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Mechanical Room Safety and Storage


cjacob's Avatar
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02-16-13, 06:17 AM   #1  
Mechanical Room Safety and Storage

I have a mechanical room located off of an upstairs bonus room. It is accessed through a pocket door from the bonus room. This is a new house construction. The room can be accessed by anyone including children. The door has no lock. The builder says they do not need to do anything with the room and I'm saying it is a safety issue because anyone (including children) can enter the mechanical room and fall through the the rafters to the lower floor. Here is a video I posted on You Tube: Mechanical Room off of the Bonus Room - YouTube

1) Is this a safety issue the builder needs to address at their cost?
2) Short of putting a dead bolt on the door can this room be boarded up (nothing fancy)? I'm thinking it could be boarded up to about 8" from the top (to allow for ventilation). The HVAC is located in this room and we live in central Florida. If the room can be boarded up what is the best way? Is my idea sound? It would be a great storage room and provide much more safety.

Thanks, Charley

 
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02-16-13, 06:58 AM   #2  
1)In my opinion, no. A far as I know, there is no requirement to restrict access to any rooms in a dwelling.

This room should not be boarded up as it needs to be accessed for service of the equipment of this room. Your door is not a pocket door, it is a standard door. Why not just change the hardware to a keyed knob/handle to restrict access to this room? Should cost $40 tops and take about 10 mins to install. A deadbolt is also an option as well, but is overkill in my opinion.


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02-16-13, 07:05 AM   #3  
Agreed....a keyed interior lockset is all you need. Can probably find it to match the style you have.


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02-16-13, 07:10 AM   #4  
What the others have said. Additionally, this door needs enlarging. There is no way to remove an air handler for replacement through an 18 to 24" door opening. Ask your builder about that. If during your homeowner warranty period, it is necessary for him to remove the air handler, how does he propose to do it?

 
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02-16-13, 07:16 AM   #5  
Larry.....they have to do it in pieces. My last neighborhood...all the equipment was in the attic. Accessible only through a 22" x 42" scuttle in my place. In the ranchers it was an even smaller access through the top of a closet.


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02-16-13, 07:52 AM   #6  
Thanks all for the reply. I did not mean to board up the entrance. I ment to board up the virticle inside to about 8" before the rafters. From the floor up....this way no accidental slips and I can also use it as storage placing boxes or whatever against the virticle boards. Does this make sense?

 
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02-16-13, 09:19 AM   #7  
Looks more like an 18" door to me, even worse. Yes you could wall off the un-floored area but you should leave an adequate means of access should yo need to work on plumbing or electrical in that area. Also you need to insure adequate makeup air for any gas fired appliances.

P.S. Around here we just call that an attic and I didn't see a bonus room, just a hallway to an attic.


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02-16-13, 10:49 AM   #8  
I just measured the width. It is 20". The entrance is from the bonus room, not a hallway. Thanks for the advice.

 
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02-16-13, 10:58 AM   #9  
I just measured the width. It is 20"
Then I'd suggest you install a 32" door.


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02-16-13, 02:12 PM   #10  
I ment to board up the virticle inside to about 8" before the rafters. From the floor up....this way no accidental slips and I can also use it as storage placing boxes or whatever against the virticle boards. Does this make sense?
Yes, that does make sense and I like the idea. I would go a little higher with something that is easily divided into a sheet good. 16" (3 out of a sheet) or 24" (2 out of a sheet) would work well.


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02-16-13, 02:21 PM   #11  
Back in VA bonus rooms were normally the space above a garage. Rarely finished by the builder and not heated or cooled. You had a floor, but no sheetrock. Sometimes they would have a single window. Normally the access to the bonus room was through a normal sized door of 28" or so, so it sort of looked like it led to a closet or 1/2 bath.

What you call a bonus room we would have just called a loft. Different terms for different areas.


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