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What's "safe" when it comes to deck railings?

Discussion in 'FHA/HUD and VA' started by Vermonter, Jan 6, 2009.

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  1. Vermonter

    Vermonter Senior Member

    34
    Mar 21, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Vermont
    The town I'm working in has no zoning/building officials and only very vague zoning bylaws so they're no help.

    The subject property has a deck above 4' with top and mid railings but no pickets/ballisters. It's solid, but a little kid (or skinny adult) could dive right thru them. My client states his "FHA specialist" says it makes no difference since there is no local code.

    I know they are supposed to withstand 200lbs horizontally and thought there was a limit on the size of the openings but can't find anything specific.
     
  2. Couch Potato

    Couch Potato Elite Member

    0
    Mar 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    You have no building code at all? I know many areas have no zoning, but I did not realize we still had areas with no building code requirements. I thought the ADA put an end to that.
     
  3. EDWARD BERRY

    EDWARD BERRY Senior Member

    0
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Arkansas
    You Might Look At This Way.

    Would You Leave Some Of Your Young Family Members Alone There.

    It Only Takes Some Lattice Panels To Correct-require It And Let The Uw Worry About It.

    Works In Arkie Land.
    Ed
     
  4. Vermonter

    Vermonter Senior Member

    34
    Mar 21, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Vermont
    I exaggerated...they have building codes, but nothing very detailed and little enforcement. I couldn't find anything specific about decks or railings.

    Should I defer to the national codes?
     
  5. Couch Potato

    Couch Potato Elite Member

    0
    Mar 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    I suggest you simply describe what is there in detail and add clear pictures. You are not a code inspector. FHA has indicated railings are not a required repair item on stairs when they don't exist, so I don't think they intend for us to evaluate the quality of railing that do exist. Remember, you are not a building inspector.
     
  6. Mr Rex

    Mr Rex Elite Member

    210
    Jan 12, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    FWIW, the rule of thumb in most current codes is that the pickets must be close enough together that a 4 inch ball will not pass through. It used to be a 6 inch ball. The idea is to keep little kids from sticking their heads through and asphyxiating themselves.
     
  7. Vermonter

    Vermonter Senior Member

    34
    Mar 21, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Vermont
    Wonder if our kids heads getting smaller?
     
  8. David Beasley

    David Beasley Senior Member

    2
    Dec 12, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    No, parents are getting worse. Younger and younger kids (toddlers) are now often left to roam alone around homes with little to no supervision.

    I do agree though, I think the max-spindle opening is now 4" - and are typically closer than that in the average home. Contractors will often use the wide part of a 2x4 as their spacer, so that means they're more on the order of 3.75" apart.
     
  9. Mike Garrett RAA

    Mike Garrett RAA Elite Member

    36
    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Colorado
    So now we are to carry around a 6" ball in addition to our ladder, test lights, GFI testers, tape measure, camera, disto, and clipboard?
     
  10. Couch Potato

    Couch Potato Elite Member

    0
    Mar 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    Don't forget your current copy of the building, plumbing and electrical codes. (Unless you have it memorized.) :rof:
     
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