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When was a fire separation in the attic first required between sides of a duplex?

Monday, November 26, 2018

We know that the requirement was in the original 2002 edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC), and the three allowed exceptions have been added in the years since then. The earliest code we still have kicking around in the office is a 2006 International Residential Code (IRC), which shows at R317.1 that the first two of the three current exceptions were added with that edition. To understand the current standard, see our blog post What is the code requirement for fire separation between sides of a duplex?

    The requirement actually goes back much farther than that to the Southern Standard Building Code, but was not always enforced. “There are many duplexes from the 1960s and 70s in Broward County and Miami-Dade County which did not have the required fire-resistant rated wall in the attics,” according to Jerry Peck, a retired South Florida building inspector and code expert. “I believe it was in the codes at that time, it’s just that ‘fire’ was not of ‘high importance’ until the mid-to-late 1980s."

    We sometimes find not just no fire separation wall in the attic of a mid-centry duplex, but also an attic scuttle on both sides that provides direct access for occupants from one side to the other’s unit unless it has a locking mechanism.

   Also, you might want to read What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? and What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door?

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “ATTICS":

What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?  

What is the most common type of roof-to-wall attachment?

Is an attic required to have a light by the building code?  

How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

What are the common problems with attic insulation? 

Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?

How do I safely clean up rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) urine or droppings the attic?

Why is vermiculite attic insulation a problem for both buyers and sellers of a home? 

What are the code requirements for NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable or Romex®) in an attic? 

What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic? 

• When was a fire separation in the attic first required between sides of a duplex? 

     Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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