For definition applicable in Chapter 11, see Section N1101.9.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 08-08-2014 at 04:17 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: No back door

    I have lived in several dwellings that only had one door.

    Re. lack of permit........There are several counties around here that ONLY require an electrical permit.


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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Walker Haglock View Post
    ........I think it's a safety/egress issue, and am going to note as such. Any thoughts?
    Do you attach to comment a caveat/preface that it is a personal opinion ?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Walker Haglock View Post
    I think it's a safety/egress issue, and am going to note as such. Any thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Do you attach to comment a caveat/preface that it is a personal opinion ?
    I also think that it is a safety/egress issue - there WAS a second means of egress door ... but it is now blocked by the sunroom (permit or no permit, or no permit required - there is a door which went to the back yard and served as a second egress but which is now blocked.

    I am amazed that so many here are assuming that because the sunroom is there now ... that it was always there (either that or because it is there now that what was there originally no longer matters - either way leads to a false conclusion based on a false presumption).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: No back door

    I just called the local Building Official for my area, and he said there only has to be one means of egress and it can be the front door (as long as its the right size, etc). Obviously, the bedrooms have to have appropriate windows, but just because there was a door at one time, does not mean there always has to be a door (as long as the other egress points are OK).
    There is nothing in the code that says you must keep a second door (as long as house meets egress codes).

    I think its a slippery slope to start making comments on a house where someone has made changes to the appearance, as long as it meets code.

    Like I said before, I have lived in several dwellings that only had one door.
    Stupid layout? Yes, it probably is! A safety concern? Not any more than many condos I inspect that only have open door.


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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I think its a slippery slope to start making comments on a house where someone has made changes to the appearance, as long as it meets code.
    It is indeed a slippery slope to assume that changes to a house have been permitted and approved, or (where permits are not required) to assume that changes are Carte Blanche okie dokie.

    Like I said before, I have lived in several dwellings that only had one door.
    Two completely different animals - one which never had a second door and one which originally had a second door.

    The saying is that you can't compare the two, in reality, a comparison can always be made - in this case the comparison results in dissimilar items (I.e., like comparing apples and oranges).

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: No back door

    If the sun room has egress (windows) but no door, even if one was there once upon a time, is it that much less safe than a 3rd floor condo with only one door to exterior (no fire escape).

    So every condo with only one exterior door is also a safety/egress issue. Even if it meets all codes.

    Really I think that it is a matter of wording. Clearly denoted as an opinion. :Go for it.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    If the sun room has egress (windows) but no door, even if one was there once upon a time, is it that much less safe than a 3rd floor condo with only one door to exterior (no fire escape).

    So every condo with only one exterior door is also a safety/egress issue. Even if it meets all codes.

    Really I think that it is a matter of wording. Clearly denoted as an opinion. :Go for it.
    Condo originally built with one door or two?

    Therein lies the difference.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: No back door

    Ok, I'll play.

    4 exit doors better than 3 and 2 better than 1, but 1 is all you need. The rest just adds to safety.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: No back door

    Jerry,
    You are welcome to your opinion, but there are no codes or regulations to back it up. You can call it whatever fruit salad you wish, but my Code guy said "Its not an issue".
    You don't seem to have anything to back up your opinion.
    Like I said before, I'll welcome you citing a code where this situation is not allowed.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Jerry,
    You are welcome to your opinion, but there are no codes or regulations to back it up. You can call it whatever fruit salad you wish, but my Code guy said "Its not an issue".
    And your code guy is also in charge of everything in Dover, Ohio too I suppose.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: No back door

    If they use 2012 IRC, they probably have the same opinion.
    Not trying to pick a fight Jerry, but you are spouting off an opinion that apparently has no basis in the actual code.
    Like I asked before, cite the section of the code to substantiate your argument.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    And your code guy is also in charge of everything in Dover, Ohio too I suppose.
    Jerry,
    Really, Jack said " Building Official for my area", not yours mine or our "building official". Kinda of a lame comeback . Also plain false logical argument.

    Walker in the OP said "...There is absolutely no way to get to the back yard. I think it's a safety/egress issue, and am going to note as such. Any thoughts? "

    There are many ways to look at the question. such as:
    National Code.
    Origination design occupancy permit.
    Fire Regulations.
    Local regulations.
    Personal opinion.
    and others.

    Walker's statement "I think it's a..." frames it as an opinion as opposed as a statement saying "it's a code issue". The "Any thoughts" brings every thing else into the discussion.

    I would hope that the forum discussion readers interpreted in the general and not in the specific geographic location else you might be right in our comment.

    Granted OP as looking for support for an opinion, which can take a variety of directions. Such as "in some jurisdictions/locals such as _-_____ the rear egress is/not required. Which is what jack was demonstrating.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    If they use 2012 IRC, they probably have the same opinion.
    Not trying to pick a fight Jerry, but you are spouting off an opinion that apparently has no basis in the actual code.
    Like I asked before, cite the section of the code to substantiate your argument.
    Jack,

    First *you* ask your code official about some other area, now you are addressing a current code to an older existing house???? Neither is applicable (Jim Abram raising from the ashes?).

    *I* am stating that we do not know what code was applicable or whether or not that second door was required, therefore we should not just 'ass-u-me' that there is - and never was - a requirement for the second door at that existing house in Ohio.

    On the other hand, *you* are stating that because it is not a requirement in a current code that it never could have been a requirement in any code anywhere ... that is quite unlike you, Jack ... to not acknowledge that such could have been the case (which is all I am doing - acknowledging that such could have been the case).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    If the sun room has egress (windows) but no door, even if one was there once upon a time, is it that much less safe than a 3rd floor condo with only one door to exterior (no fire escape).

    So every condo with only one exterior door is also a safety/egress issue. Even if it meets all codes.

    Really I think that it is a matter of wording. Clearly denoted as an opinion. :Go for it.
    Garry,

    I was trying to avoid point out the incorrectness in your thinking in this post, but many codes REQUIRED (may still require) two egress doors from a condo. The old Standard Building Code is just one example - TWO egress doors were required ... unless ALL items in a list of items was met, one of which was a limitation of 30 feet maximum from the egress door from all points in the condo ... think about the smallest condo you have seen, then think how far 30 feet is going to get you from one door ... that 30 feet might get you "into" the bedroom, but is very unlikely to get you to the corner of the bedroom.

    Guys, uses your head and think - the statements being made by some of you do not allow for the possibility that a second door is required - especially you, Garry, with your condo example, that can be shot down blindfolded, shooting backward over the shoulder.

    I always defend home inspectors at the meetings I go to, I was a home inspector for years as you know, but some of the same complaints I hear from the code guys at those meetings are appearing here - HIs thinking that they know it all and that what they know applies to all areas and that what they know goes back to the discovery of fire ... it doesn't.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Garry,

    .....but many codes REQUIRED (may still require)............ .............some of you do not allow for the possibility that a second door is required -............

    ............HIs thinking that they know it all ...


    Jerry you get so wound up. You are making my point. Unless you specifically know that there was a requirement for the 2nd door, you can not make a statement of fact that there is one missing. The issue of safety may be the reason for the second door or may not be the reason that the 2nd door was made a requirement. Unless you can site the specific source that applies to the specific situation, the requirement for and need of, becomes speculation and opinion.

    Bottom line is that to often an opinion is stated as fact. Which is what I was attempting to highlight. Use of a term such as "many" is treated as if it were the same as "all".

    The door may/may-not have been required, may/may-not be required as a result of alteration of the structure. Unless you know, then it is an opinion which should be noted as an "opinion".

    Then there is all ways the case that crops up where the local permitting person makes code fit their opinions and convert any by their position create a fact. At least for that little scrap of the world. Naaaaaa that never happens.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: No back door

    Jerry,
    You always seem to try to twist things around.
    Please don't put words in my mouth, or attempt to interpret what I may or may not believe.

    Again, I will ask you to substantiate your claims that removing a rear door egress, in Ohio, Florida, or any State you choose, current Code, or any past Code you may choose to quote, is a violation of said Code.

    While I agree that what they did by closing off the porch was not smart, its not against the code (IMHO and unless proven wrong), and they may have their reasons for doing so (no one likely knows except the people that did it).
    While I may mention it to my client that its inconvenient, I don't think I would call it out as a safety issue in the report.

    Still waiting for your "proof" that is is, or ever was a code violation, and its unsafe.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Jerry you get so wound up. You are making my point. Unless you specifically know that there was a requirement for the 2nd door, you can not make a statement of fact that there is one missing. The issue of safety may be the reason for the second door or may not be the reason that the 2nd door was made a requirement. Unless you can site the specific source that applies to the specific situation, the requirement for and need of, becomes speculation and opinion.
    "Unless you specifically know that there was a requirement for the 2nd door, you can not make a statement of fact that there is one missing."

    Likewise, unless you specifically know that there was NOT a requirement for a 2nd door, you cannot make a statement of fact that only one is required.

    Thank you for exactly and specifically pointing out what you and Jack are doing and stating that one cannot (rather SHOULD NOT) make such a statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells
    If the sun room has egress (windows) but no door, even if one was there once upon a time, is it that much less safe than a 3rd floor condo with only one door to exterior (no fire escape).


    So every condo with only one exterior door is also a safety/egress issue. Even if it meets all codes.


    Really I think that it is a matter of wording. Clearly denoted as an opinion. :Go for it.
    From the old Standard Building Code:
    - B1026 RESIDENTIAL - - B1026.1 SINGLE EXIT
    - - - B1026.1.1 In Group R1 and R2 occupancies one common exit is permitted provided all of the following conditions are met:
    - - - - 1. Maximum distance of travel to reach the exit from the entrance door to any dwelling unit shall not exceed 30 feet (9144 mm).
    - - - - 2. Maximum number of dwelling units served by the exit shall not exceed four per floor.
    - - - - 3. Maximum gross area of the dwelling units served by the exit shall not exceed 3,500 sq ft (325 m˛) per floor.
    - - - - 4. Maximum building height shall be one story above the level of exit discharge.
    - - - B1026.1.2 A single exit is permitted in R3 occupancies.

    Note that condos and apartments are R2:
    - B311.2 SUBCLASSIFICATIONS
    - - Group R occupancies shall include, among others, the following:
    - - - R1: Residential occupancies where the occupants are primarily transient in nature including:
    - - - - Boarding housing (transient)
    - - - - Hotels
    - - - - Motels
    - - - R2: Multiple dwellings where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature, including:
    - - - - Apartment houses
    - - - - Convents
    - - - - Dormitory facilities which accommodate six or more persons of more than 2 1/2 years of age who stay more than 24 hours
    - - - - Fraternities and sororities
    - - - - Monasteries
    - - - - Rectories
    - - - - Rooming houses (not transient)
    - - - R3: Residential occupancies including the following:
    - - - - Child care facilities which accommodate five or less children of any age for any time period.
    - - - - One and two family dwellings where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature and not classified as R1, R2, or I.


    In the Standard Building Code having only one exit is permitted only in R3, not your condos ... unless 4 items are met - and, yes, I did remember the 30 feet application incorrectly ( to save you the trouble of jumping all over me for that ).

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Jerry,
    You always seem to try to twist things around.
    Please don't put words in my mouth, or attempt to interpret what I may or may not believe.
    Don't do as you are doing?

    Again, I will ask you to substantiate your claims that removing a rear door egress, in Ohio, Florida, or any State you choose, current Code, or any past Code you may choose to quote, is a violation of said Code.
    Example of you putting words in my mouth, twisting things around, or attempting to interpret what I said: see the bold

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I would put it in the report and recommend they check for permits for the enclosed sunroom - my guess is that the door from the kitchen was the "back door" and that the alteration and addition of the sunroom closed off that egress from the house, and access to the rear yard, and that is indicative of not having had a permit.
    .
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I also think that it is a safety/egress issue - there WAS a second means of egress door ... but it is now blocked by the sunroom (permit or no permit, or no permit required - there is a door which went to the back yard and served as a second egress but which is now blocked.
    .
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Garry,

    I was trying to avoid point out the incorrectness in your thinking in this post, but many codes REQUIRED (may still require) two egress doors from a condo. The old Standard Building Code is just one example - TWO egress doors were required ... unless ALL items in a list of items was met, one of which was a limitation of 30 feet maximum from the egress door from all points in the condo ... think about the smallest condo you have seen, then think how far 30 feet is going to get you from one door ... that 30 feet might get you "into" the bedroom, but is very unlikely to get you to the corner of the bedroom.

    Guys, uses your head and think - the statements being made by some of you do not allow for the possibility that a second door is required - especially you, Garry, with your condo example, that can be shot down blindfolded, shooting backward over the shoulder.
    .
    .
    See my post on the old Standard Building Code for this: REQUIRED (may still require) two egress doors from a condo - that addresses THE ONLY time I stated it was required ... read it in my posts.

    You guys are the ones stating it was NOT required for that house, I am the one stating that it MAY have been required for that house.

    For Jack - you provide the code which says it was NOT required for that house when it was built as it has been your stance that it was NOT required. I am stating that it MAY have been - big difference in what I am stating and what you are stating.

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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Jerry you get so wound up.........

    The door may/may-not have been required, may/may-not be required as a result of alteration of the structure. Unless you know, then it is an opinion which should be noted as an "opinion".
    .........
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ....

    You guys are the ones stating it was NOT required for that house, I am the one stating that it MAY have been required for that house.

    .....
    Jerry, you seem to be reading with blinders on.

    We agree "MAY have been required for that house" and the other way is that it may not have been required. Again, the point is that it is a personal opinion unless you have the specific code requirements for that specific property. And if reported should be noted as a personal opinion.


    I think you like to argue for the sake of arguing. What is it that Scott says? Bless your heart.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: No back door

    Hey, Jerry, with all due respect, switch to decaf once on a awhile....you seem to have a grudge match going on here.

    You've made your point, now leave room for others to speak and learn.

    Dom.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: No back door

    If there was no back door then this might have happened:

    Creedence Clearwater Revival: Lookin' Out My Back Door - YouTube


    More than one reason to require a back door.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: No back door

    How did we get from a ranch home to a condo?


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    Default Re: No back door

    Quote Originally Posted by John Williams View Post
    How did we get from a ranch home to a condo?
    Thread drift ... jus' driftin' away

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: No back door

    How about this Idea?
    Step away from the Code Book and inform your client that not having a door to the back yard may just become a big pain in the ass and they might want to consider installing one.

    Some people get so wrapped up in their code books that they forget about the real important things in life....Like ready and convenient access to Turn the Steaks on the BBQ.



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