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    Townhomes and property lines

    Townhomes and property lines

    New postby Julia XA on Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:03 pm

    Hi, me again.
    I am still working on this townhome project.
    My question is where in the IRC (or IBC) is 'townhome' defined as having to have property lines between them?

    My local plans examiner claims that for structure to be considered a townhome under the IRC it each unit must be separated by property lines. However, I cannot find this definition anywhere in the IRC. The examiner claims it is not a local amendment but rather is in the IRC in the definition of townhome. I could find no mention of property lines in the definition or townhome (nor under dwelling), but perhaps it is in some other section? She declined to cite the exact chapter and section and only said "check the IRC for definition of townhome"

    She is claiming the same exact buildings which meets the definition of townhome in the IRC (with common walls and open on at least 2 sides, etc), with property lines would fall under R-3 IRC but without property lines would fall under R-2 IBC


    Thanks for any help.
    Julia
    Julia XA
     
    Posts: 6
    Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:43 am

    Re: Townhomes and property lines

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:09 pm

    That is the question I submitted to ICC in one of the other replies - some states insert such language and, with such language inserted, a "townhouse" is exempt from the IBC and is under the IRC, however, the IBC itself and the IRC itself does not specifically state a requirement to be separated by property lines - it may be implied, which was part of my question to the ICC. I have not heard back from the ICC yet as it usually takes a while for the committee members to discuss it and determine a definitive answer which can be supported.

    The IRC specifically applies to townhouses not more than three stories, which means that a 'more than three story' townhouse would be under the IBC - neither mentions 'property lines', albeit the normal usage of the term 'townhouse' implies attached single-family where one owns from the ground it sits on (and usually additional front/rear/possibly side yard areas) to the sky above, with a property line running down the center of the wall which attaches, and separates, the adjacent townhouses.

    From my other reply:
    From the 2015 IBC:
    - Townhouse. A single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from the foundation to the roof and with open space on at least two sides.

    From the 2015 IRC:
    - Townhouse. A single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from the foundation to the roof and with a yard or public way on not less than two sides.


    We can try to take guidance from the definitions for "dwelling" and "dwelling unit" as that is the base for the "three or more attached units" in the definitions for "townhouse" in the IBC and IRC:
    - From the 2015 IBC
    - - Dwelling. A building that contains one or two dwelling units used, intended or designed to be used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for living purposes.
    - - Dwelling Unit. A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities or designed to be used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for living purposes.

    - From the 2015 IRC
    - - Dwelling. Any building that contains one or two dwelling units used, intended or designed to be built, used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied, or that are occupied for living purposes.
    - - Dwelling Unit. A single unit providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

    The definitions for "dwelling" and "dwelling unit" don't address or specify any requirement for a property line between, around, or separating one "dwelling" or "dwelling unit" from another one.

    Based on no property line requirement in the base "dwelling" or "dwelling unit", and with no property line requirement in the definitions of "townhouse", the onus falls on the AHJ to 'see the code which requires a property line' ... they may have such local wording, but that would need to be in a published and adopted ordinance or some other means which legally adopts a requirement for property lines.

    To me ... requiring property lines makes sense in separating "townhouses" from each other, but ... "to me" ... does not count when it comes to adopted codes and ordinances, it only matters what has been adopted. Explain that you 'are from Missouri, you need to show me' the code section which requires property lines (they mighty be able to, or might not be able to - in Florida, I can show it to people, but what is done 'in Florida' does not matter to what is done where you are.

    (underlining is mine)
    - From the 2015 IBC
    - - 107.3 Examination of documents.
    - - - The building official shall examine or cause to be examined the accompanying submittal documents and shall ascertain by such examinations whether the construction indicated and described is in accordance with the requirements of this code and other pertinent laws or ordinances.
    - - - 107.3.1 Approval of construction documents.
    - - - - Where the building official issues a permit, the construction documents shall be approved in writing or by a stamp that states "Reviewed for Code Compliance." One set of construction documents so reviewed shall be retained by the building official. The other set shall be returned to the applicant, shall be kept at the site of work and shall be open to inspection by the building official or a duly authorized representative.

    - From the 2015 IRC
    - - R106.3 Examination of documents.
    - - - The building official shall examine or cause to be examined construction documents for code compliance.
    - - - R106.3.1 Approval of construction documents.
    - - - - Where the building official issues a permit, the construction documents shall be approved in writing or by a stamp that states "REVIEWED FOR CODE COMPLIANCE." One set of construction documents so reviewed shall be retained by the building official. The other set shall be returned to the applicant, shall be kept at the site of work and shall be open to inspection by the building official or a duly authorized representative.

    Keeping in mind that the building official shall: (underlining is mine)

    - From the 2015 IBC
    - - 104.1 General.
    - - - The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.

    - From the 2015 IRC
    - - R104.1 General.
    - - - The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
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    Re: Townhomes and property lines

    New postby Julia XA on Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:41 pm

    Thank you. I could not find any mention of property lines either.
    It will be interesting to hear what the ICC says about it.

    I have found interpretations from other jurisdictions in other states that imply that property lines make the distinction between townhome and not-a-townhome per code, but they seem also to ignore the fact that term 'property line' is not mentioned in the code.

    Julia
    Julia XA
     
    Posts: 6
    Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:43 am


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