ECN Forum
Posted By: harold endean Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 03:13 AM
You see a blue print and there is a room over the garage with a set of stairs going up into the area. There is a door at the bottom of the stairs, and several windows in the area. The blue print calls this area "Storage". There will be drywall and insulation on all 4 walls. Does this room need to follow 210.52 with recpt. 6'-12' spacing?
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 03:23 AM
By the book, if it is called 'storage space' then there are no spacing requirements.

In some neighborhoods, that would be either an apartment, or a 'guest room' LOL!!!

That is a close relative to the 'wet bar' with a 30 amp, 4 wire 'future use' (range) or a capped off gas line.
Posted By: schenimann Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 05:10 AM
Here it is based on heated space. If it is unheated then it is not habitable.

I had a job where a lady owned family land that had her dad's old hunting lodge out in the middle of the woods, a small 2 room block building with a porch. She wanted to put a bathroom in it so she could use it. She hired a GC, pulled full permits, drilled a well, put in a septic system, put in a full bathroom, water heater and full kitchen. She even added a bedroom. I wired it fully to code except the 12' rule. It even had phone and cable.

The inspector tried to fail it but had to pass it under duress after arguing with the GC. The only heat was a wood stove and a small space heater in the bathroom, therefore it was "uninhabitable".
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 07:37 AM
Perhaps a more important question is are you requiring fire code drywall on the garage ceiling?
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 07:42 PM
Ceiling would require FR sheetrock on ceiling and the wall(s) shared with the living space, per the Bldg guys. Any columns also require FR sheetrock wrap.

The shared walls with the living space also require 24" minimum spacing between penetrations in those walls. (ie: no back to back boxes, etc. Alternative is to wrap the boxes with fire pads ('putty pads').

Posted By: gfretwell Re: Habitable room? - 06/19/13 09:15 PM
That gets back to whether the area above the garage is "living space" or just storage.
Personally I would assume that if they are dry walling the area, it is "habitable", whether they store junk up there or not.
When they do turn this into a spare bedroom, they will thank you for the receptacles and the cost is minimal at the construction phase.

I had exactly the same issue when I built the two story garage in Md and I thought I was saving money somewhere by saying the second floor was "storage" but the guy at plan review said there was nothing to be gained by doing that since the tax man just looked at the outside envelope size.

These days you might get some relief from the energy code but that will come back to you in increased utility bills down the road.
It is really hard to justify falsifying a building permit application.
Posted By: renosteinke Re: Habitable room? - 06/20/13 03:26 AM
When did it become the inspectors' duty to look into a crystal ball and speculate as to what might happen in the future?

I mean, I've heard of 'grandfathering' ... but some of this begins to sound like 'grand childrening.'That is, trying to apply tomorrows' rules to today's work.

Every set of plans is unique, and we can't always hav e a blanket answer.
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Habitable room? - 06/20/13 03:42 AM
Where is the crystal ball commentary??

Posted By: renosteinke Re: Habitable room? - 06/21/13 12:56 AM
"When they do turn this into a spare bedroom"

That's but one comment that infers looking into the future, or discerning the "real" motives. For that, you don't need an inspector, you need a fortune teller.
Posted By: harold endean Re: Habitable room? - 06/21/13 02:34 AM
Again guys we go into the "What If" scene. The walls need FR sheet rock because of insulation. The blue print states that it is storage only. There might or might not have baseboard heat, but it could have a heating register. Does the code ever mention "Habitable rooms"? It does say that:
" Kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor,
library, den, sun room, bed room, recreation room, or similar room or area of dwelling units, receptacle outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.52"
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Habitable room? - 06/21/13 03:44 AM
I guess the real question is why would you lie about this?
It is just going to bite you down the road. Permit history used to be a dusty box in a warehouse somewhere. Now everything is online, open to lawyers, home inspectors, code enforcement officers and nosy neighbors (the last being the most dangerous of all).
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Habitable room? - 06/22/13 03:26 AM

I have called the homeowner or the builder and questioned the 'storage' room. It has come out that it is intended to be an office, additional bedroom, etc. in the 'future'.

The plans usually indicate insulation & sheetrock, but no compliant receptacles. Asking why not install the recepts, usually it's money; I ask 'won't it cost more to do after the room is finished'??

THe conversation above usually results in a revised plan, or the EC will rough it in as an update.

Posted By: gfretwell Re: Habitable room? - 06/22/13 06:23 AM
That is exactly the kind of response I would have and what they asked me in Md. In my case I actually had all of the electrical right and they were questioning the lack of fire code drywall on the ceiling.
I agreed we wanted to make this "habitable" when I found out the tax man didn't care, the price was the same.
Posted By: harold endean Re: Habitable room? - 06/23/13 03:57 PM
John and Greg,

Oh I intend to ask someone about this "Storage area" and if they say it is strictly storage, I don't think there is anything I can do about it. I will make suggestions about, "While the wall is open..." and see where that gets me.
© ECN Electrical Forums