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Thread: House floor level vs garage floor level

  1. #1

    House floor level vs garage floor level

    I am in the process of getting a new home built. I have one problem with it. The house floor height is the same as the front porch as the first section of the driveway and garage floor. You can draw a circle around the path and everything is the same level, no ramps.

    The problem comes with the city code. Garage floor must be 4” lower than the house floor height due to carbon monoxide from a motor vehicle. Now the entrance door to the garage is at the front of the garage not the rear where the exhaust would be coming from.

    I contacted the U.S. Access Board in Washington D.C who created the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, also known as ADAAG. There is nothing stated in it. The reply I got from the U.S. Access Board states, “Also, please understand that private homes are not covered by the ADA or ABA. It is my understanding that the International Residential Code no longer requires a change in level between the dwelling unit and a garage. Where the ADA applies, there must be an accessible route between a dwelling unit and the garage. However, that route can be from any entrance and through the driveway.“

    For those who built a new home how did you deal with this issue?


    titanium4motion

  2. #2
    Senior Member Susqu's Avatar
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    Just a thought......Talk to the whoever is in charge of the city codes and see if there might be another way of preventing the CO gas from entering the home that would be acceptable to them. There might be some newer technology that they would find effective, if you ask.

    Would a floor slope of '4" over all', away from the door to the home be enough to satisify the code?? That way you would have a door at level but also the 4" sink for the CO gas to flow to. (Sounds like CO is a heavier than air gas that will flow to the lowest level) Most garages are about 10'-20' and about 20' long. figuring 4" rise over 20' is 5 times gentler than ramps are supposed to be. That is if even that slope wouldn't make things more difficult for you.

    I know how much an attached garage helps me in doing things, I simply have a 4' ramp to the inside door (older home which I adapted) with shelves and stuff on both sides so it's not sticking out in the middle of an open floor.

    Looking forward to hearing other solutions.

  3. #3
    All I can say is good luck. I built my house in the "country" so city codes didn't apply to my house. I do wonder, would the addition of Carbon monoxide detectors make the city happy?? Also, speak with the code enforcement director, your commissioner, the mayor if need be.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    My garage is level, but I live in the basement. The main floor has a garage that is lower than the floor level by about 8 inches. I don't know how or if codes affected this. But IF ya have a basement it could have a garage set lower than the floor, wonder if this would be acceptable vs making the upstairs 'primary' ?

    two things that work great, a recirc line on the hot water line that keeps the water hot so you don't waste 10 gallons each time waiting for the water to heat up(gas h20 heater) and a built in vacuum cleaner...dirt collection centralized, vacuum 'piped' to house in pvc under flooring, strategically placed hose connections on wall in each room, single, stowable hose/gadgets in small closet.
    Last edited by CapnGimp; 03-07-2010 at 06:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susqu View Post
    Just a thought......Talk to the whoever is in charge of the city codes and see if there might be another way of preventing the CO gas from entering the home that would be acceptable to them. There might be some newer technology that they would find effective, if you ask.
    I'm guessing this being 'failsafe' is why its required vs MAYBE power dependent alternative. It's a vey good idea, except for the accessability troubles that come with it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Big Tuna's Avatar
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    Theres got to be a way around having to comply with that code! Would the township or state be able to give an exemption? If not then maybe an alternative design/concept

    It seems like the codes are getting more controlling every year and I hate it! Good luck with your new house!!
    Inc C4 since Oct 07

    "Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing" - Optimus Prime

  7. #7
    Try this? I think guidelines are here somewhere.

    http://www.hud.gov/library/bookshelf08/access.cfm

  8. #8
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    My former house had a garage attached that was the 4" drop so I had someone make a nice gradual ramp from the house to garage from cement. If you are building can't your builder just lower the garage level to the specified drop?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lone Beagle's Avatar
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    I've built two houses and a condo all of which had concrete ramps from the lowered floor. I am pretty sure the code requirement is 'local' and not part of the model codes the local codes are built on. The reasons I heard were flooding and burning pools of gasoline for chrissakes!

    Then I helped a buddy who walks but will end up in a chair due to a SCI work out the wheelchair access problem. We had the builder push it with the town building officials and found there is not a real reason to have the garage floor lowered. As a result, the garage floor in his house is level with the interior floor!

    I would suggest you argue it. Get a letter from a MD or a therapist or some sort of "expert".

    my two cents,

  10. #10
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Contact the local building inspector....or whoever has to sign off on the building permit and subsequent inspection to get an occupancy permit. They cannot advise you to do something building-wise and then overrule themselves. ADA does not apply to private homes.

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