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Dwelling unit separation at balcony

ADAguy

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
5,083
Location
California
I don't have a good argument, so I am going to go with you are not "in" the building so not required....The intent of the tenant separations are to keep a fire from spreading from unit to unit or from building in a unit and then blowing through to the next....The termination requirements for fire partitions typically allow them to stop at the exterior walls....

420.2 Separation walls. Walls separating dwelling units in
the same building, walls separating sleeping units in the same
building and walls separating dwelling or sleeping units from
other occupancies contiguous to them in the same building
shall be constructed as fire partitions in accordance with Section
708.

708.4 Continuity. Fire partitions shall extend from the top of
the foundation or floor/ceiling assembly below to the underside
of the floor or roof sheathing, slab or deck above or to
the fire-resistance-rated floor/ceiling or roof/ceiling assembly
above, and shall be securely attached thereto. In combustible
construction where the fire partitions are not required to be
continuous to the sheathing, deck or slab, the space between
the ceiling and the sheathing, deck or slab above shall be fireblocked
or draftstopped in accordance with Sections 718.2
and 718.3 at the partition line. The supporting construction
shall be protected to afford the required fire-resistance rating
of the wall supported, except for walls separating tenant
spaces in covered and open mall buildings, walls separating
dwelling units, walls separating sleeping units and corridor
walls, in buildings of Type IIB, IIIB and VB construction.

Consider a BBQ fire on one side with the wind blowing?
 

Glenn

Corporate Supporter
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
629
Location
Denver
I don't have a good argument, so I am going to go with you are not "in" the building so not required....The intent of the tenant separations are to keep a fire from spreading from unit to unit or from building in a unit and then blowing through to the next....The termination requirements for fire partitions typically allow them to stop at the exterior walls....

I believe your train of thought is correct.

Here it is again, fire separation for decks. Whether FSD or occupancy separation, the code is simply not equipped to handle this or provide for consistent interpretations. I will likely be working on proposals for IBC 2024 to begin this discussion at the ICC code development level. With support from the North American Deck and Railing Association, I have been able to assist in deck code development since the 2015 editions. WE WELCOME discussion, ideas, disagreement, and collaboration PRIOR to submitting our proposals. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have an interest in seeing this addressed more clearly in the IBC and IRC.

To the original poster, I am in the Denver area. These are my code peers. I appreciate you not naming (shaming) the jurisdiction, but if you would let me know which it was in a private message, I would be able to reach out to them in a positive manner to better understand their position on this interpretation. Heck, I may know the reviewer! This is simply to help better craft proposals for the future codes.
 

Sifu

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,369
Glenn, I watching a fire resistive class as I type this. I may try to get this brought up as a topic. You are speaking on decks tomorrow, I am hopefully going to be able to join in on that as well. I will be interested to hear your take on this as well. I am still amazed that clearer code has not been made on this. I read a Seattle interpretation and an Atlanta interpretation on it yesterday, each with a little different take on it.
 

Sifu

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,369
An expert just answered my question by confirming this is a highly controversial topic that a bunch of very well respected authorities in the field can't agree on. I don't feel so bad now.
 

tmurray

Registered User
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
1,901
Location
NB, Canada
I am in the camp of "it's not in the building, so there is no requirement to separate". Firewalls are a good example of where this is explicitly addressed by the code. One could conclude that by not including similar language in the requirements for separations between dwelling units, the same level of protection is not required by the code.
 

Harrison Staab

Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
24
Location
Manhattan, KS
For what it's worth the AHJ did not budge on the requirement that the dwelling unit separation continue via the exterior wall dividing the balconies. He did allow that wall to stop short of the edge of the balcony slightly to maintain the visual appearance we had designed with the railings running past the divider wall. His rationalization for this was that the separation wall just extend to or beyond the main roof line (not the balcony projection beyond). Thanks all for the discussion.
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
18,834
Location
Basement
For what it's worth the AHJ did not budge on the requirement that the dwelling unit separation continue via the exterior wall dividing the balconies. He did allow that wall to stop short of the edge of the balcony slightly to maintain the visual appearance we had designed with the railings running past the divider wall. His rationalization for this was that the separation wall just extend to or beyond the main roof line (not the balcony projection beyond). Thanks all for the discussion.

Ok, boy now the next guy is going to get the business.
 

khsmith55

Bronze Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
193
Location
Glenwood Springs, CO
I believe your train of thought is correct.

Here it is again, fire separation for decks. Whether FSD or occupancy separation, the code is simply not equipped to handle this or provide for consistent interpretations. I will likely be working on proposals for IBC 2024 to begin this discussion at the ICC code development level. With support from the North American Deck and Railing Association, I have been able to assist in deck code development since the 2015 editions. WE WELCOME discussion, ideas, disagreement, and collaboration PRIOR to submitting our proposals. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have an interest in seeing this addressed more clearly in the IBC and IRC.

To the original poster, I am in the Denver area. These are my code peers. I appreciate you not naming (shaming) the jurisdiction, but if you would let me know which it was in a private message, I would be able to reach out to them in a positive manner to better understand their position on this interpretation. Heck, I may know the reviewer! This is simply to help better craft proposals for the future codes.
Let's look at this in a different way. I agree with other posters that separation is not required at the decks because the fire most likely won't "jump" around the corner and breach the other unit but will dissipate to the exterior. An analogy might be a covered exit balcony open on one side with stairs at each end. The exterior wall in this case is not even required to be rated because the fire will most likely dissipate out. In my simple mind, there is really no difference between the exit balcony and the unit deck as far as dwelling unit separation. Thoughts?

Ken
 

jar546

*****istrator
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
7,916
Location
Palm Beach County Florida
For what it's worth the AHJ did not budge on the requirement that the dwelling unit separation continue via the exterior wall dividing the balconies. He did allow that wall to stop short of the edge of the balcony slightly to maintain the visual appearance we had designed with the railings running past the divider wall. His rationalization for this was that the separation wall just extend to or beyond the main roof line (not the balcony projection beyond). Thanks all for the discussion.

Thank you for bringing this controversial subject to the forum for discussion. This shows an area that needs to be revisited for clarification purposes when it comes to a new code cycle.
 
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