I recently bought a condo on the ground floor.I have a porch that at
8 feet out from the edge of the porch the ground level drops 36". This
is very tricky to walk down, especially when the grass is wet from the
dew. I have already slipped and am worried about older visitors. I
requested of the condo association that I be allowed to install stairs
off of the porch at my expense. The association refused. Is there any
code building or safety violation here that I can use to force the
Any help will be appriciated.
You would have to check with your local building codes. It sounds like
there should at least be a guardrail to keep people from walking or falling
off the porch.
I would also check to see who is liable if anyone does fall and decides to
hire an attorney.
The information you want is covered under "means of egress". Some
things will be subject to which code authority your municipality
has adopted, though they are all quite similar. The actual code
book should be readily accessible at your local library. There
are code issues about egress in the Building Code, Life Safety
Code, and the ADA (ADA is NOT code, only recommendation). They,
again, are similar though ADA may be the most stringent. ADA
typically doesn't like stairs.
Be careful about hollering code, it can often come back to bite
you. My experience is in commercial code and I'm not sure if your
situation will fall in commercial or residential. Is this porch
part of your means of egress in event of a fire? I didn't ask you
if you could go that way, is there an alternate safe path for you
to take? Can you fall more than 30"? Be very careful with your
answers as you may end up needing to install railings that can
pass the 4" ball rule and withstand a 200# blow with a switch back
ramp at one end over 40' long with railing system, wheelchair rest
landings, and handrails. I think anyone here would need much more
information before giving advice. We usually see situations that
need more slope and steeper grade.
Perhaps you can deal with your situation with some creative
landscaping that incorporates a winding path or a few steps
between the koi pond, the gazing ball, and the pondering bench.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
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