attic stairs

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This is for Florida.


1209.2Attic spaces.

An opening not less than 20 inches by 30 inches (559 mm by 762 mm) shall be provided to any attic area having a clear height of over 30 inches (762 mm). Clear headroom of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) shall be provided in the attic space at or above the access opening.

1209.3Mechanical appliances.

Access to mechanical appliances installed in under-floor areas, in attic spaces and on roofs or elevated structures shall be in accordance with the Florida Building Code, Mechanical.



306.3Appliances in attics.

Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening and unobstructed passageway large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance. The passageway shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) high and 22 inches (559 mm) wide and not more than 20 feet (6096 mm) in length measured along the centerline of the passageway from the opening to the appliance. The passageway shall have continuous solid flooring not less than 24 inches (610 mm) wide. A level service space not less than 30 inches (762 mm) deep and 30 inches (762 mm) wide shall be present at the front or service side of the appliance. The clear access opening dimensions shall be not less than 20 inches by 30 inches (508 mm by 762 mm), and large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance.


1.The passageway and level service space are not required where the appliance is capable of being serviced and removed through the required opening.

2.Where the passageway is unobstructed and not less than 6 feet (1829 mm) high and 22 inches (559 mm) wide for its entire length, the passageway shall be not greater than 50 feet (15 250 mm) in length.

306.3.1Electrical requirements.

A luminaire controlled by a switch located at the required passageway opening and a receptacle outlet shall be provided at or near the appliance location in accordance with NFPA 70.



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Alan...…..Thanks for getting back to my question. I could not find any requirements for permanent stairs to an attic in my searching up to this point. I did find the min. requirements for fold down stairs and I could easily fit them into the design, but since I have the room for the permanent stairs I was hoping to build the one I have dimensioned. In the area where I could install permanent stairs to the attic area my risers would be 7 3/4" and my treads would be 8 1/2", but I wouldn't have a 3' area at the base of the stairs before the attic door. The door opens to a 4' wide hallway and headroom is not a problem. In my thinking these permanent stairs should be okay, but will the code (if any) permit them?

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Your best source for this would be the local building department.  Since this is not habitable space, the normal stair codes don't usually apply.  If this was just for roof access, a ladder would be sufficient.  I think the main thing you need to consider is the ability to remove/replace the equipment.

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Alan and Joe...………...Thank you both for your time and advice. Alan---the code description seems like I'm in the "clear", but Joe, your advice to contact the local building department is probably the best choice here. I've found over the years that "logical" and "code enforcement" aren't always down the same path. :rolleyes: Thanks again. Be safe and have a great day.

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  • 2 months later...

I also think that you should consider the ceiling joists.  In Ontario Canada, there is a requirement that ceiling joists must be treated as floor joists (for load) if the attic space is accessible by stairs.

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