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Building Inspection Melbourne Evaluates Firewalls

The home inspection industry abides by governmental Standards of Practice that stipulate what an inspector must do and what he is not required to do. These are more objective than subjective with not much room for interpretation. Furthermore, an inspection is explicitly not an evaluation of compliance with building codes, although building inspections Melbourne northern suburbs standards and building codes often coincide.

But in the case of fire protection, true objectivity is virtually unobtainable and the home inspector is largely forced to orient his assessment around the building code. The dual purpose of a firewall is to isolate exhaust fumes to the garage and to keep any fires that start in the garage from spreading too rapidly into living spaces. The purported way to achieve this is through specifications regarding pedestrian doors between garage and house and drywall thickness.

Inspection standards require inspecting “fire separation” between house and garage, meaning that fire spreading should be delayed by at least one or two hours. This is considered adequate time for occupants, including children, to evacuate. The interesting and somewhat complicating aspect about the building inspections Melbourne review requirement is that the time delay must be valid regardless of the path the fire takes. Direct paths comprise windows and doors, while indirect paths consist of burning through ceilings and walls and/or traveling across attics.

Thus, the home inspection service standards are closely aligned with the abstract purpose of protecting residents from the dangers of fire and asphyxiation. However, the inspector cannot really measure or evaluate fire separation through simple examination. He has to investigate the various avenues fire and gases might use to go from garage to house and then fall back on building code specifications to judge whether or not sufficient time delay is probable in all cases. In other words, the inspection of firewalls boils down mostly to examining pedestrian doors between garage and house (a direct path) and the thickness of drywall attached to garage ceiling and walls (indirect paths).

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