InterNACHI member Steve Beverlin brought to our attention typo in our “25 Standards” course, which we have corrected, but after Ben and Nick looked up the details in the 2009 IRC, we’re somewhat perplexed and need your input. We could be looking at an IRC typo, for which I’m pretty sure you don’t get any free books…
Here’s the confusing section in Chapter 13 (p.447): Section M1305: Appliance Access M1305.1.3. Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening and a clear and unobstructed passageway large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance, but not less than 30 inches high and 22 inches wide, and not more than 20 feet long measured along the centerline of the passageway from the opening to the appliance. The passageway shall have continuous solid flooring in accordance with Chapter 5 not less than 24 inches wide. A level service space at least 30 inches deep and 30 inches wide shall be present along all sides of the appliance where access is required. The clear access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by 30 inches, and large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance.
We’ve decided to throw the debate open to our members. Do you think the IRC’s description is a typo? Do the two bolded passages contradict each other?
Should not the dimensions be the same?
Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening 30 by 22
. The clear access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by 30 inches
That is how I read it.
OK – I see what you’re saying, although I would have added the bolded bits for clarity:
*Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening and a clear and unobstructed passageway, with the passageway large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance, but not less than 30 inches high and 22 inches wide, and not more than 20 feet long measured along the centerline of the passageway from the opening to the appliance. *
It looks like I need to change our numbers in the course back, then.
Should not the dimensions be the same? Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening 30 by 22. The clear access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by 30 inches
*That is how I read it. *
That’s how Steve (and we) read it, too, but I do see now that the first set of dimensions given is related to the passageway, while the second set specifically mentions the attic access itself.
Again, were I the editor for the IRC, that passage would have been written more clearly, but I don’t think I’d be interested in that job…(X})
P.S. Apologies to Robert and all Canucks for deleting the metric measurements from the quoted IRC passage. Just trying to be brief. Anyway, you guys’ll come around to our standard system eventually… :|__)
They can certainly use you and your skills at the International Code Council, Kate. Sadly, in the majority of jurisdictions in my state you could hide the remains of Jimmy Hoffa in a code book and they would continue to remain undiscovered.
There are three separate things being defined in this standard: 1.) the passageway (HxW); 2.) the floor of the passageway (W); 3.) the opening to the passageway (LxW).
The passageway must be have minimum clear dimensions (inches) of 30Hx22W (you should be able to move a rectangular box of 30Hx20W along the passageway with an inch to spare on each side clear of any obstructions). The floor of this passageway must be at least 24W. The opening to the passageway must be clear at least 30Lx20W (no hinges, trim, brackets, etc. encroaching). These minimum dimensions must be adjusted upward to accommodate the largest appliance if it won’t fit through these dimensions.
I don’t think the IRC is wrong, but it is ambiguous in section M1305.1.3
In one case they are referring to access to the attic. In the other case they are referring to accessibility to appliances while within the attic.
IRC Section R807.1 “Attic Access” clearly states:
“The rough framed opening shall not be less than 22 inches by 30 inches and shall be located in the hallway or other readily accessible location. A 30 inch minimum unobstructed headroom in the attic space shall also be provided at some point above the access opening.”
IRC M1305.1.3 deals with “Appliances** in** the Attic”, and the dimensions for their subsequent removal if necessary. It specifies 30" X 22" wide and not more than 20 feet in length along the centerline of the passageway from the opening to the appliance. Again, they are referring to the dimensions when in the attic itself. (not access to the attic). Later in the same paragraph it specifies a “clear access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by 30 inches where such dimensions are large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance.”
I don’t think there is any ambiguity regarding the clarity of IRC 807.1 . and its dimensions for “attic access”. (30" X 22")
However IRC M1305.1.3 is ambiguous, in my opinion, regarding the attic passageway access (not attic access) by offering two different dimensions in the context of the same paragraph.
By the way, the Uniform Building Code 1505.1, is consistent with the IRC,
in specifying a 30" X 22" attic access.
Thanks for the shout-out, Jim! My experience says that if a bureaucracy isn’t obfuscating, they’re just not trying hard enough! ](*,)
I went back into the “25 Standards” course (the slide is called “Attic Access”) and I slightly rewrote the info covering this so that it’s clear and unambiguous (and no code was quoted originally, and I think it’s best left that way).
Thanks again to everyone for their help with this. And to all the guys working on their “Molson muscles” up North, Happy Remembrance Day Plus One!