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Thread: No Stairs

  1. #1
    Vince Santos's Avatar
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    Default No Stairs

    Saw a patio door off a dining room today that did not have a set of stairs installed with about a two and a half foot drop to the exterior ground. Is this something the builder should have installed or would the homeowner be responsible for taking care of that? I noticed several home in the neighborhood were the same.

    ALL of them that I saw were missing downspout extensions too.

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    Last edited by Vince Santos; 05-09-2007 at 08:53 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    The builder.

    Maximum riser height is 7-3/4".

    Also:
    From the IRC. (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R311.4.3 Landings at doors. There shall be a floor or landing on each side of each exterior door. The floor or landing at the exterior door shall not be more than 1.5 inches (38 mm) lower than the top of the threshold. The landing shall be permitted to have a slope not to exceed 0.25 unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent).
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Where a stairway of two or fewer risers is located on the exterior side of a door, other than the required exit door, a landing is not required for the exterior side of the door provided the door, other than an exterior storm or screen door does not swing over the stairway.
    - - - 2. The exterior landing at an exterior doorway shall not be more than 7
    3/4 inches (196 mm) below the top of the threshold, provided the door, other than an exterior storm or screen door does not swing over the landing.
    - - - 3. The height of floors at exterior doors other than the exit door required by Section R311.4.1 shall not be more than 7
    3/4 inches (186 mm) lower than the top of the threshold.
    - - The width of each landing shall not be less than the door served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    I would say from the 03 IRC:

    312.1 Guards required.
    Porches, balconies or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 34 inches (864 mm) in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.
    Porches and decks which are enclosed with insect screening shall be provided with guards where the walking surface is located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below.

    If it was 30" or more.


  4. #4
    Vince Santos's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    Got it. So my question is would the builder be the one who should install these or does it the owner the one who has to take care of it? It seems to me if it's a safety issue the builder should have taken care of it.


  5. #5
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: No Stairs

    I agree with Jerry, the builder.

    Also, after re-reading your post again, I think there is two solutions to this.

    Jerry's, is to install a set of stairs.

    Mine, is to install a guard rail across the doorway.

    For some reason when I read patio door I was thinking there was a concrete patio that had the drop off.

    Sorry should have read more closely, but a guard rail would also solve the problem too. You just wouldn't be able to go out that door.


  6. #6
    Vince Santos's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: No Stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Moreira View Post
    I agree with Jerry, the builder.

    Also, after re-reading your post again, I think there is two solutions to this.

    Jerry's, is to install a set of stairs.

    Mine, is to install a guard rail across the doorway.

    For some reason when I read patio door I was thinking there was a concrete patio that had the drop off.

    Sorry should have read more closely, but a guard rail would also solve the problem too. You just wouldn't be able to go out that door.
    I told the owner a set of stairs should be installed or a guard should be extended across the opening. I guess we all agree the builder should have taken care of this. It was a warranty inspection so perhaps he will get the builder to do it for him.


    Thanks for the information fellas.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    My guess is that the builder is following minimal requirements of the local code. There is no question, based on your information that the the distance from the top of the threshold is greater than 7 3/4 inches. There is no question what the IRC says.

    However, the web was no help. It appears that Detroit uses the State of Michigan Building codes, not the IRC. Unlike many other areas, Michigan charges for access. All the City site offered were permit forms.

    Who is responsible is a legal question. If it is required, is not. For those using the IRC, yes. In your case, I would ask the City's building department for a copy of the local codes and go from there.

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  8. #8
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Santos View Post
    Saw a patio door off a dining room today that did not have a set of stairs installed with about a two and a half foot drop to the exterior ground. Is this something the builder should have installed or would the homeowner be responsible for taking care of that? I noticed several home in the neighborhood were the same.
    Was the builder perhaps initially offering decks as an option during the build? Did he intend to have decks and just never got to it? Doesn't really matter though. He can't just leave it like that if the clients didn't want to pony up for a deck.

    A third possibilty is that the builder asked the buyers if they intended to install decks and, if so, if they wanted a set of steps that would later have to be removed. I could see new homebuyers saying "No, don't bother. We're going to have our dream deck built almost straight away." A year later, many of them still haven't fully un-packed, let alone gotten around to that deck. But...I would imagine your clients would have said something about that.

    I don't really see that "312.1 Guards required" applies here. That's more for "walking surfaces". It's a door. Doors are intended to be walked through. No one, not even the builder, would expect a 2½ foot first step to be acceptable. Report it as a safety issue in need of repair and move on.

    As for steps or guardrail as the repair...I guess it would depend on what other direct access was available to the yard. Steps sound like the most logical choice unless there's an exterior kitchen door.

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 05-09-2007 at 11:42 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    Ya mean like these??

    In the first one, the builder left it, ddn't bother to get a C.O. , didn't disclose, and is now in litigation with the buyers. (No, I didn't inspect for the buyer at time of purchase.)

    In the second one, a deck was NOT part of the construction loan for the self built home. Builder/owner plans to add a deck later (see the flashed deck rim joist), but installed the guard to get his C.O.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Moreira View Post
    Also, after re-reading your post again, I think there is two solutions to this.

    Jerry's, is to install a set of stairs.

    Mine, is to install a guard rail across the doorway.
    No can do with the guardrail.

    It is a DOOR, and "There shall be a floor or landing on each side of each exterior door. ", etc. as required by code.

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

  11. #11
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    Exclamation Re: No Stairs

    Vince,

    According to Michigan code, which is the IRC with added items, the deck or steps should have been there at the time the final code inspection was done, and a CO should not have been issued by the AHJ without. What your client neesd to do, or pay you to do, is verify that a CO was indeed issued for the house. If a CO was issued, the AHJ's Code Official should be notified of the problem [this is sometimes more easily done in the form of a question], either by your client or by you. If there was no CO issued, then your client needs to follow through and make sure that one gets issued. If there isn't one on record, it could cause a whole basket of problems for your client.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: No Stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    Vince,

    According to Michigan code, which is the IRC with added items, the deck or steps should have been there at the time the final code inspection was done, and a CO should not have been issued by the AHJ without. What your client neesd to do, or pay you to do, is verify that a CO was indeed issued for the house. If a CO was issued, the AHJ's Code Official should be notified of the problem [this is sometimes more easily done in the form of a question], either by your client or by you. If there was no CO issued, then your client needs to follow through and make sure that one gets issued. If there isn't one on record, it could cause a whole basket of problems for your client.
    Agreed, shouldn't have been a CO issued. Some AHJ's do allow the guardrail- I don't want to argue whether it's right or wrong- maybe it was removed after the inspection.

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

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