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fire blocking


John Dirks Jr
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A house has an attached garage. The access hatch(pull down stairs) in the garage is wood. The end wall in the garage attic between the house and garage is wafer board.

Obviously, this is a concern for the spread of fire between the garage and house.

Can one simply solve the problem by changing the access stairs to a hatch that uses proper fire rated gypsum, or, does one still need to cover the end wall with gypsum?

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Thanks Kevin.

I see what you mean after I read the code. It says block between the garage and its attic space.

R309.2 Separation required.

The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than ½-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board applied to the garage side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be separated from all habitable rooms above by not less than 5/8-inch (15.9 mm)

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I would be hesitant to advise "adding proper fire retardant material over the pull down stair door". There is more to a fire rated assembly than some gypsum over the hatch cover.

FWIW, there are several very nice insulated and fire rated hatch systems out there, just don't expect to find them at your local lumber yard (forget even asking about one at the big box stores).

Tom

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Originally posted by John Dirks Jr

Thanks Kevin.

I see what you mean after I read the code. It says block between the garage and its attic space.

R309.2 Separation required.

The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than ½-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board applied to the garage side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be separated from all habitable rooms above by not less than 5/8-inch (15.9 mm)

Seems pretty straightforward to me, but when I call out ( in the Birminham, AL area) no separation the AHJ says no problem. Many of these homes are less than 10 years old, and I have not seen a single builder of one of these newer homes that installs gypsum board to separate garages from the habitable rooms above. Todays inspection was different only in that holes were cut in the subfloor so that the plumber could install a garden tub. [:-paperba

Am I missing something in this code section?

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Thanks,

Tim

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

Tim,

If those are pictures of a garage ceiling, I'm completely shocked. (Wrong ducts too)

If the AHJ sez that's fine, I think you need to have a little press party. Invite newspaper and TV reporters to a new house and give 'em a little lesson on how it's supposed to be.

Bill,

Yep, those are two different garage ceilings (common to see flex ducts as well). I am at my wits end on this, and I can't understand why the AHJ or the county/city inspectors sign off on this. I never see fire rated doors separating the garage from the living areas either (AHJ says any solid 1 3/8" door will suffice). More often than not, a hollow core interior door is used. In fact, I have NEVER seen a fire rated door with self closing hinges installed. I have been able to convince most if not all of my clients that they need fire separation and fire doors, but the builders just flat out don't do it during construction.

Your advice sounds like a winner. I think I will make a formal written request (I have only talked to the AHJ on the phone), for a clarification, and if they still say it is O.K., I'm gonna move forward.

Thanks again,

Tim

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Tim is right about Birmingham. They are not putting drywall on the ceiling in the garage below living space. They say they did not adopt that code is what I was told.

The last new home I did there it did not have a ceiling, the decks where installed wrong, no flashing connected to a cantilever chimney and a bay window.

The builder was there and said he did not know for sure what code they where using, he thought it was the 2003 IRC and did not know what part was not adopted.

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Originally posted by Phillip

Tim is right about Birmingham. They are not putting drywall on the ceiling in the garage below living space. They say they did not adopt that code is what I was told.

The last new home I did there it did not have a ceiling, the decks where installed wrong, no flashing connected to a cantilever chimney and a bay window.

The builder was there and said he did not know for sure what code they where using, he thought it was the 2003 IRC and did not know what part was not adopted.

Thanks for posting that Phillip. I was going to shoot you an e-mail to see if you had run into the same thing.

Tim

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I routinely see wooden pulldown garage ladders and call'em out every time. I do note that building codes vary, but recommend replace or retrofit to conform to modern standards for safety reasons.

If I see particle board or wafer board on the walls, and can't see drywall behind it, I also call it out.

Heck, I do split level homes often (or other homes w/ an integral garage) and either just see insulation or the subflooring above.

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