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Question: IRC landing interpretation


Brandon Whitmore
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My question is in regards to tis: R311.4.3

Where does the 36" measurement start from? The reason I ask is that this landing (see pic below) is only 34 7/8" when measured from the outer edge of the door threshold which is inset to the wall, to the edge of the landing (concrete edge to concrete edge). I did not write this up in the report because I think the intent of the code has been met in this case. The interior floor is level with the exterior landing. Since the threshold is level with the concrete landing, I figure this is just as safe, if not safer than most landings where there is a step down.

Here's the pic:

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tn_2009610123819_Landing.jpg

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What do y'all think?

This is on a new construction inspection based on the 2008 ORSC by the way.....

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My question is in regards to tis: R311.4.3

Where does the 36" measurement start from?

Why wouldn't you measure from the outer surface of the door?

The reason I ask is that this landing (see pic below) is only 34 7/8" when measured from the outer edge of the door threshold which is inset to the wall, to the edge of the landing (concrete edge to concrete edge). I did not write this up in the report because I think the intent of the code has been met in this case. The interior floor is level with the exterior landing. Since the threshold is level with the concrete landing, I figure this is just as safe, if not safer than most landings where there is a step down.

What do y'all think?

This is on a new construction inspection based on the 2008 ORSC by the way.....

I think it's a dumb idea to pour concrete up against a wooden structure. In 50 year old homes, that's always where we see the termite damage.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Why wouldn't you measure from the outer surface of the door?

The threshold is inset to the wall. The outer face of the threshold is even with the outer face of the wall. I'd have to see the IRC's exact definition of a threshold to know for sure, but I figured since the concrete edge lined up with the outer wall, that's where I may define the start to a landing. I still figure the intent of the code has been met, which is why I didn't write this up.

I'm used to measuring from the concrete edges since there is usually a step down. It makes it easier to know where to measure from that way.

I think it's a dumb idea to pour concrete up against a wooden structure. In 50 year old homes, that's always where we see the termite damage.

I guess I should have given an establishing shot. That area is protected by a large covered porch. Water will never get up in there. I guess there's always a termite concern, but the area is flashed between the wall and concrete. I don't usually see termites cause many issues in areas such as this where it can not get wet-- it's obviously possible. Would you be less concerned since the area will always be bone dry?

I think there's a trade off. That landing being level with the interior door may prevent at least one trip/ fall over the next 50 years. In that time, someone may have to do some repairs or termite treatment as a result of the design.

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I would have written it up as non compliant and let the buyer think about whether to correct.

I would measure from the sill outer edge. When I look at a stairway framed in the rough I measure from the wall plate of the door opening (which is often yet to be cut away).

As for Jim's concrete comment I agree. In GA the state code calls for two inches clearance between paved areas and any kind of wall cladding.

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  • 1 month later...

This is where our job becomes tricky. Do we, number one, cite building codes, number two, do we split hairs (it is afterall barely 1'' short) and if we do write it up what kind of rating do we give it: defective, monitor, minor defect, dangerous because it is technically not deep enough? Use your best judgement. It is highly unlikely it would ever be an issue but to be on the safe side, it should have been in the report. It's the things you don't put in your report that may come back to haunt you.

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