Attic firewall question

(Eric Corder, WA #2231) #1

Hello, how do you all address no firewall in an attic between the garage and the home? It was built in 1960, before it was common (mandated) to build the wall. Thank you, Eric in WA state

(Gary D. Rowden) #2

Hi Eric from Washington
Please update your profile location as this will help to better answer your questions in the future.

Noted the firewall separation has been around since 1927 Uniform Building Code. As to your area and requirements that is unknown.

If the attic to the home was exposed from inside the garage I use something similar to this

“At time of the inspection the firewall separation in garage that separates the garage from living space was missing or incomplete. The intent of the firewall between the attached garage and the living space is intended to slow the spread of fire from the garage to the living space. This inspector recommends a qualified contractor for further evaluation and any corrective repair as necessary in accordance with current standard building practices for reasons of safety.”

(Jeffrey R. Jonas) #3

What Code mandates that there must be a physical wall for fire seperation between the garage and the home?? What if the attic space is habitable space?

In a home/garage situation where there is no physical wall, the garage must be drywalled with minimum Type X sheetrock on the adjoining walls and entire ceiling, taped and mudded, all penetrations sealed with (orange) high-temp caulk or similar. (Yes, there is more, but you get the point). This prevents the spread of fire and toxic fumes into the attic space above the home.

Be careful what you report. Be specific. Know the facts!

(Barry Adair, TREC#4563 EIFSTX#39) #4

be careful how you instruct others ;~))
“attic” is not considered habitable space
HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.

irc 302.6 has garage fire-separation specifics

i know what your intent is/was
others may not
Kent, Nick & Arron Miller have this topic pretty well covered
Attached Garage Fire Containment - InterNACHI
Inspecting Residential Attached Garages - InterNACHI

(Barry Adair, TREC#4563 EIFSTX#39) #5

be careful how you instruct others ;~))
“attic” is not considered habitable space
HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.

irc 302.6 has garage fire-separation specifics

i know what your intent is/was
others may not
Arron Miller a highly respected neighborhood associate & nachi have this topic pretty well covered
Attached Garage Fire Containment - InterNACHI
Inspecting Residential Attached Garages - InterNACHI

(Larry Kage, CMI) #6

I knew it was there but didn’t find it soonest like Bear did.

(Larry Kage, CMI) #7

I knew it was there but didn’t find it, soonest to help, like Bear did.

(Stephen W. Stanczyk, WA License #221) #8

What’s a firewall? :wink:

(Marcel R. Cyr, CMI) #9

Here are some definitions that might help some understand fire separations and there meanings.

Terms and Definitions In The United States
Learning these terms and Definitions will provide an important knowledge base to understanding the
requirements for Firestopping.

Fire Compartment
Fire Separation
Firewall
Fire Resistance Rating
Combustible Construction
Noncombustible Construction
Firestop System
Authority Having Jurisdiction

**Fire Compartment **

Fire Compartment; means an enclosed space in a building that is separated from all other parts of the
building by enclosing construction providing a Fire Separation having a required fire-resistance
rating.
Fire Compartments are also referred to as Fire Zones.

**Fire Separation **

Fire Separation; means a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire. A fire
separation may or may not have a fire-resistance rating.

**Firewall **

Firewall; means a type of fire separation of noncombustible construction which subdivides a building or separates adjoining buildings to resist the spread of fire and which has a fire-resistance rating as prescribed in the NBC and has structural ability to remain intact under fire conditions for
the required fire-rated time.
**
Fire Resistance Rating **

Fire Resistance Rating; means the time in hours or fraction thereof that a material or assembly of materials will withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria.

**Combustible Construction **

Combustible Construction; means that type of construction that does not meet the requirement for noncombustible construction. Combustible means that a material fails to meet the acceptance criteria of test for determination of non-combustibility in Building Materials .

**Noncombustible Construction **

Noncombustible Construction; means that type of construction in which a degree of fire safety is attained by the use of noncombustible materials for structural members and other building assemblies. Noncombustible means that a material meets the acceptance criteria of test for determination of non-combustibility in Building Materials.

**Firestop System **

Firestop System; means a specific construction consisting of any device intended to close off an opening or penetration during a fire and/or materials that fill an opening in a wall or floor assembly where penetration is by cables, cable trays, conduits, ducts, pipes and any poke through termination
device, such as electrical outlet boxes along with their means of support through the wall or the floor opening.

**Authority Having Jurisdiction **

Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ); means the governmental body responsible for the enforcement of any part of the Standard codes or the official or agency designated to exercise such a function and/or the Architect.

(Eric Corder, WA #2231) #10

Thanks everyone. All of the responses help…the point is I should say “something” about it missing and the value of having one in the first place.

Thanks again,

Eric

(Stephen W. Stanczyk, WA License #221) #11

Just use the proper terminology and explain the issue.

(Eric Corder, WA #2231) #12

Thank you Stephen.

Eric

(Mitchel Brooks) #13

Good advice.

(Gary D. Rowden) #14

I understand the misuse of the term “firewall” and the correct terminology should be “dwelling-garage fire separation” as used in the descriptive heading in code. I personally have been (mis)using the term firewall for many years as the term is so widely (incorrectly) used everywhere. The term “firewall” is also used here “Attached Garage Fire Containment – InterNACHI”](https://www.nachi.org/attached-garage-fire-hazards.htm) at walls and ceilings

“The living space should be separated from the garage by a firewall that extends from the floor to the roof. If the ceiling material is fire-rated, the firewall can terminate at the ceiling."

I have made some corrections with my verbiage.

At time of the inspection the garage fire separation wall (or ceiling) was missing or incomplete. The intent of the garage fire separation between the attached garage and the living space is intended to slow the spread of fire from the garage to the living space. This inspector recommends a qualified contractor for further evaluation and any corrective repair in accordance with the current standard building practices for reasons of safety.

Thanks everyone

(Marcel R. Cyr, CMI) #15

Nice.

Inachi needs to update their reference to a more recent Code. It has been moved to 302.6 since 2009. :slight_smile:

(Stephen W. Stanczyk, WA License #221) #16

Personally I would delete the words I highlighted in red. No more evaluation needed. Plain and simple, fix it.

(Gary D. Rowden) #17

I agree in most cases this can be true, but depending on the extent of the missing and or damage to the fire separation I may include further evaluation in the verbiage. The OP did not post any photos so I included it in this case.

(Barry Adair, TREC#4563 EIFSTX#39) #18

Modern construction requires attached garage fire-separation.
It is advised that this deficiency upgrade be installed for occupant and property safety enhancement.
Consult a competent contractor before the end of your inspection contingency for all requirements and their cost for your complete understanding.
Although this is not a code inspection this link is provided for you/contractor information and report completion of this deficiency.
Chapter 3: Building Planning, Residential Code for one- and two-family dwellings of the Texas Industrialized Housing and Buildings Program | UpCodes

(Marc A. Goldenberg, Inspector Lic # HI1365 Mold Assessor Lic #1) #19

Ahhhhh… perfection!
May I please use some of it.

(Gary D. Rowden) #20

Very nice, thanks