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Stepping Down Into Room. Code question

2398 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Gary in WA
Hello good people. I am building a room in my attic soon. My situation is a little unique. I am building the room in my attic. It will be attached to an existing room via a hallway. The hallway has a step up to a 14" high platform. This is because my ceilings in my living room, kitchen and hallway downstairs are 10' and my bedrooms are 8'.
The room will be built on the subfloor which is 14" lower than the hallway. My question is building code going to prevent me from putting the door on the 14" platform and having a step down into the room? Or do I need to frame the wall about a 16" X 36" cavity past the existing step (creating a landing outside of the room). Attached are some pictures of the area:

Going in from existing room into the hall:

Looking down into room:

Looking from inside room into hallway:

Thanks so much for the help!
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Looks to me like you are trying to prep it as a home theater room. As for your description, it is really confusing, due to you are jumping around. Can you put up a drawing of what you are trying to achieve, with the floor plan, and also a view as if standing facing the door, with the dimensions of height and step up or down for the door, when in the room.
Here are a few sketches of the room and the room plan. The first one would be inside of the theater looking out into what will be the hallway. The floor in the hallway will be 14" higher than the floor in the theater room. I want to frame the wall with the door at the top of the 14" higher hallway. I want to put a step in the room itself.

Picture #2 is a sketch of looking into the room without the door on. Note in this picture it looks like the floor is high but it is not. What you are seeing is a riser that I will build for the second row seating. I can not extend the riser to the door as I will need to make walkways around the riser.

Picture #3 is the floor plan. The bottom rectangle is the hallway. The dark grey 55 sq ft is going to be unfinished storage. Thanks for looking and I appreciate any info you might have!!


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just make sure the door does not swing out over the steps but swings into the room.

from the 2009 International Residential Code (basis for most local codes), your code may vary:

R311.7.5 Landings for stairways. There shall be a floor or landing at the top and bottom of each stairway. A flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise larger than 12 feet (3658 mm) between floor levels or landings. The width of each landing shall not be less than the width of the stairway served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel.

A floor or landing is not required at the top of an interior flight of stairs, including stairs in an enclosed garage, provided a door does not swing over the stairs.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
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That is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much. I was going to build the riser the width of the room at first. Then I realized that I don't have enough height on the right wall for a closet door and another regulat door with the added 14". I am going to have 8 ft ceilings and that right wall from the entrance is the only part of the room that I can only go 8 ft high due to the sloped roof line. If I had another place to put those 2 doors I could go 12 ft ceilings. In the rest of the room. My city goes by the 2006 IRC but when I Googled it I couldn't find an easy way to download / read it.

Thanks again!
Never use google to search for stuff, go directly to your city or county website for the info. Also, most will have the info available at your local library for checkout.
Unfortunately the city's website only has the code they use listed with no other resources. I will find a copy of it though. I am about a month away from starting construction and I am finalizing the plans.
2006 International Residential Code

See Section R311 Means of Egress

check with your local building department to determine if any amendments are in effect. it will also provide you riser and tread requirements

hope this helps
nice Sketchup work
Thanks I spent the time and did all the framing for the entire room on sketchup. It made things a lot easier for me to vizualize. I have changed the plans at least 30 times. I've got everything down to how many rolls of insulation I need by doing it this way. I then did the walls on a separate sketchup so my wife could see how it will look. I call it getting the bosses approval.
Call them on Monday. Depending on how large the city is that you live in, depends on how personalized the service you get. Our county and City is actually pretty good about getting you the info, or printing the info out for you, to take with you. You can get the NFPA codes now for iPad's, iPod/iPhone, and other devices, along with PDF.

I had to do some digging on our city website, but found where their charge for certain sections can range from $1.00 to maybe $3.00 at the most. Check with your city, they may be the same way as mine.
If you would, let us know (for my info) if you are under the IRC or the IBC; as your state is under;

I was unable to log onto the State's Building Code link, seems it requires you to have a password for some strange reason .....

I did find this article though about the state's adoption of the 2009 IRC
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I stand corrected, thanks!

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