Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Party Hearty

We home inspectors look for the party every chance we get. Not the party-party as in wild women, whiskey and song. Okay, some of us look for that. But when we inspect condos and multi-unit living facilities we look for a party wall between units. That is a relatively modern, in the realm of a lifetime, safety feature so if a fire starts in one unit, while it might travel, it is slowed down by the wall.

You are wisely thinking "but wood is flammable". True, but the idea is to block the area off so roof ventilation from the other units does not "draw" the fire. Think about it, roof ventilation, to a fire, is like a chimney. The party wall at this new condo is at the right side of the photo. In older units, 20 or so years back, access to one attic hatch often lets a person in above every single unit. In fact, if there is more than one hatch, that can allow someone in the attic easy access down into places he or she should not be. That can actually be a security and privacy concern. Hollywood has played that one up more than once in movies.


bellingham wa home inspector, king of the house


Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 







Comment balloon 4 commentsSteven L. Smith • August 17 2008 10:19AM


HHHmmm, Looks like it has been snowing in that atic also. What pretty white ITCHY stuff!!

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) almost 12 years ago

I can see the value of this.  I saw condos being built and they did have access from one to the other attic wise.  I didn't like the idea.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

so what do you look for when you see a 'party wall'?  interesting to note - i've seen the attic access and asked ab out that - and have been told it has to be there in strata developments so firemen can get there if theres a fire and there are concerns about it spreading...hmm?

Posted by Liz Moras Migic, Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor almost 12 years ago

Liz, in new places -- many old ones do not have them -- it should look much like the photo. It should go floor to ceiling and not have holes in it.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago