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    CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:01 am

    There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding the above mentioned code here in Dade County. I built a pool recently in which the first step measures 29 X 14 and has more than 240 square inches of unobstructed surface area per said code. The inspector however is going to place a 24" X 10" rectangular template over the first step to try and illustrate the 240 square inch minimum code required surface area is missing when in fact it is not. In doing so, the 2 top corners of said template will protrude over the rounded radius by 1 1/2 on each side and I will fail the inspection. What about the surface area ahead of the template? As I understand this code, it is 240 square inches of unobstructed area and I have complied. I don't see anywhere in the code that a 10" X 24" rectangular template must be used to comply. The pool is already filled and operational and the family is very happy. The thought of having to drain the pool unnecessarily to make a template fit due to a misinterpretation of the code doesn't make me happy as the contractor. This issue would keep me from passing the building final. Please shed some light on this.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:31 am

    Residential or commercial pool?

    Which code is that section number from?

    The FBC-Building addresses pools in Chapter 4, Section 424 and the FBC-Residential addresses pools in Chapter 41. Are you referring to the ANSI/NSPI standard?

    From the FBC-Building (bold is mine)
    - 424.1.2.5.3 Stairs.
    - - Stairs shall have a minimum tread width of 10 inches (254 mm) and a maximum width of 48 inches (1219 mm) for a minimum tread length of 24 inches (610 mm) and a maximum riser height of 10 inches (254 mm). Treads and risers between the top and bottom treads shall be uniform to within 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) in width and height. The riser heights shall be measured at the marked step edges and the differences in elevation shall be considered the riser heights. The front 3/4 to 2 inches (19.1 to 51 mm) of the tread and the top 2 inches (51mm) of the riser shall be tile, dark in color, contrasting with the interior of the pool. Tile shall be slip resistant. Bullnose tile that is slip resistant may be used when the 3/4 inch (19 mm) segment is placed on the tread or horizontal surface and the 2-inch (51 mm) segment is placed on the riser or vertical surface. Where the gutter is used as the top step, the tile on the gutter for the width of the steps shall be slip resistant. Vinyl liner and fiberglass pools may use other material for the step edge marking, provided the material is permanent, permanently secured, dark in color, nonfading and slip resistant.

    That is where the inspector is getting his minimum 10" by 24" dimensions from - anything out past that is good, but the tread must be at least that dimension.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:29 am

    Hi Jerry,
    The above code was referenced from ANSI/NSPI-5. The pool is residential. The length of the first step is 29 inches for which is against the pool entry wall. The length from the wall measured in the middle of the step extending to the outermost curve is 14 inches. The total square inches of "unobstructed surface area" is obviously more than 240. Am I in compliant?

    Thanks!
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:11 pm

    see above response
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:22 pm

    The ANSI/NSPI-5 I have is not the current edition, however, I doubt the wording for the steps has changed - I am posting the wording in NSPI-5, 6.2.1 - if your NSPI-5 has different wording, please let me know:

    - 6.2.1 Treads shall have a minimum unobstructed horizontal depth of 10 inches (254 mm) and a minimum unobstructed surface area of two-hundred-forty square inches (1548 cm2).

    Is that the *same exact wording* as the NSPI-5 you have? If not the *same exact wording*, please post the wording in your edition of NSPI-5.

    Do the stairs in your pool have a hand rail?
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:54 pm

    Hi Jerry!

    Yes it is the exact same wording and nothing has changed. There is no hand rail either.

    Thanks!


    Ps. I tried to upload some pictures but was unable to do so.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:25 pm

    6.2.1 Treads shall have a minimum unobstructed horizontal depth of 10 inches (254 mm) and a minimum unobstructed surface area of two-hundred-forty square inches (1548 cm2).

    There are two ways to read that, and, as you will see, it depends on which way you read it as to what it means, and then why it is interpreted as it is:

    a) The tread shall be a minimum of 10 inches deep and shall have a minimum of 240 square inches of surface area.
    - - What does that mean? It means that the tread shall be at least 10 inches deep with no specified width, but the surface area must be at least 240 square inches - this allows a tread to be (your interpretation taken to the extreme) minimum 10 inches deep, but the surface area must be at least 240 inches, so I can make the tread 2 inches wide as there is no minimum width and 120 inches deep as that meets the minimum 10 depth and 240 square inches as stated. Yes, that is precisely what it says ... but ... would you really think you could make a tread 2 inches wide and 120 inches deep? Of course not, that would be unsafe.

    b) The tread shall be a minimum of 10 inches deep and shall have a minimum of 240 square inches of surface area.
    - - What does that mean? It means that the tread shall be 10 inches deep with a 240 square inch surface area minimum for the 10 inch tread depth - this requires a tread which is 10 inches by 24 inches minimum. While the precise wording of the code does not say it that way, a look at the wording in the FBC-Building for pool treads says that is the intent, and, yes, you could make a tread which has that dimension and the tread would not be unsafe like the other tread in a) would be.

    Being as the Building Official of the AHJ is charged with making an interpretation when such vagueness exists in the Florida Building Code, and the Building Official can use one of the other Florida codes or standards for that interpretation, or use anything else, including their own judgement, for interpretations, your interpretation will not withstand a challenge to the Chief Building Inspector, much less to the Building Official.

    I.e., while you are correct as to the exact wording of what the code states, or, more precisely, what the standard the code references states ... the inspector is correct as to the intent of what that standard and the code is requiring.

    My recommendation would be to do a slight reconstruction of the stairs in question and make the measurable unobstructed tread depth and width between the inside edge of the stair tile coping to the inside radius as the riser be at least 11 inches deep by at least 25 inches wide - such that a 10 inch by 24 inch piece of plywood could lay flat on the tread and you will not push the minimum dimension to the point of having to do it over one more time to meet what the inspector is asking for. And, yes, I realize that if you modify the top tread larger that you will also have to modify each successive lower tread too.

    These are my selling points to you: First, you need to modify the tread to pass your inspection. Second, which will cost less - modifying the stairs or writing a check to cover attorneys' fees, pain and suffering, and other costs should someone be injured on that stair, and, when that stair is measured and the experts point out that the stairs do not meet the minimum code ... those experts are pointing that out while testifying before a judge and jury - all because you didn't want to go to the trouble and expense of reconstructing that stair to meet the code.

    Inspectors are not always correct, then again, neither are contractors, and in this case you are correct as to the actual wording but the inspector is correct as to the intent - the intent will rule.

    I realize this is not the answer you were hoping to get, but consider the above as food for thought when you decide whether to push this to the Building Official or make corrections to the stairs.

    I've had similar discussions years ago with pool contractors in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties) when I did inspections there - the pool contractors interpretations were always the same "a tread which is 10 inches deep by 24 inches wide is not required by the wording"; my response was always the same "the intent of the wording is for that minimum 10 inch deep by 24 inch wide tread" and "which is less expensive, correct it or pay your attorney to defend yourself when there is an injury?" I've always heard it said that attorneys never lose a case - they always get paid ...
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:10 pm

    Thanks Jerry!

    I really appreciate your input on the matter.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:12 pm

    Hi Jerry,
    One last comment and food for thought on this topic. I was thinking about how the plans were approved and then the steps built exactly as shown in the permitted plans. Each step has a rectangular box showing the dimension 10" X 24 inside each of the 3 drawn steps. I was under the impression the rectangular boxes were to illustrate the required 240 unobstructed inches for which each step has. The steps were built according to the approved plans. Isn't that in itself a valid argument? The building department approved the shown steps and dimensions.

    Thanks.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:40 pm

    pools1 wrote:I was thinking about how the plans were approved and then the steps built exactly as shown in the permitted plans. Each step has a rectangular box showing the dimension 10" X 24 inside each of the 3 drawn steps.


    If "the steps built exactly as shown in the permitted plans" and "Each step has a rectangular box showing the dimension 10" X 24 inside each of the 3 drawn steps", then the 10" x 24" rectangular plywood the inspector is going to place there would fit inside each of the 3 steps ... right? ... if "the steps built exactly as shown".

    I was under the impression the rectangular boxes were to illustrate the required 240 unobstructed inches for which each step has.


    The rectangles do indicate the required 240 unobstructed square inches as the 10" x 24" rectangular boxes you describe as being shown within the step is the required 240 square inches ... unless my math is incorrect.

    The steps were built according to the approved plans.


    They were?

    You said the approved plans show "rectangular box showing the dimension 10" X 24 inside each" step, but that is not the case as you originally described the steps.
    - You originally described the steps this way: "The inspector however is going to place a 24" X 10" rectangular template over the first step to try and illustrate the 240 square inch minimum code required surface area is missing when in fact it is not. In doing so, the 2 top corners of said template will protrude over the rounded radius by 1 1/2 on each side and I will fail the inspection." If that is the case, then by your own statements the steps are not "built according to the approved plans".

    Isn't that in itself a valid argument? The building department approved the shown steps and dimensions.


    That is not the case here as you said the approved drawings show that "Each step has a rectangular box showing the dimension 10" X 24 inside each of the 3 drawn steps".

    However, to answer your question of: If the approved documents (plans, etc) are approved during plan review, no, the actual construction must still meet code.

    First, rarely are plans stamped "Approved", usually the plans are stamped "Reviewed for code compliance" (stamping "Approved" went out quite some time ago due in part to the argument you are trying to make - the code now mandates that the approved documents are stamped with "Reviewed for code compliance").

    However, as a contractor, when you are given back a set of documents which are stamped "Reviewed for code compliance" you naturally take that as meaning the documents are "approved" if there are no notations or correction notations made, and that is a reasonable presumption, albeit an incorrect presumption.

    The work itself is required to meet the code, whether or not a non-compliant condition was or was not found during plan review and whether or not a non-compliant condition was or was not found during an inspection. If an inspection is approved but a non-compliant condition is found during a subsequent inspection - the non-compliant condition needs to be corrected.

    This is because the licensed contractor is responsible for the work meeting at least the minimum requirements of the building codes, whether or not the work is inspected ... the licensed contractor is the responsible party and that responsibility cannot be shifted to the building department, the plans examiner or the inspector.

    From the 2010 FBC- Residential (bold is mine)
    - R101.2.1
    - - The provisions of Chapter 1, Florida Building Code, Building, shall govern the administration and enforcement of the Florida Building Code, Residential.

    From the 2010 FBC-Building (underlining and bold are mine)
    - SECTION 110 INSPECTIONS
    - - 110.1 General.
    - - - Construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the building official and such construction or work shall remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved. Approval as a result of an inspection shall not be construed to be an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. Inspections presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid. It shall be the duty of the permit applicant to cause the work to remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes. Neither the building official nor the jurisdiction shall be liable for expense entailed in the removal or replacement of any material required to allow inspection.
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    Re: CODE 6.2.1 POOL TREADS 240 SQ INCHES

    New postby pools1 on Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:27 am

    Hi Jerry,
    I just wanted to thank you for all of your help and insight on the matter. Really appreciate it. This is an excellent site that you have. I have begun the process of rectifying the issue.

    Thanks!
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