exterior stairway

Interesting question Roll Eyes

An exterior stairway in an R3 occupancy- how far from property line and how to protect...

Some thoughts/ background information....

1) Check with Planning/Zoning to see if an exterior stairway in an R-3 can be located this close to property line!

2) Exterior stairways are talked about in Section 1024.3 of the 2007 CBC. You would need minimum 10 ft separation from property line. I'm not sure that this section applies to our scenario though.

3) Table 602 has exterior wall fire rating information based on fire separation distance (FSD). Footnote "f" does not require fire rating if the FSD is at least 5 ft.

1) If Planning/Zoning allows the exterior stairway to be 3 ft from property, then the exterior stairway should be one-hour fire-resistance construction, OR Heavy Timber construction (Heavy Timber may be used as equivalent to one-hour fire-resistive rating per footnote "d" in Table 601).

2) If the stairway is located such that the closest it gets to the property line is 5 ft, then I would not require fire-resistance construction for the stairway.
2007 CBC
If there is no R-3 exception, in a small sloped lot situation how can you get up to an entry door if the only possible location for stairs is either the side yard (3ft) or the front corner, avoiding the garage door. This seems impossible on a 25 to 35 ft wide lots.

How many concrete steps on grade could you build before it becomes a stair? One or more risers according to definition 1002. How can you have any walkway around a building without it being 100% level or possible small slope if at ONE step it becomes a stair and needs 10ft separation from the property line?
Please keep in mind that the CBC does not properly address R-3 uses. Mainly because the IRC has not been adopted. A ten-foot setback for n R-3 stairway is overly restrictive.

Table R302.1 of the IRC indicates that a fire separation distance of five feet would suffice for an exterior stairway.

Chuck daleo, CBO
My question related to poured concrete steps with backfill. I am not sure at what point they become "elevated" Local zoning allows 6 ft above the existing grade with a 42'' rail in sideyard. I would think building code would change definition at 30'' since 30" and shorter would not require a permit but height may not even govern if the stairs are an exit. CBC 704.2 restricts projections (including) stairs and typically allows 12'' projection into a 3 ft yard where openings are prohibited. Wording of this code paragraph is not clear on what applies to stairs and balconies as opposed to roof overhangs. I think IRC is irrelevant in California except as background.
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