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"Head-plant" planters!

 

     With the exception of a missing handrail for the stairs, this installation meets “code” requirements.

 Poor stair installation for exterior door

     The platform outside of the door is 29-3/4” above the patio surface.  If it was over 30” a guard rail would be required to prevent falls from the platform.

     This is a great example of the “minimum standards” aspect of the building codes.  To me this installation represents a serious safety issue and should be made safe.  Besides the fact that most people would not want to walk off this platform in the dark and fall into one of the planters, imagine trying to negotiate the stairs and wrestle the door open (or closed) at the same time----with no hand railing or barrier railing.

     Another thing to consider is wind.  Imagine opening the door from the inside and having it be caught by the wind.  Would you let go of the door and allow it to slam against the outside wall of the house or would you attempt to hang onto it and be dragged screaming into one of the waiting planters?

 

Charles Buell

 

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 25 commentsCharles Buell • February 23 2009 10:46AM

Comments

Well... I guess the manufacturer had figured out ahead of time how to beat code enforcement! Sneaky stuff!

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty,Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes - (Lizette Realty - Lexington KY - Richmond KY) over 9 years ago

Lizette, I think it would be VERY interesting to know all the thought processes that allowed this installation to be built the way it was.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Sure is one heck of a safety/trip hazard. What amazes me is that it can be resolved cheaply, so why isn't it?

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 9 years ago

I think the new buyer will make changes.  For one thing even with a proper railing/barrier, I think the landing should be as wide as the door plus the side lights just for "looks"----but that may just be me:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles - I agree, the landing definitely needs to be wider and side lights would dress up the entrance.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 9 years ago

Suesan, by "side-lights" I am referring to the fixed glass panels next to the door.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charlie,

I am convinced that some builders do build, specifically, to heights to get around the code requirements. It might be legal but it often looks cheap.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Steve, it sure does seem like it sometimes.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles, I just read this blog after wrestling with activerain all day trying to get on.  I finally put a blog up so if you haven't already, read it.  What a coincidence......it's a doorstep blog!!

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Great post Charles, Somethimes I think designers build things for looks and steer away from safety

Posted by Sonny Kwan, 206-819-8228 (Quantum Group Commercial - Residential - Lease Seattle, WA ) over 9 years ago

Barbara, AR has been kind of slow all day----I'll be over to visit:)

Hi Sonny, thanks for stopping by---the problem with this design is that in my opinion it doesn't look so good on top of being unsafe:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles. One of the solutions would be to fill the planters with water. Think of it like diving into your personal "kiddie" pool...

Your building consultant for life in the Fairview, TN area ~ Michael

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Michael, actually the one on the left had a little water feature in it:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles - Yep, I'm aware, but hey, thanks for making sure I was following along. :)

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 9 years ago

Charlie - here such stairs are required to be 4' wide and with 4 risers have at least one handrail. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Okeedoekee Suesan

Jay----now how the heck is that supposed to help anyone fall off:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

My bad...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I will let it slide THIS time:)  I can just see Croakster bouncing down those stairs can't you?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Those stairs would make a lovely addition to my pond!  Do you ship?  Where they are now, I would have little use as there is no water at the bottom.  And water in those pots would not be enough as grandma is probably "heading" there before I get the chance...

Very kindly,

Croakster

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

again common sense fails to rule the day.

Posted by Jim Albano, Team - Jean-Marie Vantuno / Realtors North Jersey Real Estate (Prudential Damiano Realty ) over 9 years ago

Croakster---I can ship if you can pay:)

Jim did you mean to say:  "again common dense rules the day."

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

The 30 inch height requirement I think is crazy. Would anyone want to fall that far? There is no doubt someone could be seriously injured falling off those stairs.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

James, I agree----I just can't understand how this continues to get by code revisions.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Yepper ..... just think when the steps are covered in snow or ice. That type of concrete is about impossible to shovel clean because of all the little stones. Seems like this home would be better off with ....

1. A wider stoop at the top
2. A railing for support

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) over 9 years ago

Sean---for sure.  Painful to think about all the things one could break dealing with these stairs.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

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