Attic Access in Garage/Firewall

In doing a mock inspection for my neighbor I came across this attic access in the garage. The garage walls and ceiling have a 1/2" layer of a plaster, concrete mix. The attic space above the garage is open across the length of the house. Is this a defect? How should I write it up? Thanks!

Frankly, I have no idea hoe a mixture of plaster and concrete relates to a garage fire separation but that ~1/4" mahogany plywood, at the pulldown stairs, is lacking. :shock:

If this barrier wall continues to the roof above the ceiling joists, then it’s okay. Otherwise that opening in the ceiling has compromised the fire barrier.

Frank, he said the attic access is across the house, so this is, in fact, a breach of the fire barrier.

And I was pointing out that, if, the barrier went to the roof it would be fine. It doesn’t, so it isn’t. Sorry for the adlib.

What year was the house built?

Older homes did not have a “fire barrier” for the garage, 5/8" type X sheetrock and a fire rated self closing door to the house.

In garages that have access to the attic, a hatch cover made from an approved, fire-rated material should protect this access at all times. Missing or opened covers should be called out, as should covers made from flammable materials, such as thin plywood. Garage attic door must be constructed such that the 45 minute rating is maintained; any drywall edges on both the hatch and the surrounding area exposed to physical damage are protected. The cover or door is installed so that it is permanent (non-removable) with hardware to maintain it in a closed position with latching hardware to maintain it in a closed position. This could be accomplished by the use of spring loaded hinges, door closer, or hardware that will not allow it to be left in an open position when not in use. A single bolt type or hook and eye hardware does not provide a positive closure since these would allow the door to be left open. Likewise drywall screws are “fasteners” and not hardware so they cannot be used as the only means of keeping access doors closed.

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Great information! Narrative:

The pull down attic access hatch cover, is made of flammable material. This does not meet the minimum approved fire rating necessary to maintain the integrity of the firewall separation between the garage and an open attic space. Recommend a qualified contractor replace or upgrade the access stairs as necessary. Picture 1

The ceiling of garage has cracks due to settlement. Crack appears to be stabilized as there is no evidence of loose ceiling material or recently fallen ceiling material.
However, any cracks in the walls and ceilings that separate the garage from habitable space or an open attic need to be caulked with a fire-rated caulk to maintain the integrity of the firewall separation. Picture 2 and 3


A couple things, those settlement cracks in the garage wall look atypical, in other words I would be concerned with them and suggest further investigation by SE or GC.

Also, what year was the house built?

I agree, those cracks in the wall are way more concerning than the attic hatch…