Attic access cover

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Attic access cover

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Stephen Enomoto

Horizon Home Inspection LLC
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Posted: Jun 29, 2005 9:29 PM       Post Subject:
Just a quick question. Is the attic acces cover 22 x 30 supposed to made only of fire rated drywall or will other material work in its place. 1/2 plywood textured and painted was usedfor a cover. I know that it has some fire rating, but is it the same as drywall?

Steve
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Marcel Cyr

Cyr Home Inspections
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Posted: Jul 3, 2005 4:36 PM       Post Subject:
not having researched the issue, like most respondents will do, I would like to add that if the composition of the ceiling material is of 1/2" or 5/8" material, the access door material should match the fire rating for the surrounding area. Insulation should also be provided to match the r- 38 requirement of the standard of the industry.

Hope this helps.

Marcel

P.S. If anything differs, it should be noted as such and recommend further evaluation.
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Ian D Norman
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Posted: Oct 5, 2005 2:40 PM       Post Subject:

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Caught in a local disagreement between township and home inspector. An attic access cover is held in place by screws. Does this constitute making the attic "inaccessible" and render inspection of the attic "invasive"? Or is it more like electrical services, where to undo screws for inspection is considered normal?
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Bruce King

B. A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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Posted: Oct 5, 2005 2:44 PM       Post Subject:
Presence of screws do make it accessible, nails do not. This assumes that the screw heads are not rounded off...

Most closet attic scuttles I see are only accessible if the closet is empty.
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Marcel Cyr

Cyr Home Inspections
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Posted: Oct 5, 2005 6:07 PM       Post Subject:
icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif

Access panels for access are usually installed with screws and finish washers indicating that they are accessible. Some panels are screwed in but also caulked or sealed where some damage could occur when removed.

I would be wise to be able to denote the difference between the two.
One is accessible and the other is not, although installed with screws.

Marcel
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Richard Washington

RW Home Inspections-----rwhomeinspections.com
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Posted: Oct 5, 2005 7:39 PM       Post Subject:
I believe the screws are used to prevent small children from getting into an unsafe area. I see these access panels installed at floor level. Yes I would inspect it if there was no caulk and just screws.

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Richard W Washington
www.rwhomeinspections.com

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Ian D Norman
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Posted: Oct 6, 2005 5:52 AM       Post Subject:

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There was no caulking, but no finishing washers either - just two unpainted screws, with evidence on the hatch that the screws have been removed at least once since installation five years ago.

Thanks for your feedback, one and all. Appreciated. Don't know if it will help me, but at least I'm armed with a quick consensus, when I hear the two opposing sides slugging it out. Thankfully, I'm just the bystander in this argument, with no ax to grind.
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Jay Moge
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Posted: Oct 6, 2005 10:02 PM       Post Subject:

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personaly i'd remove the screws and see if it's still "readily accessable". if you can get in easily with a household ladder, then i'd say check it out. only because A; if you can't, than no one els has either and it's never been checked. and B; if you can then so has someone else and they may be hoping you don't in an effort that you don't see "something". just my thoughts. icon_cool.gif icon_wink.gif
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David Andersen

David A. Andersen & Associates
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Posted: Oct 7, 2005 7:55 AM       Post Subject:
Ian D Norman wrote:
Caught in a local disagreement between township and home inspector. An attic access cover is held in place by screws. Does this constitute making the attic "inaccessible" and render inspection of the attic "invasive"? Or is it more like electrical services, where to undo screws for inspection is considered normal?


It is my interpretation that an attic access that is screwed shut (or a water heater access which is common here) is inaccessible and intrusive if entered.

Service panel screws on HVAC and electrical equipment or are intended to be removed and are designed to properly align when the screws are placed back. This is not the case on a wooden on-site constructed hatch. We know how a service panel was constructed, we do not know how the access hatch panel was constructed. Painting over an electrical cover also makes the panel inaccessible as there is potential damage to the wall if the cover is removed. Any invasive inspection techniques such as this, require written authorization by the current homeowner before further evaluation can be completed. This does not mean that the inspection should not continue in the future. It means that doing inspection work which obviously will damage the property is a liability to the home inspector.
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Monte Lunde
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Posted: Oct 7, 2005 9:23 AM       Post Subject:

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Second Dave

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Monte Lunde CCI, CCPM, CRI
Viking Construction Services Inc.

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Marcel Cyr

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Posted: Oct 7, 2005 4:06 PM       Post Subject:
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I thought we were talking about attic access panels?

Am I missing something here?

Marcel
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David Andersen

David A. Andersen & Associates
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 10:18 AM       Post Subject:
Quote:
An attic access cover is held in place by screws. Does this constitute making the attic "inaccessible" and render inspection of the attic "invasive"? Or is it more like electrical services, where to undo screws for inspection is considered normal


I was comparing the two.

Someone could ask, what's the difference between taken a cover off of an electrical panel or HVAC panel versus taking the cover off the ceiling. So I posted my reasons why I won't take screws out of an excess panel.

This is just my opinion and my policy.

As posted, it's unlikely anyone has ever been up there for a long time and may need inspecting. However, I will not do it until better access is provided for me by the seller, or I have permission in writing.
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Roy Cooke

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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 10:36 AM       Post Subject:
dandersen wrote:
Quote:
An attic access cover is held in place by screws. Does this constitute making the attic "inaccessible" and render inspection of the attic "invasive"? Or is it more like electrical services, where to undo screws for inspection is considered normal


I was comparing the two.

Someone could ask, what's the difference between taken a cover off of an electrical panel or HVAC panel versus taking the cover off the ceiling. So I posted my reasons why I won't take screws out of an excess panel.

This is just my opinion and my policy.

As posted, it's unlikely anyone has ever been up there for a long time and may need inspecting. However, I will not do it until better access is provided for me by the seller, or I have permission in writing.

The eight inches of blown insulation that comes down with the closed door.
Been there done that Do not want to do it again.
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Raymond Wand

Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 2:46 PM       Post Subject:
This should help.


https://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/B/BakerStreetHomeInspection.htm

Also if the hatch is in an older house it would most likely not have to meet current codes.

--
Raymond Wand
Alton, ON
The value of experience is not in seeing much,
but in seeing wisely. - Sir William Osler 1905
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Marcel Cyr

Cyr Home Inspections
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 5:00 PM       Post Subject:
icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif

Raymond; that was a good article.

Marcel
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Marcel Cyr

Cyr Home Inspections
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 5:04 PM       Post Subject:
icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

Hey Roy; I thought that was or must of been quite a surprise to open that hatch and this stuff fell on your head. I can just see it now. That is funny.

Who vacuumed the mess? ha. ha.

I bet you, that was the last hatchway you opened.

Question? How would they have blown the insulation over the hatch after they got out? Trivia?

Marcel
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Roy Cooke

Roys Home Inspection
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 5:19 PM       Post Subject:
mcyr wrote:
icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

Hey Roy; I thought that was or must of been quite a surprise to open that hatch and this stuff fell on your head. I can just see it now. That is funny.

Who vacuumed the mess? ha. ha.

I bet you, that was the last hatchway you opened.

Question? How would they have blown the insulation over the hatch after they got out? Trivia?

Marcel


Yes my wife the two agents where in hysterics.
They laughed so hard I had to laugh to.
18 inch Gable vent do not know how big the operator was to get through that hole .
I recommended they insulate the hatch door and soft gasket and a barrier before closing it up.
Every one was happy . Another of many stories from the past .
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Marcel Cyr

Cyr Home Inspections
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Posted: Oct 10, 2005 7:14 PM       Post Subject:
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Can't stop laughing, (never thought of the gable vent, that must a been some tight squeeze.) ha. ha.

Marcel
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Raymond Wand

Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
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Posted: Oct 11, 2005 5:40 AM       Post Subject:
They sometimes blow in insulation from the mushroom roof caps. Thus they cover the hatch and the soffit vents. And we all know what happens when soffit vents get covered don't we?

--
Raymond Wand
Alton, ON
The value of experience is not in seeing much,
but in seeing wisely. - Sir William Osler 1905
NACHI Member
Registered Home Inspector (OAHI)
http://www.raymondwand.ca

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David Andersen

David A. Andersen & Associates
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Posted: Oct 11, 2005 8:34 AM       Post Subject:
One thing that came to mind when reading the judgment was that the home inspector did not specifically report the inability to access the attic and why.

Whenever you come across a barrier which prevents or may restrict the ability to perform an adequate visual inspection, the condition should be noted in the report. Supporting documentation such as photographs will also be a big help.

Some home inspection reports indicating whether the building is occupied or vacant. This indicates to some extent the accessibility of the house for inspection.

Also this judgment indicated that the client was not present at the time of inspection. This is usually elected by the client and may have a bearing as to their ability to understand the complete inspection without visually experiencing it. Most problems with clients after an inspection come from clients that did not attend the inspection. Indicating that the client was present for a follow-up walk-through after inspection may provide substance to any verbal conversation which may have occurred or is the standard which would be normally covered. We are protected under inspection agreement that the written report is the only report, however this is to protect us from being accused by the client of stating something verbally which may be contrary to the written report.

When in doubt, write it down. icon_smile.gif
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