Are the International building codes available online somewhere?
I'm in the process of building a 2-story 5-plex in Ocean Shores, WA
and the city says I have to place a staircase on the second floor
balcony ( I disagree). As I understand, you only need this second
egress on buildings 3 floors or taller. There is one internal
staircase from the 1st floor to the second floor.
You can buy the book online for sure but the content won't be online. The
content of Specs for the most part never appear online because it is a
commercial product of someone
The point is moot though, even if you can refute the requirement in a code
book, the local inspector and city always have the last word. Many cities
have variances from general code for whatever purpose. A requirement like
this might come about because of a particularly tragic fire in the past for
Is the balcony common to more than one unit.
Are you sure the requirement is not extended to multi family residences (or
other high occupancy situations) where a single staircase may not be
sufficient to evacuate that many people safely. For example if one person
is injured evacuating early on and blocks the stairs, what about the rest of
the tenants, are they supposed to trample the first guy and create a pile of
bodies or turn back.
Does not matter what you think or can show in IBC. The local inspector
wants a stairs, he will get a stair. The town has more money and lawyers
that you can imagine and you can be assured the inspector will be a real
PITA during construction. Save yourself a lot of grief and put it in. It
will be much cheaper than winning.
Washington State has adopted IBC, what he needs is IBC plus any local
The simplest solution is to tell the building official you would like
to make sure you are in compliance, can he please show the specific
code requirement. If it's there, he'll be able to show you. If it's
not, he might back down. Or maybe not, in which case you have to
decide whether you want to be a known PITA at the building department
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
In my city as in most, the applicable codes are at city hall and they will
let you look at and copy them while you are there (can't borrow). They
actually copied about 12 pages for me and explained it just for a question,
I wasn't even at the permit stage at that time.
is Joshua Putnam
OK. Makes more sense then.
Suspicious though. Is Washington considering seceding and joining
Canada? Maybe they don't like it when they say they're from
Washington and people think DC, so they're cutting their ties.
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