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Old 02-21-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
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Codes.. and the enigma!


I have had nothing but problems trying to find out what exact codes I must follow to finish in my basement. My city sent me a summary sheet called "Finished Basement Guide". It ends with this statement:

The preceding information is meant to be a helpful guide and apply to most simple residential basement finish projects. However it does not include all of the codes that may apply.

So I call up the city and they got me on a call back list, I have called 3 times now and have yet to speak to anyone. I emailed them also and got a few responses back but nothing concrete. So I went on an internet search to learn some codes to follow since my project is very simple. But yet all I can find is "your city may have different guidelines" So it nulls anything I can find but my city wont help me! I want to plan everything out but even on the layouts it leaves tons of head scratchers and I don't want to screw it up and have to go back and re-do it.

/rant off

Anyhow in one loose reference the city states this,

Fireblocking is required in concealed spaces of stud walls where furred spaces of masonary or concrete walls leave a gap. Fire blocking material can consist of 2 inch lumber, 23/32-inch playwood, or equivalent.

My question is, since MANY contractors practice and preach to set in the walls off the foundation doesnt this violate this basic code? Having an airspace behind the stud wall parameter seems to negate all fireblock attempts. I am hoping I am not reading it right as I have to set my walls in an inch or so to stay off of the parameter drainage system!

Has anyone else ran into this code and can make me atleast feel better by explaining what it means?

And if anyone knows a place to get a copy of basic national codes that apply to finishing a basement that would be helpful!




Thanks!


Last edited by Taipans; 02-21-2008 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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http://www.iccsafe.org/e/prodcat.htm...jigfacmc4093|3

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Old 02-21-2008, 10:41 AM   #3
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Ugh, ya those books are insane. Hundreds of pages that seem to take a lawyer to translate. I don't get why they dont just have a simple checklist for certain projects.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:36 AM   #4
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Because if everything was in simple,plain english that we could understand then there would be NO work for the scumbag lawyers :}
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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Because if everything was in simple,plain english that we could understand then there would be NO work for the scumbag lawyers :}

I guess your right!
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:14 PM   #6
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Codes.. and the enigma!


If possible, do not call, but go to the code/permit office in person and try to talk to someone. The best time us usually not first thing i the morning, but before noon.

If you just can talk to someone, you will get good answers to your list of questions. The inspectors do not want to have people start in the wrong direction because that makes more work and hassels for them. Remember, the inspector is actually working for you since you pay taxes and will have a permit.

There are national codes that are adopted and then there are the local modifcations, so pay attention to those.
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:26 PM   #7
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Codes.. and the enigma!


Your going threw the same thing contractors go threw. They go to classes and other things to learn how to do their job right and that is why they charge for their services. I know barnes and noble and other book stores sell books on finishing basements and will probably explain alot of the codes but won't be city specific. Your best bet is to ask questions here or try your local inspectors but you will have to be patient since they get tons of people asking questions. like mentioned by a previous poster you should go in person, maybe call and set up a time with them to meet. When you go in try to have a list of questions and be as specific as posible so it doesn't take up to much of their time. Good luck
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:49 PM   #8
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Thats a good idea, I didn't know you could make an appointment to meet with an inspector! They never gave me that information!
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:41 PM   #9
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I could be way off here but I think fire stops are used to stop fire from going to the next floor up the walls. If so you would do that a the top of the wall.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:30 PM   #10
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The only times I have ever come across firewall concerns have been in townhouses (condos) or link homes. I would like to know others' experiences as well.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I could be way off here but I think fire stops are used to stop fire from going to the next floor up the walls. If so you would do that a the top of the wall.
Bingo.

The point is to keep levels of a home separated, to inhibit the quick spread of fire. Oxygen feeds fire. A draft will actually suck-in a flame. Thus, you want to succesfully block all holes, gaps, spaces that can leave an opening to another floor level.
Think this way: You are trying to smother a fire, starve it from being fed by O2. Seal it off from going upwards. Yes, it will eventually make it's way up, but the goal is to slow it down. Minutes can mean life or death.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 02-21-2008 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:34 PM   #12
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The only times I have ever come across firewall concerns have been in townhouses (condos) or link homes. I would like to know others' experiences as well.
That's a different situation all together. Each is a separate living space. Like a garage is separate from a home. This is not about "Fire Separation Walls", it's about "fire-blocking" within a single family dwelling.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 02-21-2008 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 02-21-2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Thats a good idea, I didn't know you could make an appointment to meet with an inspector! They never gave me that information!
Yes, you can meet with him, but chances are he wont, and really shouldn't, TELL you what to do. He will likely only answer direct and to the point questions and help you interpret the code, which you should know beforehand.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:33 PM   #14
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If you have a soffit its also required.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:24 PM   #15
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And now you see how frustrating it can be to be a contractor. Some of us do purchase code books, and attend classes in order to keep up on our trade. Then the inspector tells you to do something that is not as per code. Or does not show up to keep the inspections appointment. or, heavan forbid, you have a question about a job.

A licesned contractor, who has the code books and attends classes.

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