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Condo & Townhome Fire Separation


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This has probably been discussed on here before but I didn't find it.

How long has the drywall between townhomes & condos been required to be fire rated? I've inspected 30+ year old units that didn't have fire rated drywall between them in the attic and I called it out. Is that correct? What year did that become a requirement?

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I don't know how long it's been required, but I once brought it up during a home inspection of a 140 year old building.

My client had a firewall installed immediately and that when his cretinous floor refinishing guys set his unit ablaze, the neighbors had plenty of time to get out of their homes.

That story has grown legs in Greater Boston (sometimes I was the inspector, sometimes it was my Dad) and got me more high end work than any single source I can think of.

So, yeah, I think you did the right thing to make your client aware of the issue.


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A few decades past in this area (Metro Atlanta)had a frenzy of converting apartments to fee simple condos. There were no firewalls and very few were added. In my project I have firewall in the attic between each unit but the units across the lake has none? They could not get fire insurance for the buildings at a reasonable cost and for quite awhile they could not get any insurance. Another problem with no firewall or separations in attics of connected condos is one can enter unit one attic scuttle and go to unit six and enter the unit or see what he want's. [:-bigeyes. Believe me it happens. Anyway the buyer should be made aware of this most definately.

Paul B.

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Don't confuse the terms townhouse and condo. The term Condo relates to a form of ownership. You can own a single family detached condo. Fire separation typically must be added to a building when the use of the building, or portion of the building changes. Fire separation is a code requirement and not a function of ownership.

Tom Corrigan

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