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folding attic stairways

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by Rick18071, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    We just moved on to the 2015 IRC and I am asking if this code section is for folding attic stairways?

    R311.7.12 Ships ladders. Ships ladders shall not be used
    as an element of a means of egress. Ships ladders shall be
    permitted provided that a required means of egress stairway
    or ramp serves the same space at each adjoining level
    or where a means of egress is not required. The clear width
    at and below the handrails shall be not less than 20 inches.

    R311.7.12.1 Treads of ships ladders. Treads shall
    have a depth of not less than 5 inches (127 mm). The
    tread shall be projected such that the total of the tread
    depth plus the nosing projection is not less than 81/2
    inches (216 mm). The riser height shall be not more
    than 91/2 inches (241 mm).

    R311.7.12.2 Handrails of ships ladders. Handrails
    shall be provided on both sides of ships ladders and
    shall comply with Sections R311.7.8.2 to R311.7.8.4.
    Handrail height shall be uniform, not less than 30 inches
    (762 mm) and not more than 34 inches (864 mm).
     
  2. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Would say no

    Attic with just pull down stairs not a means of egress ?
     
  3. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    I agree, does not apply to attic access stairs, those are merely that, attic access.
     
  4. Sleepy

    Sleepy Registered User

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    It is odd though. Why does the code have a paragraph in the means of egress section that says ships ladders can't be part of a means of egress and then a list of specific requirements for ships ladders? I guess the "shall be permitted..." language is more of a requirement for the AHJ than anyone else.

    Not an AHJ, but my interpretation would be that while R807.1 does require access to an attic there is no specific requirement for how to get to the hatch. You can use whatever you want, a climbing rope, trampoline, ladder, etc. And there is no requirement for a means of egress from the attic unless it is a habitable attic. So I would say that R311.7.12 (and 311.7.11 while we are at it) would apply only where access is to a part of the actual dwelling unit; but the code doesn't seem to be clear on that.

    An opposing view would be that if it looks like a ships ladder then it better meet the requirements listed in R311.7.12.
     
  5. Francis Vineyard

    Francis Vineyard Sawhorse

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    Perhaps it is an introduction for the 2018 where alternating treads and ship ladders are approved as a means of egress for lofts, mezzanines and similar areas of 200 gross sf or less. These new provisions align with the tiny home in Appendix Q that also permit inclined ladders.
     
  6. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    Well attic fold down ladders do look like ship ladders.

    If you had a second set of stairs going upstairs wouldn't you require it to comply?

    There are other things listed under the means of egress that are not part of a means of egress like landings for other than the egress door, handrails and stair dimensions for all stairways not just egress stairways, alternating tread devices and slopes for ramps that are not for egress.

    If all stairways and ramps need to go by this section why would not the ladder to the attic.
     
  7. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    not a means of egress


    Unless maybe you have an old style attic, where you actually walked up stairs and through a door to get to it.

    Plus not sure if there is a folding attic ladder that would comply with all of that section????
     
  8. RCT

    RCT Registered User

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    Sounds like an exception is needed.....
     
  9. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    Within a home, you may have a ship ladder, which would comply with R311.7.12.1-2, however it cannot be used as a means of egress. An alternate means of egress, such as a compliant conventional stairway, is required.

    Per the commentary - "These provisions further clarify that a ship's ladder cannot be used as an element of a means of egress, and can only be used to access a space that does not require a means of egress, or where a required means of egress stairway or ramp is also provided to serve the same space that the ship's ladders serve at each level."
     
    #9 Ty J., Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    my250r11 likes this.
  10. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    [​IMG]

    Ship ladder. I don't believe attic stairways have a 5-inch tread like a ship ladder.
     
    JBI likes this.
  11. JBI

    JBI Sawhorse

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    I'm going to sit this one out... LOL
     
    steveray likes this.
  12. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Is it a habitable attic?...LOL
     
  13. McShan

    McShan Bronze Member

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    Im thinking tiny home as with the reduction of habitable space d=from 120 to 70 sq feet.
     
  14. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    A folding ladder is just that, intended to be an alternate to a ladder. A ships ladder is typically fixed in place.
     

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