As a building inspection engineer I have performed many home inspections on old historical homes.  I have found some interesting things in attic spaces and crawl ways over the last 30 years and I have always been worried I would find a body or remains, but I never have.  This week in Houston remains were found in a concealed wall space visible from the attic which are believed to be the remains of a previous tenant.  Identification and cause of death are to be determined by the coroner’s office.

The remains which were found were discovered by a new tenant moving into the building who was storing items in the attic space which brings to mine some safety concerns in general.

  • Attic typically are not intended for storage, or much storage.  The decking in attic spaces is normally intended as service walkway to inspect the attic and gain safe access to the mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Attics are dangerous places.  Step in the wrong place an you may fall to your injury or death.  In the summer temperatures in attic spaces can well exceed 100 degree F. which can be deadly for any prolonged period of time.  Even building inspectors can only spend short periods of time in the attic in the summer.
  • Don’t go into a concealed attic space or crawlspace when you are home alone.  When you enter a concealed space like an attic tell someone where you are going.  Have them check on you if you don’t check in.  If not they may never find you if you have an accident or medical emergency.
  • Most access ladders to attics have a maximum load rating.  Know the rating before you carry heavy items into an attic, and be careful about storing heavy items over a ceiling span in an older home which could result in damage to the ceiling.

Remember to be safe when working in and around your home.

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