B.L. from Lenawee County, Michigan writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a deck rail post blocking a bedroom window exactly in the middle. Firefighter would not be able to access this room through that window because of the post that blocks the entry. There is another window in the room 24-26″ wide and much higher off the ground. Is this a code violation? The deck is a limited common element and maintained, repaired, and replaced by the association. Who is responsible for bringing common elements or limited common elements up to code? How does a board plan for these updates in the code and make sure the co-owner and the condo association is protected?
Mister Condo replies:
B.L., I would have no way of knowing if a local building code is being violated by the placement of a deck rail post. That is a question for your local building inspector. Typically, when the property was built, everything was to code and would likely be grandfathered as long as it was to code when built. That being said, you can contact the building inspector or look online at your city’s building code to see what the current code says about Deck posts and emergency egress from a building. Alerting your Board to the problem is my recommendation. Unless yours is the only unit affected by this design, they may wish to tackle the project because of the potential safety issue you have cited. They may also do nothing as the deck post has been in place for quite some time and hasn’t been a problem for the association. It never hurts to ask. All the best!