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» ICC Bulletin Board » Code Chat » Building and Residential Codes -- Non-Structural Issues » Curb Height

   
Author Topic: Curb Height
ArcSol
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Would anyone be good enough to offer their opinion on this?

New retail strip center with perpendicular parking abutting the concrete walkway that runs along the front of the stores. The parking lot curb height is 6" in most locations, but in front of a couple of units, the curb height is as much as 12"

People going from their cars to the units in question have to step up onto this 12" curb when entering and exiting the parking lot.

Does this qualify as a step, in which case it could not be higher than 7"?

The owner might argue that people can step up 20 feet away in either direction, where the curb height is lower - or at the ADA accessible route, which is compliant. The IBC allows a walking surface up to 30" above an adjacent surface without a guardrail. Realistically, this curb will be used as a step, so I don't know if this passes the laugh test, but I am hard pressed to see specifically where this condition would be prohibited. Any thoughts?

Posts: 20 | From: MD | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Mark Randall
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Sounds like bad design, but I would say it is not against code. No one says you have to step up at the curb you park closest to (even though people will).
I like to use examples: I can think of one project (not my design) where the entries in the shops of the strip mall are 2-3 feet above the parking level (they did have railings) and to access you have to walk through the drive aisle to one end or the other of the strip mall and walk up stairs or a ramp. It wasn't the best design, but I don't think the site was an easy one to work with.

[ 01-20-2009, 02:06 PM: Message edited by: Mark Randall ]

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genebko
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I agree with Mark. If the drop off was 30 inches you'd need a guard. Because it's less there is no guard required. If people want to get off the curb at that location that's their option.

There is a real potential for liability with the design having that much of a drop off (and a varying one) but there is nothing in the code that woudl prohibit it.

If you're a part of the design team, I'd go back and check the construction documents to see if the constructed curb/parking lot meets the design plans and specs.

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"We are the people our parents warned us about" - Jimmy Buffett

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kynas
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I would not touch this one with a ten foot pole, less safe step that is code compliant, since it is not a step. You make them lower the curb and then a car pops over the curb killing 3, your name added to law suit, your municipality added to law suit. No thanks

Good luck Joe

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D a v e
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Up isn't the problem, it's a person stepping down that distance. Elderly person steps down and falls, breaks hip, arm, face we all know the rest. Why can't the curb be lower to match the rest of the length? Safer than the other scenario. Just my thoughts. [Razz]

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D a v e - Washington State - Have a Great Day - If we build to the code minimum we have built the worst building legally possible!

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Mark Randall
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Up, Down...the code makes no distinction on direction, so still not against code.

I do think there's potential for liability on this. I see ArcSol is an architect and hasn't responded with any additional information. I'll assume for a minute that ArcSol is the architect of record and that he didn't design the 1 foot situation and it is just the way construction ended up. If that's the case, I'd be writing a nice little CYA letter to the owner recommending the situation be corrected because of potential falling hazards. Unfortunately, you can't use the code for reasoning.

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vodka1
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I know this is not Maryland code, but the California Requirement (2007 CBC 1133B.8.1)is a 6" high warning curb is required anytime the drop off exceeds 4" (EXCEPT between a walk or sidewalk and an adjacent driveway - NOT parking area.

Jay - California

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genebko
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I can never find the AIA standard CYA letters in their book of standards forms. What letter designation should it be - BS-101?

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"We are the people our parents warned us about" - Jimmy Buffett

Posts: 1067 | From: Saint Louis, MO | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
ArcSol
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I appreciate all of the input. I agree that it is a potentially hazardous condition, and have recommended that they simply adjust the paving with a little more asphalt to correct it. The original owner (my client) no longer owns the property, and obviously nobody wants to volunteer to pay for the correction. But sometimes pointing out how much less that would cost than even a few hours worth of legal fees, much less a potential judgment against the owner for someone's injury, is enough to be persuasive.

More often than not, potentially hazardous conditions are also code violations. This doesn't seem to be one of those cases.

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thelunatick1
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Code deals with buildings and path along the 3 part approach to exiting the building.
I don't believe chapter 10 has any bearing on the curb, unless is part of the egressible route.

Accessibility? Sound litigous to me.

two points

Point 1

Some smaller communities may get a waver for a high curb conditions as described.

But in this instance. would suggest you do all you can to have the curb height maintain a constant 6".

Now on the slope of the lot, only where accessibilty is an issue is where the surface slope/cross slope comes into factor.

Point 2 (roughed out idea)
Cars are not going to be able to overhang a curb greater than 6 inches without scrapping all of that nice cowlings under that front bumper. The owner will likely have someone in a BMW sue him for damages, etc.

Thus, why not step the condition and split the rise of 12 inch into two 6's. Typically about a 2 foot overhang is permitted in head in parking. why not do about a 3 foot and use this to split the difference.

[ 01-28-2009, 09:25 AM: Message edited by: thelunatick1 ]

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foensiceng
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Has anyone else run across any more on this subject? My project has a city detail drawing for a "header curb of 6" height. Thats essentially what this would be. While one of its purposes is to block cars from striking the Bldg. It also channels water for parking lot water flow.

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Don

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Coug Dad
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In many cities, parking issues are regulated under the zoning or land use code. The parking criteria may set a maximum curb height.
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Artist
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Accessible Means of Egress and Exit Discharge, among others, are defined terms that require an approved path of travel is maintained until arriving at the public way. The Public Way is also a defined term; land that is owned or deeded to the public for public use. Therefore if the curb is located on private property it would be subject to the provisions of the IBC.
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