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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

    52
    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

    52
    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

    289
    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

    52
    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
    Gold Supporting Member

    56
    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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