Sidewalk to front door

Ok this House is a new house that I have inspected. The walkway to the front door has a 24" ledge leading upto the door. Would anyone recommend handrails or raise the grade of ground for the walkway. I did. Builder doesn’t want to do anyting about because it appearantly within city code. Owner wants more than my opinion. Your opinions?? :mrgreen:

Tell the buyer that the “city code” is the bare minimum that the builder can legally get away with. You think it is a trip/fall hazard, and you have stated it as such. Remind the buyer that he is the builders customer and that he doesn’t need to purchase the home if he is uncomfortable with the building practices (code or otherwise). It’s not your job to fight with, argue with, or force the builder to do anything. You have observed a possible hazard and have pointed that out. It is up to the buyer to now negotiate with the builder (or not.)

Would you have made the same remark about the path Mark? or would it have been better for me to agree with code? Doesn’t this pathway have dangerous written all over it?

I’m not agreeing with or disagreeing with your call. I’m saying that code means nothing to me in regards to if I call something out or not. If I think something is unsafe, I call it unsafe. If it’s not that big a deal, I would make a suggestion to the client that they might want to improve it, but not necessarily call it a defect. You are obviously in a gray area here, so just like an umpire in a ball game, make your call, sell it, and move on.

Thanks for the comment.

There is no defect to call out. You might be able to recommend a railing as an upgrade and give your reasons, but you would be hard pressed to state it is a defect.

Yes, if it within local code, it is not a defect. But you can recommend an upgrade for safety reasons, like a child or elderly person falling 24" and twisting an ankle or worse.

Tell the client that ‘contractors build to code, good contractors look out for the best interests and safety of their clients’.


I agree.

Ben Gromicko;-) might call it a defect but I would not.

Looks good to me. With most codes, a railing is required if the top of this surface is 30 inches or more above grade, and in some jurisdictions the height is even lower.

Like others have stated, a railing can be recommended for child safety.

I think I’d be more concerned with water entering the CS vents.

No defect visible to me. Put some landscaping there and it’ll be fine.

Well thanks everyone,
I never did call it a DEFECT but did recommend a safety upgrade. It was just the buyer called me back for further explanasion to help her out in getting the handrail installed. I thought I would see what everone has to say. This builder (SOUNDBUILT) is basically stripping down the house to bare minimum and selling them having the buyers buy any extra’s like screens on the windows and a yard (grass)or railings or a lot of other things. Their charging $800 for a garage door opener installed.

Ditto on the CS vents. :shock:

I think they should be concerned more with the safety instead of passing their code.

There are able to charge $800.00 for an opener only if someone is willing to pay that

French drain or perforated drain piping and some fill woud work.

Tell the client that the next time she builds a house, perhaps having an architect who draws, specifies and details such items might be a wise investment. When the specifications are left to the builder, that is what one gets, with no recourse available.

On the other hand, would it have killed the builder to make the damn thing a foot wider? The combination of the narrow width and the drop on one side definitely raises the issue of safety, especially for small children and the elderly. Being elderly myself, I am coming to see the wisdom of certain design decisions and the folly of others. What I would have sailed through with ease in even my recent “youth” now has become an area of concern for me as I navigate through the built environment.

I think that raising safety concerns without using the word “defect” is exactly the right approach. But don’t forget, putting a railing on that thing is going to reduce its width by a few inches, making it even narrower to pass through. Maybe a railing could be bolted into the side to avoid further restriction. But darn, a passage to a front door ought to be four feet wide, at least. Where is this house, in Chintzville??

You have to ask yourself when does it or when does it not represent a trip hazzard?
Whenever it becomes a safety issue with me, SAFETY trumps code every time.

T.Neyedli CHI
BPCPA #47827

I agree with Richard, a little common sense on the part of the Builder would have gone a long ways in providing a safe walkway.

No common sense in Building, hire an Architect to tell you how to do it right.

I wonder if they provided water proofing of some sort on that porch area slab, stoop entrance.
I can just see the box sill rotting out already. :):wink: