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    Default Chicago building code exits requirement


    13-160-050 Minimum number of exits.(d) In multiple dwellings, one exit serving one family only shall be permitted from the first or second story, and one exit shall be permitted from a basement space provided that the area of such floor or basement shall not exceed 800 square feet


    City issued administrative complaint about "alleged" violation based on visual inspection from outside that 2 fl attic apt needs 2 nd exit.This is not current illegal convertion, it is legalwith proper zoning cerification.its been like this for decades.Rough measure shows around 810 sf floor area (5' and above).Ceiling height also complies.Onwer hires a "genius " who claims to solve the problem, doesnt even know english and this basic requirements but he is respected among mexican as a problem solver.He suggests not to build second entrance because it is not cost efective (good suggestion,Roof needs to be open ,staircase built).Instead,he advices to convert the house to single family use with less cost on short run(reroute the entrance to inside,remove kitchen fixtures from 2 nd floor).Owner agrees, it is within a budget,wants to have city out of the way.

    Genius provides the plans for permits to convert the house,signed by licensed architect(his boss) without discussing with him about the objective of his assignment
    wchich was to provide the best option available for the owner after reading the notice from the City.Charged 4000$.Another 5000$ was spent for this work as per plan.
    After the fact owners finds out about this provision and is fuming

    THe solution was to eliminate one closet(close permanently) in LVRoom and reduce the apt to 790sf.

    Can owner sue the architect to recover this cost?



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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Pakula View Post
    Can owner sue the architect to recover this cost?
    Anyone can sue anyone else for any reason at any time.

    Whether they prevail or not is up to many things, most of which you did not cover.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    most of which you did not cover.
    All facts are here .i did not miss anything.What else do you need?
    My solution is little tricky but solves the problem very easy.
    I wonder if someone heard about similar case with any other municipality

    <H6 class=Section>13-200-010 Statement of purpose.

    The public health, safety and welfare is in part dependent on the conservation, rehabilitation and reuse of the existing building stock; that the application of new construction requirements and standards to the rehabilitation of existing buildings may unnecessarily increase the cost thereof; that adequate enforcement of minimum housing and other standards for safe and decent human habitation requires expeditious and cost effective procedures for encouraging the rehabilitation of existing buildings; that rehabilitation is a major mechanism for increasing the health and safety in existing buildings; and that adequate resources in the form of public and private initiatives exist to increase and expand the incidence of rehabilitation when such rehabilitation is regulated by reasonable requirements.
    </H6>I hate to refer this bibble ,but in this case the code is on owner's side.
    It is not intended to punish him


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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Pakula View Post
    All facts are here .i did not miss anything.What else do you need?

    Starting with 'what is in the contract between the owner and the architect'?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    If you are looking for legal advice from a home inspector, you are barking up the wrong tree. Get an attorney. I do, however, do brain surgery on the side.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Rob, your position in this matter appears somewhat murky. As an HI it isn't your place to figure out whether or not suit is possible or viable. That is for an attorney to decide. Success will greatly depend on the contract between the parties. I can tell you most architect's have pretty good disclaimers to protect themselves from what the actual contractor does.
    When someone gets cited in the City, it is imperative that you get an HI and attorney who have experience in dealing with the City. Many AH cases can be dealt with much more effectively than your client has.
    If you need an attorney who can deal with AH and these types of matters, let me know. AH is designed for revenue, not compliance. Knowing the game is important.
    I'm impressed you found the 800 sqft rule, many people miss it and do what your client did.
    Good luck

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Pakula View Post
    THe solution was to eliminate one closet(close permanently) in LVRoom and reduce the apt to 790sf.
    My guess is that eliminating that closet WILL NOT reduce the square footage.

    The square footage is STILL THERE, it is just 'not usable' square footage.

    Hopefully, you were not the one telling him that closing off that closet would reduce the square footage.

    By the way "Rough measure shows around 810 sf floor area (5' and above)." 5' and above (presuming you are referring to ceiling height) has NOTHING to do with 'square footage of the area of a structure', that is defined by the enclosing walls.

    13-160-050 Minimum number of exits.(d) In multiple dwellings, one exit serving one family only shall be permitted from the first or second story, and one exit shall be permitted from a basement space provided that the area of such floor or basement shall not exceed 800 square feet
    "The basement" is going to be the same size, regardless of whether or not that is a closet or 'inaccessible space'.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-10-2008 at 11:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Jerry, as a point of clarification ... our Code (chicago) calls for attic kneewalls to be no less than 5' in height to comply with occupancy code. Sqft. living space is based on the area with that height and up. Say if you remodel the attic and frame out kneewalls that are less than 5' high, the city inspector can make you rebuild them in order to comply. The change was made because people were building 2', 3', etc. kneewalls to maximize sqft measurements for sales listings, rental, etc. However the city considered such space to be not safely useable and misleading.
    Closing off the closet may or may not fly depending on who the inspector is and how the AH case was written.
    I know it sounds kind of weird, but that's our City.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Closing off the closet may or may not fly depending on who the inspector is and how the AH case was written.
    I know it sounds kind of weird, but that's our City.
    I understand what you are saying, and, if the closet is on the living portion of the 5 foot high knee wall, then it is in the measured square foot area, closing it of is still within the measured living area, it's just not usable.

    "may or may not fly depending on who the inspector is" Okie dokie, now I understand ... it depends on 'how much' it is worth, right?

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    You are quick study grasshopper

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Starting with 'what is in the contract between the owner and the architect'?
    Good question ,i missed this.there is no written contract.
    Architect just signed the plan to present for permit ,assuming that this is what owner wants.The genius is his subcontractor bringing him more bussiness fooling around among mexicans.
    In other words;if i go tho the doctor and he advises me that i need amputation to be alive i will go for it.Later ,i discover that there was a easy medicine for my problem from other doctor.What my reaction would be?

    For the floor area in Chicago they requires as follow, in other places you probably refer to ICC (as Jerry)
    13-64-050 Ceiling heights.

    The minimum ceiling height in a habitable room shall be not less than seven feet six inches except as follows:
    (a) Rooms under sloping roofs shall have a minimum ceiling height of seven feet six inches for not less than 50 percent of the floor area having a ceiling height of five feet or more. No portion of the floor area having a ceiling height of less than five feet shall be considered as a part of the required floor area.


    "I'm impressed you found the 800 sqft rule, many people miss it and do what your client did."

    I did not look anywhere for it.It is in the broschure for homeowners in residential permit center(I got it on Addison).

    About attorneys; nobody wants to take it because amout involved is too small and they dont understand this (i asked several ).By the way;they lost the rent and consequently the house .

    Markus !! if you know someone who would be interested take this case,let me know


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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Pakula View Post
    Markus !! if you know someone who would be interested take this case,let me know

    Rob,

    You have not addressed the fact that 'taking out the closet' most likely *will not* reduce the square footage anyway.

    Thus leaving the square footage at greater than the 800 square footage exception.

    Which means 'no case'.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Jerry, I think you are making a 'too' normal assumption here. My guess is that you are thinking sqft. will be measured by ... measuring width of apt. in attic by length of apt. in attic. Sounds normal enough ... however, the living space around here will actually be measured up by measuring each room area/living area and totally those numbers. Therefore, wall thicknesses, closed off areas, underside of kneewalls etc. even though they are actual space with the dwelling unit won't affect the sqft. total.
    Make sense?

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Jerry, I think you are making a 'too' normal assumption here. My guess is that you are thinking sqft. will be measured by ... measuring width of apt. in attic by length of apt. in attic. Sounds normal enough ... however, the living space around here will actually be measured up by measuring each room area/living area and totally those numbers. Therefore, wall thicknesses, closed off areas, underside of kneewalls etc. even though they are actual space with the dwelling unit won't affect the sqft. total.
    Make sense?
    "Make sense?"

    Nope.

    That's how home owners think and measure.

    Code officials measure and take into consideration the "area of the building", or, in this case, the "area within those 5 foot high walls". That's what is required for the space to be counted, and, when that space is provided, it should be measured as such (note that I did not say 'will be' because there is always a screwballs chance that some code official will measure something else ... 'for the right price' ... )

    BUT ... subtracting the walls and closed off areas ... ? That's just plain crazy.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Please don't get me started on Code officials, your head would explode in disbelief.
    Do you love pretzels Jerry? I do ... and the great big basket of logic they come with.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    "I'm impressed you found the 800 sqft rule, many people miss it and do what your client did."

    Also ,because most of the time ceiling doesnt comply (is too low).
    You can get 2 nd entrance but still apt doesnt comply as whole.

    Area is measured from wall to wall (drywall to drywall) ,i asked city inspectors ,everything over 5 feet above.

    I dont have to necessary reduce closet ,it could be anything above 5 feet.This is attic appt.
    My measurement is in worst scenario.I rounded up every sq foot up.
    This reduction of area is only to simplify and be safe 100&#37; .
    The market value of the property dropped around 60k because of this(rental dissappeared). This could be the case also.

    Last edited by Rob Pakula; 03-12-2008 at 07:11 AM. Reason: missing word

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    So let me get this right??
    13-160-050 Minimum number of exits.(d) In multiple dwellings, one exit serving one family only shall be permitted from the first or second story, and one exit shall be permitted from a basement space provided that the area of such floor or basement shall not exceed 800 square feet
    I was written a fine because I have a bed room in the basement of my house in Chicago heights IL where it has been for over 50yrs. The inspector told me me that because i did not have a second exit an exscape window to be exact that i could no longer sleep in the basement. So my question to you is in the city of Chicago heights if my basement apt is smaller then 800 sf do i need more then the basic stair case exit to sleep there? or since my house is 60 yrs old do I neeed to comply to the new codes if when I bought the house the apt was ok to sleep in then?

    Last edited by leonte paves; 03-09-2009 at 09:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    I know pretty much every neighborhood in the City. To the best of my knowledge, Chicago Heights is a suburb somewhere southwest, I think. You would not come under the City Code. Check with your municipality to see what Code they use.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    As I understand your post: bold red text is my highlighting.
    Quote Originally Posted by leonte paves View Post
    So let me get this right??
    13-160-050 Minimum number of exits.(d) In multiple dwellings, one exit serving one family only shall be permitted from the first or second story, and one exit shall be permitted from a basement space provided that the area of such floor or basement shall not exceed 800 square feet
    I was written a fine because I have a bed room in the basement of my house in Chicago heights IL where it has been for over 50yrs. The inspector told me me that because i did not have a second exit an escape window to be exact that i could no longer sleep in the basement. So my question to you is in the city of Chicago heights if my basement apt is smaller then 800 sf do i need more then the basic stair case exit to sleep there? or since my house is 60 yrs old do I need to comply to the new codes if when I bought the house the apt was ok to sleep in then?
    As I read your question that section does not apply to your non-multiple dwelling (one-family dwelling), thus, you would need to fall back to the code which is applicable to a one-family dwelling, and in one-family dwellings (have not seen an exception to this yet, but I would not be surprised if Chicago was) each sleeping room (i.e., bedroom) is required to have a second exit - an emergency escape and rescue opening.

    That is probably what was written up.

    The code you posted requires at least one (the code says minimum one is permitted, that means it requires at least one) exit for a basement dwelling of 800 square feet and less, and that if the basement dwelling is larger than 800 square feet it would require "more than one" exit.

    That part does not say that a "bedroom" in that 800 square foot and smaller basement dwelling does not require an emergency escape and rescue opening (EERO), a "required exit" is a hinged door, minimum 36" wide by 80" high.

    Thus, a EERO would be required for a "bedroom" regardless.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by leonte paves View Post
    So let me get this right??
    13-160-050 Minimum number of exits.(d) In multiple dwellings, one exit serving one family only shall be permitted from the first or second story, and one exit shall be permitted from a basement space provided that the area of such floor or basement shall not exceed 800 square feet
    I was written a fine because I have a bed room in the basement of my house in Chicago heights IL where it has been for over 50yrs. The inspector told me me that because i did not have a second exit an exscape window to be exact that i could no longer sleep in the basement. So my question to you is in the city of Chicago heights if my basement apt is smaller then 800 sf do i need more then the basic stair case exit to sleep there? or since my house is 60 yrs old do I neeed to comply to the new codes if when I bought the house the apt was ok to sleep in then?
    Chicago Heights, Illinois
    County of Cook.

    Single family home with basement apartment.

    If no permit, inspection and C of O for the conversion issued you're likely in deep do-do.

    The Assessor of Cook County has your property report and your property's history. I'd start there if I were you.

    If you can prove the conversion was prior to the 2nd egress absolute requirement you might prevail on that one issue, but not the others, such as zoning, etc.

    Perhaps might qualify for a community block grant to bring your property to code and return it to single family status?

    Here are some links: City of Chicago Heights

    City of Chicago Heights

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-10-2009 at 03:29 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    As I understand your post: bold red text is my highlighting.


    As I read your question that section does not apply to your non-multiple dwelling (one-family dwelling), thus, you would need to fall back to the code which is applicable to a one-family dwelling, and in one-family dwellings (have not seen an exception to this yet, but I would not be surprised if Chicago was) each sleeping room (i.e., bedroom) is required to have a second exit - an emergency escape and rescue opening.

    That is probably what was written up.

    The code you posted requires at least one (the code says minimum one is permitted, that means it requires at least one) exit for a basement dwelling of 800 square feet and less, and that if the basement dwelling is larger than 800 square feet it would require "more than one" exit.

    That part does not say that a "bedroom" in that 800 square foot and smaller basement dwelling does not require an emergency escape and rescue opening (EERO), a "required exit" is a hinged door, minimum 36" wide by 80" high.

    Thus, a EERO would be required for a "bedroom" regardless.




    Ok so does ever bedroom in the basement need a EERO in the room or do a need to change one of the windows to a EERO.


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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    [just purchased a two flat in chicago. I am told I cannot use pvc in chicago and if I go section 8 their inspectors won't approve it?


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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    PVC is allowed for drainage but not in-ground.
    PVC is NOT allowed for water supply.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    PVC is allowed for drainage but not in-ground.
    PVC is NOT allowed for water supply.
    Markus,

    Just in case this is what he meant to ask: Is CPVC allowed to be used for water supply and distribution piping in Chicago?

    I'm not aware of *anyplace* which allows PVC to be used for water supply and distribution piping. Water service piping to the house, yes, but not once inside the footprint of the house.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    I was sort of wondering about that myself Jerry.
    But no, no cpvc or pex for water supply. Copper is our standard. Except I still see some galvanized being used on larger stuff.

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    Default Re: Chicago building code exits requirement

    I can't advise the OP re: the legal question, but I can say that there apparently was an agreement to proceed with the architect's plan, and that plan was to comply with the bylaw.

    Some more free advice: It may be possible that the ceiling height in the unused closet space could be reduced to under 5', if that is a stumbling point for this exemption. Then remeasure the floor space exactly.

    Or apply for a variance. Can you do that in the land of Chicago??

    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-13-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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