No rear door

I inspected a home recently that had no rear door. The only entry / exit was the front door. It is newer construction; circa 2000.
Any thoughts?

No garage, sliding door?

Should have two means of egress.

There was a garage overhead door; but no service door. There was no sliding door.

The 2003 IRC only requires one exit door if it is 36" or more wide, side hinged, 6’8" or more tall, floor or landing on each side, readily openable w/o use of key and provides direct access from the habitable portions w/o travel thru a garage.

Best practices IMO would be two means of egress. I

Best practices IMO would be two means of egress.

Code or no code. I would suggest another exit be installed in case of emergency. You never know when that route could be blocked if the occupants need to exit immediately. so I would just suggest that whether it is code or not. Because after all were not code inspectors. If you get flack for suggesting this from a realtor, just tell them(in front of the client) that you are just looking out for your customers well being. This normally gets them every time, and it may get you an inspection or two from them, but that’s not the whole point.

I would just suggest another exit option.

I look at it on a case by case basis for that issue and similar ones. For instance, I inspect many, many small condo’s near the university and elsewhere that only have a front entry door. I do not call out as ‘in need of repair’ the fact that the condo only has one door as long as it meets the physical requirements I outlined above.

What if it was 2" short?

How would that be more or less safe in a fire?

I would write it up as being 2" short of generally accepted construction practices. Maybe I don’t understand your question.

This was the question…

I didn’t write the spec…you’ll need to ask someone at ICC about that.

I hear ya, that’s why I’m glad we can recommend things that aren’t necessarily in the code (minimum standards).

You would have to check the local building code to see if they made any exceptions, alterations, or amendments to be sure if a second door is needed. I would document it and recommend that the buyer do their due dilegence investigation and consult with an AHJ to determine if that particular situation is to local building code.

Richard, I don’t understand your need to go beyond accepted building codes. If it is a 3 bedroom house with one main entry of 36 inches and it is built to accepted building codes there should be 4 emergancy egress openings out of the home. To recommend more is going beyond the scope of a home inspection and gives us a reputation for making up things as we go.

Code = minimum standard. IMO

Do you think that codes are “best practices”?
Do you recomend upgrade to GFCI outlets in a 1960’s home?

BTW, I don’t do code inspections.

Also, we can’t require or enforce anything. We can advise our clients about potential hazards.
end edit

A home that has only one exit door has to have egress windows in all living spaces. The windows are the second means of egress also an exit through a garage is not considered an emergency exit when determning egress from a home.

Have a great evening

Bradley Schumacher

So I quess my question is where are you getting this “best practices”. What study or guideline are you using. I know we don’t do code inspections but we should be able to site some guideline or assoication. Otherwise we look like are just making stuff up.

Home inspectors are generalist. There is no wy that we can know every building code for every area that we service. It is important to know the national recognized standards, but you have no idea what alterations, exceptions, or amendments that each and every municipality has adopted. Know the national code and report that it is not consistant with industry standards. Recommend that the client do due diligence investigation concerning the matter by consulting with the local AHJ. (Items such as this may prevent the buyer from obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy in certain situations.)

Let’s use GFCI as an example.

Code does not require upgrade in older homes (grandfathering) for GFCI.

It is still something I will recomend because it can save a life.

Do you believe code is a minimum standard?
Also, which code(s) and versions does each municiaplity operate under (if any)?