Stair way head room

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Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:52 am

I am drafting a set of plans for a small camp. For whatever reason (cost), the client did not want to go through an architect and took it upon themselves to hand draw some plans on graph paper. These are amateur drawings and the client requested that I convert them to a set of working construction plans. Building codes are lenient here in Maine, US and don't require an architect or engineer, plus it is a relatively simple plan so I decided to take the job. I am a professional, albeit new, drafter and have completed several similar projects successfully in the past.

Everything seemed pretty straight forward, but as I began the drawing I found that there was not enough room to fit certain things. For example, a set of straight stairs that goes from the "breezeway" to the second floor lacks head room. What I thought might work is placing the header of the stairs in the "breezeway" to give the necessary headroom. I have attached some very rough drawings to illustrate what I mean. Please disregard the washer/dryer space problems and other issues at this time. I am focusing solely on the stairway at the moment.

Do you think this stairway configuration will work or do the stairs need to be moved further into the main house?
Attachments
camp-Layout2.pdf
Second Floor
(26.88 KiB) Downloaded 248 times
camp-Layout1.pdf
First Floor
(21.35 KiB) Downloaded 247 times
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby wai on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:56 am

While there might not be local authority rules that will be enforced, there is something you need to consider.

In engineering there is a principle that has the acronym RAGAGEP. This stands for Recognised and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice. What this means is that you have to follow procedures that ensure good practice. You first have to adhere to legal requirements where the work is being carried out, then national standards, then international standards, then industry standards, then company standards, and then you go back to basics or first principles.

This can be extended to any field and is not exclusive to engineering.

So, you have to ask yourself whether you are following such a protocol in preparing the drawings for this building.

On the face of it, my reading would say that you are not (don't take this personally). There may not be local authority requirements covering this building, but there are other rules/guidelines/codes of practice that would say that such a situation is not acceptable. If you do proceed, you need to understand that someone injuring themselves may well decide to seek redress from you. Even if your client asked for this to be done, you need to make sure that you have formally advised them of your concerns and seek clarification from them. In particular, you need them to accept any liability for this.

You describe this as a camp building. This would imply that you are going to have many people staying here who will not be familiar with the layout of the building. They are the ones who may suffer injury, and you will be in the firing line.

From the drawings, all you need is for a landing to be provided. Much easier to incorporate this in the design now than wait until it is built and then have to put one there.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby allan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:57 pm

Stair header: more like a lintel supporting the roof over. To the lay persons it's a header as you work down the stairs, but it's really supporting the roof. I could get you layout to work structurally, is that your problem?
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby allan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:04 pm

Second point. Can you move the stair internally within the top story? See the sketch attached.

stair.png
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:59 pm

wai wrote:While there might not be local authority rules that will be enforced, there is something you need to consider.

In engineering there is a principle that has the acronym RAGAGEP. This stands for Recognised and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice. What this means is that you have to follow procedures that ensure good practice. You first have to adhere to legal requirements where the work is being carried out, then national standards, then international standards, then industry standards, then company standards, and then you go back to basics or first principles.

This can be extended to any field and is not exclusive to engineering.

So, you have to ask yourself whether you are following such a protocol in preparing the drawings for this building.

On the face of it, my reading would say that you are not (don't take this personally). There may not be local authority requirements covering this building, but there are other rules/guidelines/codes of practice that would say that such a situation is not acceptable. If you do proceed, you need to understand that someone injuring themselves may well decide to seek redress from you. Even if your client asked for this to be done, you need to make sure that you have formally advised them of your concerns and seek clarification from them. In particular, you need them to accept any liability for this.

You describe this as a camp building. This would imply that you are going to have many people staying here who will not be familiar with the layout of the building. They are the ones who may suffer injury, and you will be in the firing line.

From the drawings, all you need is for a landing to be provided. Much easier to incorporate this in the design now than wait until it is built and then have to put one there.


All plans I do are purely for illustrative purposes only. I include a liability waiver on the title block to protect myself in the event that the builder uses them to work by without first having them reviewed by a licensed architect or engineer.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:04 pm

allan wrote:Stair header: more like a lintel supporting the roof over. To the lay persons it's a header as you work down the stairs, but it's really supporting the roof. I could get you layout to work structurally, is that your problem?


It is possible that the lintel will work as I have drawn it, but the transition between breezeway and main house will be awkward. We could build a small area of sloped ceiling directly above the stairs or have part of the breeze way roof vaulted.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:07 pm

allan wrote:Second point. Can you move the stair internally within the top story? See the sketch attached.

stair.png


The door to the first floor bedroom prevents me from moving the stairs toward the main house any further. If you look at the first floor, the stairs actually go all the way to the wall just to the right of the washer/dryer.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:11 pm

Thanks for the replies. I'm still working with the homeowner and builder on the plans and I appreciate any suggestions.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby wai on Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:35 am

nicnicman wrote:All plans I do are purely for illustrative purposes only. I include a liability waiver on the title block to protect myself in the event that the builder uses them to work by without first having them reviewed by a licensed architect or engineer.

I do the same, however you still expose yourself to defending an action brought by someone who has suffered.

When it comes to the crunch, if you show something where there is an obvious hazard, but you fail to alert your client to this, you can be held liable no matter what waiver you show.

I prepare plans for a client for panel form kit buildings. Following just such an instance, I now have to quote chapter and verse, the clause numbers from the relevant standards for stairways, ladders and balustrades.
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Re: Stair way head room

Postby nicnicman on Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:19 am

wai wrote:
nicnicman wrote:All plans I do are purely for illustrative purposes only. I include a liability waiver on the title block to protect myself in the event that the builder uses them to work by without first having them reviewed by a licensed architect or engineer.

I do the same, however you still expose yourself to defending an action brought by someone who has suffered.

When it comes to the crunch, if you show something where there is an obvious hazard, but you fail to alert your client to this, you can be held liable no matter what waiver you show.

I prepare plans for a client for panel form kit buildings. Following just such an instance, I now have to quote chapter and verse, the clause numbers from the relevant standards for stairways, ladders and balustrades.


Thanks for the concern, wai, but I would never submit a drawing that I felt was a danger to the client or builder, nor did I in this case. The stairway could have been built as I had shown in the original post, I was just worried about the awkward transition between breezeway and main house that would occur to allow for headroom. It would have been necessary to build a short sloped ceiling, and that was something I was trying to avoid as it would slow down the overall building process and would not be the most attractive end product. Good point, though, about specifying relevant stair code info on the plans.

In the end, I decided to add 2' to the overall length of the building. The extra 2' brought it from 34' (which the client requested) to 36', but it allowed just enough space to fit the stairs in comfortably. It also gave me enough room for a much-needed closet in the breezeway. I then moved the washer and dryer out from under the stairs and into the bathroom. So now there is just the combo water/space heater under the stairs.

Overall, I am happy with the plans, but I am waiting to hear from the client and builder about changes. It has been 5 days so hopefully that means everyone is happy. :D
I really appreciate the comments and suggestions everyone.
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