Party Head Bangers- Beams, girders and ducts height oh my.

By
Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Party Head Bangers- Beams, girders and ducts height oh my.

 

 

Imagine you have a bunch of friends over you having a good time and then bang… you have a friend with a head banger who just has been dropped from pulling a header on a low flying beam. Hope you have a lot of party ice for this one. I have a friend that is a bit taller than the norm, as he would describe himself... "I come in at 5’-19” ". So these items do come to my mind.

 

 

Party Ice

 

So I was on a recent home inspection and I was very aware of a beam that was very low. So out the tape measure comes and I get a measurement of 70-1/2 inches (5’-10-1/2”). Well that is a bit low for most.

 

Beam measurement

 

2009 Residential code has some defined requirements for ceiling heights.

 

R305.1 Minimum height.

Habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).

 

Exceptions:

1.        For rooms with sloped ceilings, at least 50 percent of the required floor area of the room must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) and no portion of the required floor area may have a ceiling height of less than 5 feet (1524 mm).

2.        Bathrooms shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) at the center of the front clearance area for fixtures as shown in Figure R307.1. The ceiling height above fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above a minimum area 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.

 

Low beam in basement

 

R305.1.1 Basements.

Portions of basements that do not contain habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).

 

Exception: Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.

 

This begs the question if this has been permitted and if a variance was issued. I highly doubt it.

 

“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair

 

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                               509-670-9572

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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Don, no matter how often I whack my head on that beam, I never get used to it---what is up with that?

Oct 29, 2013 07:49 AM #1
Rainmaker
385,051
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, I had good friend/guitarist who would spike his hair adnd refer to it as his low beam indicator ;) Yeah this one was a bit of a fun one.

Oct 29, 2013 08:01 AM #2
Rainmaker
692,665
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Donald,

Do you really expect a home owner building an addition to meet the current codes for the addition? Many did not even get a permit and wanted to stay with the proper slope pf the roof so they just followed the roof line making the interior of the home a lot shorter than it was supposed to be according to code.

These are the things that make our heads spin as we try and explain to the buyers that this is not correct.

Then we have the home owners that say's it has been that way for decades.

Shake your head list it in the report and let the buyers and sellers hash it all out.

Have a great day in Washington.

Best, Clint McKie

Oct 30, 2013 07:47 AM #3
Rainmaker
385,051
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Clint, We just make the observations. In this case the client was okay with it but they know now. 

Oct 30, 2013 09:39 AM #4
Rainmaker
647,407
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

It would seem the beam was set at the height during original construction. No doubt the basement was finished without permits. What would you advise your client. I certainly wouldn't want to say the space is uninhabitable. 

Oct 31, 2013 05:45 AM #5
Rainmaker
385,051
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, Yeah the beam was set during construction. Kind of made think what happened during plans review. This should of been caught then. I just mentioned that the beam/obstruction did not meet standard practices, and duck ;)

Oct 31, 2013 07:35 AM #6
Rainmaker
311,423
Fred Hernden
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Home Inspector

That has DIY written all over it. I agree with James. Sometimes common sense must prevail, is it to code? No, but is it going to collapse? Do we need to market to short people?

Nov 01, 2013 06:25 AM #7
Rainmaker
385,051
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Fred, Yeah this is not a structural thing but If you are wearing your pumps or  platform shoes you must be aware ; ) 

Nov 01, 2013 06:39 AM #8
Rainmaker
311,423
Fred Hernden
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Home Inspector

I HATE hitting my head when I am wearing my pumps!

Nov 01, 2013 05:44 PM #9
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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