Fire walls are the most robust form of fire-rated assemblies in the Building Code and have strict rules for their construction and continuity. In Seattle, fire walls are being used more frequently for a variety of reasons, including: Fire walls are required for compartmentalization when building 6 stories of wood construction using the Seattle amendment to promote more affordable housing (SBC 510.10); and Fire walls are used to subdivide a building into separate “buildings,” either to change the occupancy designation or to separate new construction from existing.
Revised Policy for Use of Fire Walls in Lieu of Substantial Alterations
Substantial alterations are a part of the Seattle Residential Code (SRC) that is applied when a large percentage of the house is being renovated or a large addition is being constructed; SRC Section R107.9. The requirements of substantial alterations are to update the house to the current code for major life safety items of fire, egress, and seismic. Substantial alterations may be required when an attached accessory dwelling unit (AADU) is created as an addition to an existing house. Traditionally, SDCI has given a break from substantial alterations when an AADU is being created in an existing house to support the housing need in Seattle, though this break has not been given when a new addition to a house is for an AADU. Recently, SDCI has revised the policy to allow fire wall construction in compliance with Seattle Building Code 706 to separate a new addition from an existing dwelling unit per SRC 107.5.
New Approved Legislation and Amendments
The City Council approved an amendment to the 2015 Seattle Building Code allowing Art Gallery spaces less than 3000 square feet in size to remain or be classified as an Mercantile occupancy from an Assembly-3 occupancy. They also approved legislation for Seattle’s Technical Codes and Electrical Code.
2015 Codes: Vesting FAQs
Are you concerned about whether your permit application will be accepted before the change to the 2015 Seattle codes? Here are some FAQs to help you understand the steps you need to take.
2015 Code Adoption Update
For the past several months, we have been preparing to adopt the 2015 Seattle codes, including the Building, Residential, Mechanical, and Energy Conservation codes. While we don’t know what the legislative schedule will be, we are expecting to require compliance with the 2015 codes on January 1, 2017.
According to a study of deck-related injuries during 2003-2007, failing deck rails (guardrails) were the cause of 33 percent of the structural failures that caused a visit to the emergency room. Failing deck rails caused 26,640 injuries in that 5 year period, nationwide. The Seattle Building Code (SBC) section 1607.8.1 and Seattle Residential Code (SRC) Table R301.5 both require that guards (the code term now used for guardrails) be designed to resist specific forces that simulate an adult falling against or pulling/pushing on a guard.
2012 Code Books are Available
The 2012 Seattle Building, Existing Building, Residential, and Mechanical code books are available from DPD. You can purchase codes from the our Public Resource Center on the 20th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave.
2012 Codes Become Mandatory This Month
The 2012 Seattle building, energy, residential, mechanical, fuel gas, existing building, plumbing and fire codes were approved by the City Council on September 16. The 60-day transition period ends late this month.
Correction: City Council has Approved the 2012 Seattle Codes
The 2012 Seattle building, energy, residential, mechanical, fuel gas, existing building, plumbing and fire codes were approved by the City Council on September 16. The 2012 codes will become mandatory on December 26, 2013.
Revised Date for Adoption of 2012 Codes
The City Council Energy and Environment Committee is tentatively scheduled to review the 2012 Seattle building, residential, existing building, mechanical, fuel gas, and plumbing codes on August 13. The Seattle Energy Code may be heard at a later meeting.