Garage/living area firewall/separation

I inspected a house ysterday and found in the garage attic, access to the area above the living quarters. The living area is just behind the shovel in the attached picture (sorry if its not oriented correctly). The area behind shovel is the ceiling of the living area. This is the first instance where I have NOT seen drywall in the attic space.

My question is based on this:
Walls and Ceilings

The 2006 edition of the IRC states the following concerning garage walls and ceilings:

      R309.2 Separation Required

The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board applied to the garage side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be separated from all habitable rooms above by not less than 5/8-inch (15.9 mm) Type X gypsum board or equivalent. Where the separation is a floor-ceiling assembly, the structure supporting the separation shall also be protected by not less than 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board or equivalent.

Since the ceiling inside the garage IS of required drywall thickness/material from what I could determine, does that satisfy the IRC separation and thus, no drywall is needed in the garage attic space where pictured?

I am working on the report now.

Thanks in advance!!!

[size=2]Although it may not have been required at the time this house was built it is common building practice today that attached garages should be separated from common walls of the house by a proper firewall and fire-rated door. If doors have windows, the glass should be fire-rated. Garage common wall and ceiling should be covered with a fire rated drywall, taped and covered seams.Taping may not be required so long as joints are in contact or backed by framing members. 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 along with hardware to maintain it in a closed position. Self-closer on the fire door between the home and the garage might be considered as an additional safety precaution, some areas require it. Check local requirements…

My understanding is yes.

If the ceiling between a garage and a living space above can be legally separated with proper 5/8" drywall, what difference does it make if that the space above is not being used?

Of course, the key is making sure no one punctured the garage drywall ceiling to put in an attic access or HVAC ducts, etc.

Which brings me to my question: If the ceiling inside the garage IS of required drywall thickness/material, how are you in the garage attic space?

Yes, as long as all seams and fasteners are taped and sealed; and the attic entrance hatch lid/pull down stairs meet minimum requirements no drywall is needed at attic space wall.

Attic access was by pulldown stairs, that are fire rated. But…there’s always a gap…right?