RE: Is the Common House a Public Building?
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 23:28:02 -0800 (PST)
In the development of our permit for our commonhouse at Sharingwood we had a
good conversation with the permitting folks. The primary question that
determined our permit was: Will you EVER open this building up for use by
people who are NOT members of your condo. Since the answer to that was of
course yes, then we went down the path of figuring out what KIND of public
building we were, and we ending up with sort of a custom permit, a mix
between a church building and a condo association club house. The primary
requirements of this were, 1 handicap bathroom, panic hardware on the doors
(which we curcumvented by having no door latches at all, just push bars),
battery backup exit signs on two doors,  and some issue about stair tread
height which caused us to rebuild a set of a dozen steps.  We talked them
out of commercial kitchen requirements, commercial roof drainage
requirements, and a few other things.  The permit people were delighted and
surprised by our collaborative process with them. We setup two meetings,
including the department lead inspector, talked clearly and fairly, and
worked things out to the satisfaction of all.  About two years later, Dale,
the local inspector came out to tour the neighborhood with the new building
inspector trainee guy and of course they got invited in for a cup of coffee
and a chat. As Dale left, he sighed and said to the new guy, this is the
kind of place we should all learn from.

So if you find yourselves struggling with the powers that be, maybe you
might try using the same collaborative approach you use amoung yourselves to
work with them.

Rob Sandelin

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