Steve-C

New building code regarding 2 story ceilings

Recommended Posts

Has anyone else dealt with this? I have a local building official that is now requiring an engineer's approval on ceilings over 12' based on code R602.3 (he sent me the pic below). I live in south Georgia nowhere near the coast. I got input from 3 local engineers and they all stated they were not aware of this code. I'm not really sure that the building official is interpreting this code correctly. I've designed literally hundreds of homes with 2 story ceilings using balloon-framed 2x6 walls and I have never heard of anyone having an issue with this application.

 

Maybe he's right but I don't think he is. Is there a resource that can provide correct interpretation of a building code if clients feel that it is not being interpreted correctly?

FullSizeRender.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arrange a meeting with him, bring this with you and have him explain his interpretation of the code. Also, keep in mind that jurisdiction in some cased supersedes the minimum code requirements in some cases. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've talked about this on the phone a couple of times already. He's a good guy and he tries to do the right thing but I just think he's wrong. You're right though, they are granted a decent amount of latitude when it comes to these issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, is it possible that the local building official can't certify anything over 12 ft. without an engineer's stamp because the IRC code doesn't address nor accommodate any structure over 12 ft.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, HumbleChief said:

Steve, is it possible that the local building official can't certify anything over 12 ft. without an engineer's stamp because the IRC code doesn't address nor accommodate any structure over 12 ft.?

Perhaps, but I don’t know if it ever was addressed before 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Steve-C said:

Perhaps, but I don’t know if it ever was addressed before 

Been there more than once and have found no argument for a policy that's not ambiguous and for a building official who decided to enforce that policy where others have not. The code you referenced has no accommodation for anything over 12 ft. and it seems the plan checker has every right to require engineering even though other have not. That inconsistency within cities drives me nuts.

 

In our City of San Diego there's a height limit certification issued by the FAA that must be signed stating that your 2 story building won't be hit by an airplane in certain areas of the City. NOT making this up. A few plan checkers are embarrassed by the requirement and ignore it while others can't/won't ignore it. Again super frustrating, and in this case downright stupid and literally requires an act of Congress to change and I tried to get it changed but ran out of energy.

 

So yeah, never been enforced before but look, here's the code. Not sure what you can do about it.

 

Oh and the client's involved in the interpretation? They need to be educated as well but can be even more frustrating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple of thoughts,

  1. Table 602.3(6) is an alternate to Table 602.3(5), which is an illustration for Section 602.3.1 Stud size, height and spacing.  There is a limited exception (2) that allows 18' 2x6's @16"oc & 20' 2x6's @ 12"oc where the tributary span is less than 6'  (which means 12' span between bearing points)  Unfortunately my building spans are usually 15'+ for 2x10+ joists)
  2. Table 602.3(5) footnote (a) restates this as follows, Increases in unsupported height are permitted where in compliance with Exception 2 of Section 602.3.1 or designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice.

We once had an inspector refusing to allow us to "double every third" joist (which equates to 12" on center but allows standard mechanicals to be run between the joists.)  After consulting with other inspectors, he allowed this "accepted engineering practice" that was not "per code." 

 

Lastly, have an engineer give you a blanket statement regarding the spans you actually use and include it with your plans.  We've done this before as well.  A one-time cost is then offset by multiple future uses and both you and the inspector are covered in case there is a question regarding the practice down the road.

 

Good luck.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just amazed that a 12' 2x4 is allowed to support a floor and a roof under any circumstances!

 

Kinda puts the MIN in "code minimum" :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Greg_NY61 said:

Arrange a meeting with him, bring this with you and have him explain his interpretation of the code. Also, keep in mind that jurisdiction in some cased supersedes the minimum code requirements in some cases. 

During this Covid pandemic we can't arrainge meetings with anyone at the building departments here in San Diego County.  They've essentially been unavailable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, JiAngelo said:

Couple of thoughts,

  1. Table 602.3(6) is an alternate to Table 602.3(5), which is an illustration for Section 602.3.1 Stud size, height and spacing.  There is a limited exception (2) that allows 18' 2x6's @16"oc & 20' 2x6's @ 12"oc where the tributary span is less than 6'  (which means 12' span between bearing points)  Unfortunately my building spans are usually 15'+ for 2x10+ joists)
  2. Table 602.3(5) footnote (a) restates this as follows, Increases in unsupported height are permitted where in compliance with Exception 2 of Section 602.3.1 or designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice.

We once had an inspector refusing to allow us to "double every third" joist (which equates to 12" on center but allows standard mechanicals to be run between the joists.)  After consulting with other inspectors, he allowed this "accepted engineering practice" that was not "per code." 

 

Lastly, have an engineer give you a blanket statement regarding the spans you actually use and include it with your plans.  We've done this before as well.  A one-time cost is then offset by multiple future uses and both you and the inspector are covered in case there is a question regarding the practice down the road.

 

Good luck.

 

Great points John and brings up another issue we all run up against, dealing with plan checkers then field inspectors. We try and get plans through plan check by hook or by crook then rely on field inspectors to approve any deviations from the plans that still represent competent and code compliant building practices. The dance is always the same and we have all experienced both reasonable and clearly incompetent plan checkers and inspectors as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Joe_Carrick said:

During this Covid pandemic we can't arrainge meetings with anyone at the building departments here in San Diego County.  They've essentially been unavailable.

Joe sounds like you guys be on lockdown for the next 10 years. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Greg_NY61 said:

Joe sounds like you guys be on lockdown for the next 10 years. :-)

Depends on getting rid of the state dictator :lol:

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Steve-C said:

Has anyone else dealt with this? I have a local building official that is now requiring an engineer's approval on ceilings over 12' based on code R602.3

 

Canadian codes are very similar and so is the inconsistency in application throughout different jurisdictions. In some places, the inspectors will (correctly) call for structural engineering for all exterior load-bearing walls exceeding 3.6m (≈12')  in height and in some places they completely ignore it and builders can do whatever they fee like doing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Framed in Barrie, Ontario, Ca many years ago. ( snow country )

Roof sheathing then was 3/8" ( metric wasnt there yet, haha ) trusses 24 o.c. ; no clips   5/12 pitch

Lightweight roofers only :wacko:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, HumbleChief said:

Steve, is it possible that the local building official can't certify anything over 12 ft. without an engineer's stamp because the IRC code doesn't address nor accommodate any structure over 12 ft.?

 

This is exactly the case.  The concept of the IRC is if your structure conforms then you can use it as an exception to the IBC and avoid an engineer.  Anything not explicitly stated in the IRC then needs an architect or engineer to approve since you revert to the IBC.

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, JiAngelo said:

Lastly, have an engineer give you a blanket statement regarding the spans you actually use and include it with your plans.  We've done this before as well.  A one-time cost is then offset by multiple future uses and both you and the inspector are covered in case there is a question regarding the practice down the road.

 

Respectfully, unless the engineer fully understands you plan to use their work "prescriptively" thereafter i'd be careful doing this...its not typically how that works. Its like going to a doctor and telling him you only need one prescription written since you'll copy it for future refills.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, johnny said:

Its like going to a doctor and telling him you only need one prescription written since you'll copy it for future refills.


Ya...Like for an Epi pen that you will need every year for the rest of your life.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Joe_Carrick said:

Depends on getting rid of the state dictator :lol:

I hear you my friend, the faster the better, and we trying to do the same here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He is confusing stud height with wall height.  For a 12' (nominal) wall height, the stud height is 11'-8 5/8".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Member Statistics

    29331
    Total Members
    9156
    Most Online
    KayKeller
    Newest Member
    KayKeller
    Joined