Exactly two weeks ago, I asked, ‘Is Chester Hotel on Hold?’ It was meant to be an innocent question based on a casual observation of seeing no work being done during the past few times I had rode by.

Needless to say, the post stirred up some feelings.

Here’s the photo from 2 weeks ago. I was told because of rain, roof work and exterior siding work couldn’t be done.
Here’s a photo from yesterday. I guess I’ll be hearing a new story on construction progress

A few locals commented they don’t know of any laborers or contractors from Chester being employed on the site. I can’t deny or confirm such statement since I haven’t see anyone working, lately.

The other observation I made was the stairways were made of wood. I’m used to seeing cinderblock or concrete.

Here’s a photo of a building going up at the Granite Run Mall site that looks residential and has the cinder block stair case

This observation really ticked off somebody. I received a phone call telling me I was ruining their reputation and if local officials approved wooden staircases, it’s all good. They said they’d call back for some reason or another, but they didn’t. And then, there was this juicy comment…

Maybe you should “study up” on fire codes and electrical codes before you make a scandalous statement. Know that adequate fire protections can and are achieved in wood frame structures. And that the permanent roofing must be in place before interior wiring starts. Passed by this morning and roof was going on, windows in, and exterior finishes started…Need something to complain about much??

I just don’t happen to have a fire code or electrical code book laying around anywhere, but I did make an attempt to research wooden staircases construction in commercial buildings. It would have been a lot easier if the commenter had provided those codes since they already know the regulations, but I did give it a try.

As you can imagine, there are codes galore out there, so it’s difficult to pin down which code goes with which type of construction. And then each jurisdiction has their own codes. The nature of the written codes are often ambiguous and often only offer a guideline to design and construction. It usually does come down to what local officials allow and approve.

I did scan through some forums on the issue of wooden stairs in commercial buildings. I couldn’t find anyone that asked about full wooden stair cases in hotels, but I did learn that the guidelines staircases has to comply with address time of protection. In my mind, cinder block would protect longer than wood, but who am I to say.

There was one comment in the forums that was quite noteworthy. Although a few people wrote that they’d never use wood, one guy wrote that you have to consider these are the same staircases the firefighters have to climb to fight a fire and save a life. He wouldn’t risk it.