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TOPIC: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter?

"Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33247

That was the question my clients asked me when I pointed out the dangers to small children inherent at their home inspection.  This patio sold the house!  It is beautiful.  Now don't get me wrong!  I grew up in the 50's and 60's.  We ate asbestos and lead, rolled in radon pits and swam in creeks and golf course lakes while drinking the water.  And I never had a life jacket when I boated or went swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, truthfully, when I was 3 and 4 years old!  I have pictures to prove that!

But today, this would be considered a bit dangerous.  I don't know when it was built and frankly don't know what the code would have said years ago.  But really, does it matter?

If there was a code in place, it likely would have required a guardrail on any wall higher than 30".  The wall on the left under the deck is 33" high and beside the stairs 42".

Depending on the year built it may have required a handrail going up the stairs. Some of the stairs are 10" high.

Notice the pool on the upper patio?  Kids certainly play here.

Kids love to walk on top of walls.

Kids don't worry about a fall.  I know I didn't.  I was a monkey and would have LOVED those walls!

It may be that the people called the County when they first built the patio and asked, "Do we need a permit to put in a patio?"  To which the answer may have been, "No, not for a patio."

And maybe they failed to mention the walls and stairs.  Or they weren't in the original plans.  So there would have been no County follow up.

Again, looking to the right of the above photo, we have many stairs, without a handrail.  In this instance one really might be necessary, not only to help people up and down the stairs, but to prevent a fall 48".

And look at the wall beside the play set.  At its highest point it is 72" high.

There are other areas too with high walls not pictured here.

Now, are the sellers likely to want to put in guardrails and handrails?  Of course not.  They purposely built this without them.  Such things would destroy the ambiance and views!

And the expense of installing rails would be very high, I imagine.

Their answer to such a request would be, "We have small children and have lived here for xx years!  We haven't had any problems!"

My recommendation:  I think my clients will buy the house anyway, and maybe putting in handrails on the four stair cases.  They did mention flower pots along the high walls to prevent climbing and walking.  That's en excellent idea!  This is one of those gray zones that people have to make their own decisions about!  As for me, I thought the place was gorgeous the way it is now!  But that is just me!  Okay, maybe a few flower pots!
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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33286

Really not much different than my folk's house...lots of block retaining walls that all the grandkids love to walk, climb, and jump off of.  My son was walking "the high road" as soon as he was able to get around!  The gray area is always tough to handle and winds up being client preference!

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Title: Root River Inspections
URL:  www.arochestermnhomeinspector.com
Body:  Root River Inspections serves Rochester, Winona, Red Wing, Austin, Albert Lea and surrounding Minnesota areas.
Meta Key:  Rochester home inspector, Winona home inspector, Red Wing home inspector, Albert...

Re: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33293

Likely true Casey.  I think they are going to stick with how it looks now!

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33297

It does look very nice...know much about log homes?  :)

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Title: Root River Inspections
URL:  www.arochestermnhomeinspector.com
Body:  Root River Inspections serves Rochester, Winona, Red Wing, Austin, Albert Lea and surrounding Minnesota areas.
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Re: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33298

I have inspected a couple of the manufactured kinds.  But not a lot of knowledge.  What's up?

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: "Is That To Code?" My Answer: Does It Matter? 11 years 5 months ago #33300

My clients are concerned with the condition of a couple logs.  My awl went in with no problem.  On the opposite side, the previous owner replaced a couple logs.  Big part of it problem is that the overhang is cut to the same length as the flyaways, so they're taking all kinds of weather/sun. 
Guess I'm working on how to word things without them feeling panicked...fortunately, no realtors involved...;) 
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Title: Root River Inspections
URL:  www.arochestermnhomeinspector.com
Body:  Root River Inspections serves Rochester, Winona, Red Wing, Austin, Albert Lea and surrounding Minnesota areas.
Meta Key:  Rochester home inspector, Winona home inspector, Red Wing home inspector, Albert...
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