Change in elevation at entry door

Does the building code require a change in elevation at the front entry door to keep out driven rain and snow, or is the threshold considered enough protection? The way I read the code, if the door swings out a change in elevation is prohibited, which suggests that the maximum allowed 1.5" threshold height is considered adequate protection from weather. But if the door swings in, as usual, a change in elevation up to 7 1/4" is allowed but not required.

I see a lot of 55+ community homes where there is no elevation change due to either preference or handicap requirement. They can’t all be codes violations can they?

The entry in question is a covered stoop. A structural engineer is insisting a change in elevation is a code requirement, as it is impossible to keep out rain and snow with only a threshold. Seems to me this is a better question for a home inspector, as a structural engineer is more of a specialist.

Keep in mind… the AHJ makes allowances all the time for special circumstances. A 55+ community is a special circumstance, and allowances are commonly made for the benefit of it’s elderly tenants. SAFETY first!

R311.3.1 Floor elevations at the required egress doors.
Landings or finished floors at the required egress door shall not be more than 11/2 inches (38 mm) lower than the top of the threshold.

Exception: The landing or floor on the exterior side shall not be more than 73/4 inches (196 mm) below the top of the threshold provided the door does not swing over the landing or floor.

Where exterior landings or floors serving the required egress door are not at grade, they shall be provided with access to grade by means of a ramp in accordance with Section R311.8 or a stairway in accordance with Section R311.7. 

R311.3.2 Floor elevations for other exterior doors.
Doors other than the required egress door shall be provided with landings or floors not more than 73/4 inches (196 mm) below the top of the threshold.

Exception: A landing is not required where a stairway of two or fewer risers is located on the exterior side of the door, provided the door does not swing over the stairway. 

R311.3.3 Storm and screen doors.
Storm and screen doors shall be permitted to swing over all exterior stairs and landings.

Yes, I get all that. I’ve read the code. What I’m asking is if the R311.3.1 code as it reads seems as clear to others as it does to me on this issue.

Clear to me how it reads. Door opens in, the landing can be flush or down up to 7"&3/4, or flush to underside of the threshold.

Height of the threshold has nothing to do with weather. The threshold should not be higher than 1 1/2" above the finished floor on the inside. It can be flush usually, want a little height especially at the garage floor.

AHJ, that’s a new one on me. Had to look that up. Nice to learn something. I’m sure inspectors selectively enforce the code all the time. But they can’t (or shouldn’t) just make a new one up. Which, according to other responses here, is what would have to happen to require an elevation change at an entry door.

Keep in mind that the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) is not only comprised of the actual Govt. Inspector in the field, but includes his boss in the office, the Building Dept, the Plan Review peeps, and any other such entities that govern the construction of a building/structure.