During a recent conversation with my local County permit office, I have
noticed that I am getting conflicting information with each
conversation. At first I was told that because my home is being build
on a zero lot line the wall on that lot line must be fire rated. If
that's the case, I was also told that wall could not have any
windows. On that advice and direction I moved the entire house plan
around and removed the windows and got the permit based off of that
information. I just looked on the website for Henrico Co. to get
information about the veneer inspection and it says "Exterior gypsum
sheathing as required for "Zero Lot Line" fire-rated wall assemblies
must be installed prior to this inspection". This I don't
understand. Does this mean that these walls are automatically fire
rated or not? If my plan was approved and the zero lot line wall was
not required to be fire rated prior to approval then does this have to
be a fire rated wall. Why can I not have windows on that wall? My
assumption may be correct because I was also advised later that fire
rated walls were dependent on distance between homes. The distance
between my home and the neighbor's home is 30 feet. If this is true,
again, can I install windows on that zero lot line wall? I have changed
these plans to accommodate these regulations and now I see I have been
given conflicting information that have compromised the time, value,
and physical attributes of my home. Now, all I want is to know the
actual policy. The plans for the house were purchased on the internet.
Has anyone purchased plans this way and when taken to the permit
department had to have changes made to accommodate the permit. I would
assume the construction code would be set within those plans or is the
permit dep supposed to look at the plans and tell me if I need to makes
changes, or accommodate a fire wall? The house is built and waiting for
inspection, thats why this is coming up. Does anyone know the code or
where I can get more information?
First, stock plans usually include warnings that they don't automaticly
meet local codes. This would inculde structure and fire separation.
Second, you are dealing with Fire Separation Distances that are in my
experience measured to the lot line.
Third, you need to find what code your local building department uses.
Fourth, it appears that your local building regulations include
prescriptive requirements for your situation. You should be able to get
them in writing.
That sort of information should be in writing. There should also be
regulations showing why it is needed.
It does not matter where you bought them, your building inspector usually
must sign off on them before a permit is issued. Did he? Did anyone?
Depending on your local laws, it may be more than one person to sign off.
In the case of my neighbor, the fire marshall requested a couple of changes
on his plans.
Codes can vary. There are many universally accepted codes (International
Building Code is one) and practices, but often, the local community can add
on top of those.
First, find out what codes you local community is using. Then find a copy.
If it is IBC, you can find information on the web and can buy books or
What do you mean the house is built and waiting for inspection? There
should have been inspections along the way and shortcomings flagged at that
time. Seems late in the process to start looking at code compliance.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.