Author Topic: Residential Question  (Read 2216 times)

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Artisan

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Residential Question
« on: August 03, 2005, 09:57:38 AM »
In dealing with residential design, how many of you are putting or seeing attic accesses in the garage areas? In our area, we are under the IRC which demands that these openings be rated. Nearly half of them are not rated and the inspectors haven't really been inspecting them up until now. While the easy thing to do would be to locate the opening within the house, we have a few here that want to keep in the garage. I was wondering how some of you handle this? Are you using rated pull down ladders or are you attaching drywall to the access cover? Thanks

Keith™

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Residential Question
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 10:56:55 AM »
The majority of the projects I do call for an attic truss over the garage, however there are those instances where what you describe is exactly what the homeowner wants.

I am unfamiliar with any requirement in the IRC that requires an opening to be rated. I might ask the question "Rated for what?
If you are referring to the attic area as a storage area being rated, then yes, if it is called out as an attic storage area (according to the IRC) the required rating of 20#LL and 10#DL is typically applied and an attic ladder listed for use in this manner is installed.

 However, you should also be aware that many jurisdictions require all garages attached to homes have rated fire walls separating attic areas of garages from the attic area of homes as per NFPA-101 or a fire rated separation from the garage to the attic, in which case most attic accesses would be precluded from being used in garages.

You probably should consult the NFPA-101 and the IRC a little more in depth to determine if these instances apply to your specific circumstances.
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SPDCad

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Residential Question
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2005, 11:02:12 AM »
I work with very large residential buildings (ie. retirement homes) and it is required by code to have a rated attic access panel.
In my case we just spec one, due to size requirements and other code issues.
I have a retirement home that has site built access panels that’s consisted of 2 layers 13mm Type ‘X’ gypsum board on a fire rated support structure. The ladder need not be rated, if one is provided. The 2 layers of gypsum is what is known as a protective (fire rated) membrane and is all that is required as a separation.  You will need to check your local code requirements for a protective membrane. In some case where I live a attic access hatch is not required for a concealed space. Based on height and area. This maybe a loop hole you can use to get around the problem.
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VerticalMojo

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Residential Question
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2005, 11:31:37 AM »
I moved this topic to a more suitable forum.

 :D

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Artisan

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Residential Question
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2005, 12:07:13 PM »
I may not have been specific enough in my first post, but I was asking about the fire rating protection for these attic accesses. Under the IRC, section 309.1 is the section that requires the openings to be protected. In the case of the drop down ladder, they aren't rated, like 20 minute rated, and it's a problem now. I was just seeing if anyone else had this problem and if they have found a rated access unit to meet the 20 minute rating that the IRC puts on the openings.

Keith™

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Residential Question
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2005, 12:27:22 PM »
That is exactly why we do not put attic accesses in garages if the attic of the garage is going to be open to the attic of the home.

A quick google search revealed this
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Artisan

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Residential Question
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2005, 12:54:49 PM »
Quote from: Keith
That is exactly why we do not put attic accesses in garages if the attic of the garage is going to be open to the attic of the home.

A quick google search revealed this


Thanks Keith. I agree with you on the whole attic access issue in the garage, but I don't get to make the final call here. They have been getting away with it for some time now and it didn't matter to them. Well, they got tagged last week on one and now the inspections department is taking notice.

The link to the Rainbow system is the only one I could find also. That unit is $950 bucks. I called Werner Ladders and they only offer a fire rated piece of plywood with a flame spread index rating of 25 which won't cut it because it's not rated for time. They told me that they have sold several of the plywood models and the contractors have been applying 1/2" drywall on the plywood and getting by. I don't know if that will fly here, but I have put in an email to the state agency about the matter. Thanks for the help.