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Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

(OP)
I have designed several roof structures that are open canopies (no walls) near property lines. Every jurisdiction seems to have a different interpretation of fire rating requirements for these structures. Does anybody have any code sections or ideas on if fire rating is required, fire separations, etc. for structures that do not have exterior walls?

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

There is no requirement for unenclosed structures to have a fire rating. Further, if the structure is more than 5 feet from another structure, the rating is irrelevant as well.

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

(OP)
Thanks Ron. What if the structure is less than 5 feet from another building or the property line?

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

You get around the 5 foot problem by defining it as a canopy. My only concern is if you are storing hazardous materials beneath the canopy. In that case, you've got a host of problems.

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

(OP)
stookeyfpe: do you have a code reference for an exception for canopies? I haven't been able to find anything and most jurisdictions that we deal with treat any structure with a roof as a building.

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

The 5-foot requirement is measured "wall-to-wall", so if there are no walls, the point is moot.

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

Depends on the jurisdiction. I was working on a Habitat house as a volunteer where we had to provide a 1 hour fire rating to the underside of the roof overhang because it infringed on the 5' setback space from the property line. The exterior wall of the house was clear of the 5' setback space. Unfortunately we didn't realize what was happening until after the house was already under construction. City outsourced the inspections to save money and the interpretations changed.

On another couple of houses the access porch to the side door of the house (5' x 6' with railings, no roof) infringed on the setback space, and we ultimately got around it by describing the porch as a "fire escape". Looked an awfully lot like a porch with a stairway to ground level to me. Again the rules had changed after the original permit was approved.

RE: Unenclosed Roof at Property Line

(OP)
I have designed at least two canopies in different jurisdictions where they required a fire rated wall to be constructed along property line where the canopy roof was closer than 10 feet from the property line. The justification was that if combustible items were stored under the canopy then protection needed to be provided.

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