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duane, Carpenter
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 32
Experience:  carpenter for 15 yrs ? 10 years own business
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I understand that generally code requires railings that are

Customer Question

I understand that generally code requires railings for decks that are 30 inches or more higher than the surrounding area, but I can't find anything that states what is generally accepted as a definition of the surrounding area. We are planning a L shaped deck that is about 48" above a concrete and paver hardscape. One edge will be against a 8 ft fence so no rail necessary, one edge will have standard guardrails. However along the inside of the L We'd like to not have guardrails where not necessary. One side will have a standard size countertop all along the edge of the deck (24 inches deep, 36 high), and in inside corner of the L there will be a 48" square built in gas sand firepit that is about 30 inches above the concrete with a cover built of solid decking (built solid so meets same structural requirements as normal deck (essentially it's a lower tier of deck where the decking lifts up to reveal a sand firepit underneath). So point is both of these, counter and firepit cover, are less than 30 inches below the deck level. If you were to slip off the deck you would fall 12 inches to the counter or 18 to the lower deck/firepit tier. Going by the letter of the code no guardrail on the deck would be needed for those sections. In the real world however I'm guessing it's up to the interpretation of the city inspector. Does anyone have any input on whether this might fly with them, have done something like this before, or tips how to position it with them to make it ok? Even better if your input has to do with San Francisco Bay Area inspectors, Oakland in particular.
Let me know if you need more info or if my description wasn't clear. I attached a quick drawing. Thanks for the feedback!
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  duane replied 4 months ago.

Hello thank you for using just answer i am Duane, i will be helping you today. when i am finished if you need futher assistance, just respond back and i will respond to you

well you are on rote path i dont know to san frn area but in portland area i have had lots of these situatons like this most inspectors i have delt with here are very reasonable because they know that if push comes to shove on something like this you will just put up flimsy rail till final inspection then tear down anyway ha ha lol but in my time on this any large enough area that brings up hieght then i have always been good only time i was not was when i tried to just do one litte row of blocks to get hieght down but i was forced to widen area to 3 feet wide to make inspector happy but from your drawings i would bet that you will be fine .. but i sugesst going into city or county who ever has jurishdiction ?? to just try get a counter look we call it from a plans examiner and that will red flag it to know ahead and it always helps to bite the tonge while inspectors are on job as long as they think they atre totaly in charge lol so to speak but i would just approch city /county on it first but i bet you are good looks like nice layout to me

Thank you for using Just Answer any further help needed just respond and i will respond back
please leave a good rating .For that is only way that i can get compensated for my time. Thank You Duane

Expert:  duane replied 4 months ago.

hi just a follow up did you get a chance to go to counter at building department for a plans ezaminer to glance at project that is realy only way to know for sure ty good looking idea

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