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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
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    WV
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    2

    Default Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    I purchased this home 4 years ago. It passed inspection with no issues at that time. I recently listed it for sale and the inspector is now telling me that a fire barrier is required on the garage ceiling which has living space above the garage. I live in WV and my question is "When did the code change to Pre-existing older homes. I believe this began for new construction. This house was built in 1958. Was there an amendment to include all older homes?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    27,592

    Default Re: Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    From here: https://wvleap.wvu.edu/fundamental-t...ve%20in%201990

    "The WVSBC was enacted in 1989 and became effective in 1990. 2"

    Note "2. Id. (originally enacted as Fire Prevention and Control Act, ch. 114, art. 3) (stated that all building and housing codes in existence were void one year after enactment, in 1990); see Swiger v. UGI/Amerigas, Inc., 216 W. Va. 756, 759 n.13, 613 S.E.2d 904, 907 n.13 (2005)."

    That said, the inspector would be remiss if he/she didn't report on no ceiling being between a garage and living space above (and the ceiling is only part of the requirements) ... however ... depending on many things, there likely may not have beem a retroactive requirement for it.

    That is where it comes down to "how" the items are reported in the report.

    I would start be asking the inspector for documentation of the requirement ... if the report states it as a "requirement". If not stated as a "requirement", then it may have been listed as an advisory for their client's knowledge.

    Nonetheless, though, it should be on the report, the only question being "how" it was addressed on the report.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    WV
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    Default Re: Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    How do I find out if it is retroactive? The list of repairs does say required repair. The only thing I have received from the inspector is what they want fixed or questions about. What are my options at this point?

    Last edited by Nancy Chapman; 04-25-2021 at 05:18 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Chapman View Post
    How do I find out if it is retroactive? The list of repairs does say required repair. The only thing I have received from the inspector is what they want fixed or questions about. What are my options at this point?
    If it is listed as "required", ask the inspector for their documentation that it is "required". The inspector may have inadvertently listed it as "required", if that was intentional, then the inspector will have ... should have ... documentation as to why he/she lists it as "required".

    I was anticipating that you might have replied that it is a "safety" item, which is it, but so are: missing smoke alarms; non-working smoke alarms; smoke alarms which are battery operated only (battery operated are not as safe as permanently wired smoke alarms as the batteries will no longer function, and not replacing the batteries leaves the smoke alarms not functioning); so are water heaters with water temperature set too high; so are stairs with risers which are too high, treads which are not deep enough; missing handrails; missing guards (guardrails); and many other things.

    Are "safety" items also "required" items? It depends, but whether they are or are not "required", they should be listed because they are "safety" items.

    Before contacting the building department as to whether that ceiling is now "required", the inspector should be the one to provide their documentation as to why the inspector listed it as "required".

    The nuances of home inspection reports and the wording of items in the reports can be a topic of discussion with what may seem as not having a clearly stated answer, but ... "required" has much easier to answer - provide documentation of what "requires" the items. That documentation is easy to show for newly constructed houses, not so easy for existing houses, especially older houses (the older the house, the more questions are raised due to the more code editions since the older house was constructed, and whether or not work (additions, alterations, etc) has been done on the house during its life, and many of those answers can only be addressed with time consuming research.

    Your question has no easy answer, other than "the inspector should be the one to provide their documentation as to why the inspector listed it as "required"."

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,528

    Default Re: Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    In addition to what's been posted, if you're using the services of a real estate agent, it's really up to that person to sort out the details. Words on a report may have different connotations.

    Many buyers (or buyer's agent) will submit a "repair list" that encompasses literally anything and everything they want corrected, no matter what the logic is behind the request.

    In todays' market especially, "anything and everything" is negotiable, including what repairs you choose or agree to complete.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    27,592

    Default Re: Fire Barrier for Attached garage in older home

    Dom,

    Good point.

    The real estate agent may have submitted a list they and the buyer listed as being required ... for that buyer to buy that house.

    What it gets down to is what I told my clients, which starts out with what you mentioned -negotiations.

    I would tell my clients that the party who needs or wants the deal to go through the most loses on negotiations.

    One needs to be willing to walk away from the deal to have the stronger side in the negotiations.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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