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Hazardous Stairway Write-Up


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Our State Standards of Practice say:

Report on those systems and components inspected that, in the opinion of
the inspector, are significantly deficient including:
A) A reason why, if not self evident, the system or component is
significantly deficient.
B) Whether the reported deficiency should be corrected or monitored.  (bold mine) 

So, you inspect a stairway that's extremely steep, has very low headroom, has inconsistent tread widths and riser heights, and other related problems.  The only cure is to spend an s-load of money and re-build the entire stairwell.  Do/would you tell your client to correct the hazards as dictated by our state standards (or, *monitor* and be really really really careful)?

And, not-withstanding our state standards concern, how else do you folk write-up such stairs?
 

Edited by Jerry Simon
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some stats say falls are #1 cause of household accidents

i clearly report the facts (you noted), advise replacement if situation warrants (i would based on your narrative of conditions present), costs be damned & let the client decide on how they want to move forward

purchasing opp (other peoples problems) is an adult decision & adulting has become as rare as common sense

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2 hours ago, Jerry Simon said:

Our State Standards of Practice say:

Report on those systems and components inspected that, in the opinion of
the inspector, are significantly deficient including:
A) A reason why, if not self evident, the system or component is
significantly deficient.
B) Whether the reported deficiency should be corrected or monitored.  (bold mine) 

So, you inspect a stairway that's extremely steep, has very low headroom, has inconsistent tread widths and riser heights, and other related problems.  The only cure is to spend an s-load of money and re-build the entire stairwell.  Do/would you tell your client to correct the hazards as dictated by our state standards (or, *monitor* and be really really really careful)?

And, not-withstanding our state standards concern, how else do you folk write-up such stairs?
 

The standards don't dictate that hazards be corrected.

I hope no state legislature ever passes language like you mentioned in bold. All hell will break loose when a legislature, or board, starts telling inspectors how to report on a house that the legislature, or board, has never seen.

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1 hour ago, BADAIR said:

i clearly report the facts (you noted), advise replacement if situation warrants (i would based on your narrative of conditions present), costs be damned & let the client decide on how they want to move forward

That's what I do.  Doesn't seem *right*, though, to recommend a client spend five-figures to do such remodeling.  

We have all seen this in homes from the '20's and earlier, and I can't see anyone acting upon us advising a complete stairway replacement.  That's why I was hoping someone had a better/different way to address this/report on this.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Simon said:

Doesn't seem *right*, though, to recommend a client spend five-figures to do such remodeling.  

right or wrong it's my opinion

i see no difference than some of the properly sized-installed, yet maintenance neglected, decks-stairs that i've seen reported in the news causing injuries or collapsing in your & my markets

i'm in a licensed state that requires me to use a promulgated form

in the "preamble" of said report form is this quote in all bold caps

ITEMS IDENTIFIED IN THE REPORT DO NOT OBLIGATE ANY PARTY TO MAKE REPAIRS OR TAKE OTHER ACTIONS, NOR IS THE PURCHASER REQUIRED TO REQUEST THAT THE SELLER TAKE ANY ACTION.

there are no pre or post inspection police that i'm aware of

like i tell folks "don't follow my lead, what i may be doing has gotten others in a world of hurt"

Edited by BADAIR
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2 hours ago, Jerry Simon said:

Exact language is already in Illinois' Standards of Practice.

So I've confirmed, but its crosses a pivotal threshold. It's exceedingly poor practice of a legislature to grant that power to an administrative agency. JMHO

Edited by Marc
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Dangerous Stairways

Both stairways have an assortment of problems that make them more dangerous than they need to be:

  • Bullet point problem
  • Bullet point problem 
  • Bullet point problem
  • Bullet point problem
  • Bullet point problem

You might find it prohibitively expensive to fix every unsafe aspect of these stairways, but you could probably afford to fix some things, which would be better than fixing nothing. Proper handrails, guardrails, lighting and door-swing adjustments, for instance, would be relatively inexpensive.

1.      Consult with a contractor to make as many improvements as you can afford at the stairways. Here’s a great reference document .  As for the remaining issues, either accept the risk associated with them or find a way to pay to have them fixed. 

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“low headroom, has inconsistent tread widths and riser heights, …”

Around here, this sounds like a typical old house basement stairway, or stairs to a converted attic. As long as the stairs are not going to fall down, my most important concern is handrails. Installing handrails is never an option.

 “The stairs need a handrail. Have a carpenter install.”

I would keep this separate from other remarks about the stairs which would include…

"The stairway is a fall hazard because of this, this and this. Use with caution. Fixing this may not be practical and would be very expensive. Consult a carpenter." 

 

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B) Whether the reported deficiency should be corrected or monitored. 

I am not afraid to deviate from the SOP on this. I feel the spirit of the law is to inform and protect my client which is always my intention. And I have never used the words, "significantly deficient." 

Nobody I know talks like that. The words are creepy.

Edited by Mike Lamb
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On 8/9/2021 at 12:34 AM, Jim Katen said:

Dangerous Stairways

1.      Consult with a contractor to make as many improvements as you can afford at the stairways. Here’s a great reference document .  As for the remaining issues, either accept the risk associated with them or find a way to pay to have them fixed. 

That is pretty good

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