Footings for exterior door stoops

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Footings for exterior door stoops

Postby David W. Sorenson » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:30 pm

Does anyone know where I can find a code passage stating that footings are indeed required for exterior stoops? Thanks.
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Re: Footings for exterior door stoops

Postby David Swan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:56 pm

The 2006 IRC does address this issue in R403.1.4.1 Frost Protection. “Except where otherwise protected from frost, foundation walls, piers, and other permanent supports of buildings and structures shall be protected from frost by one or more of the following methods…”
It may also be required by a municipality’s ordinances.

You can find it in a backward way Chapter 1300.0120 PERMITS. Subp. 4. Work exempt from permit. Item A, (7): in “decks and platforms not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade and not attached to a structure with frost footings and which is not part of an accessible route;…”

In the IBC Section 1805.2.1. is amended to read as follows:
[b]1805.2.1 Frost protection.[/b] "Except where otherwise protected from frost, foundation walls, piers, and other permanent supports of buildings and structures shall be protected from frost by one or more of the following methods…”

Others believe it is unequivocally required in the "cuz" code.
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Re: Footings for exterior door stoops

Postby Paul H. » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:33 am

Sorry, but I am going to disagree with Mr. Swan here. I believe the code sections you refer to imply/say nothing about exterior stoop footing/frost protection being required. This said, I have to admit that the issue has alway been a thorn in my side. I firmly believe you must install a frost footing at primary exterior exit doors. But there are many examples where I don't think it is necessary. On a dwelling for example, you may have sliders or atrium doors that are not required "exits." Will they need frost protection at their stoops? Do they even need exterior stoops if they are not a required exit? On a pole shed, do you require an exterior stoop with a frost footing? There are probably many-many exterior doors (required or not) from big box warehouse facilities that do not have frost footings at all their exterior stoops too.
If you take the wording of the code sections you reference (like I believe you are), you would then also be required to provide a frost footing all the way along an exterior "exit access system" - to the public way. The code however, does not intend for this to be required.
Now that I've made some form of argument for no specific code requirements, I will admit that I generally require a frost footing at most primary exterior exit landings. ....Not all though. Maybe it is the "cuz" rule." Personally, I do not require them on most pole sheds. I do not require them on most small utility buildings. I do not require them on some facilities where they pave (asphalt) to the building exit door. In some instances, I/we allow dirt to be used as the exterior landing (level class V dirt). I personally believe this is acceptable in some cases,... Again, not all though. Thus, my personal application of the "cuz" rule.
We've debated this issue (nationally and at the state level) for many years. I've even tried to write a code change to clarify this, but after doing so, I've determined the "cuz" rule works better, so I withdrew it. Ultimately, I believe Architects/Engineers and most builders are aware of the potential issues when frost footings are not installed, so most do it anyhow. I also believe a code official can make a legitimate argument (with implied code references) to show that they can require it - or to show that it is not required. I have no good answer on this one. ....It's just CUZ!
Sorry.
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