Local Building Codes


By accident I learned that my municipality's building codes require that I obtain a building permit (with payment and inspection) for the following activities, even when they are performed by appropriately licensed contractors or tradesmen:
1. Replacing a water heater with an identical unit 2. Installing a ceiling fan 3. Replacing an HVAC unit 4. Adding gas logs in a fireplace
Maybe I'm out of touch, but the water heater requirement seems ludicrous. It is such a trivial matter to replace one. (I did not get a permit that last time I replaced one since I didn't know it was required.)
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On 1/24/2010 3:05 PM mcp6453 spake thus:

Easy solution: just replace it and don't tell anyone about it. What they don't know can't hurt you. (This works in all cases except those where an inspector is likely to be on the premises, like during a remodel, and may spot the new heater or fireplace.)
That's what everyone else I know does.
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Mostly it is just a source of revenue for them.
You and I do disagree though. The potential to screw up a water heater install would be the greater risk.
How many have I seen without a proper pop off discharge. To cold to take my shoes off and continue the count.
Colbyt
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Many codes are bs but some for a better purpose, keeping inocent folks safe from hacks, we had a well known plumber install a water heater and did not use screws on the exauhast pipe, it fell down years later and they refused to fix it. Ive heard of alot of stories like roofing, boilers, furnaces, that were done be hacks and the home owner was screwed. For many jobs they are great and you dont pay until its inspected, often the inspector saves you money in the long run finding faults. My ACs 120v wires shake in the conduit on startup, I bet an inspector would have made them use the proper gauge wiring, I mean I can hear them rattle when the condensor kicks in, I should have gotten a permit, the insstaler said it was fine.
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mcp6453 wrote:

I would think that installing a ceiling fan is even easier, but then again, I tend to be more comfortable with electricity than with gas.
nate
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On 1/24/2010 16:28, Nate Nagel wrote:

The electrical connection is just one of the potential safety risks when installing a ceiling fan. It must be attached to the structure more securely than a standard lighting fixture, and there must be adequate head clearance.
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Bob wrote:

Well, sure, but it ain't rocket surgery. I mean, even the guys at That Orange Colored Store can point you directly towards the fan-rated ceiling boxes, and if you're dumb enough to put a ceiling fan on a 7 foot ceiling...
nate
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On 1/24/2010 16:53, Nate Nagel wrote in response to a discussion regarding the requirement for a building permit to install a ceiling fan:

Most likely, someone complained to city hall after visiting a shorter person's home and getting clubbed by a fan. Then the town saw another revenue source and the rest is history.
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Because the ceiling fan is heavy and because it vibrates at it moves installing it should be left to someone who knows what they are doing. It is worth the money imo to have it inspected as well. You do not want it to come crashing down on-top of anyone or anything. Small price to pay for a piece of mind.
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wrote:

a simple 1 lb bedroom fixture is a VERY BAD IDEA. Hense the permit and inspection.
Not saying I think it is right.
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They are probably talking about a gas water heater.
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Installing an identical gas unit identicially can be a bad install. For instance, areas like where I am now require a new install gas water heater to have a specific flame box if it's to sit on the floor or be on a pedistal xx" off the ground.
Then there's the fact that some jaboni could use the wrong thread tape or vent it goofy and kill people.

People like to attach them to whatever box is in the ceiling be it plastic, broken, nailed, etc. Things get nasty when it falls while spinning on to the bed...where the baby was put for a second. Besides, most guys don't want a ceiling fan ripping into their ass when they were having such a good time :-)

Lots of room for a Bozo to do potentially deadly things with electrical and/or gas connections. Then there's less obvious requirements such as here where a 110 Outdoor GFCI must be within xx feet of any outdoor unit which makes sure any service people have protected power available.

Here you have gas connections with nearby flame, inside, as well as the potential of oxygen depletion or poisoning if sized/vented wrong.
I'm not saying a lot of inspection/permit requirements are just revenue generation and job security. It's just that they can't just make them required for idiots only. Some people honestly believe if they can get something installed then it must be right.
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Aren't most of them over on alt.hvac, circle-jerking each other while drinking beer?
A good way to tell is to offer the contractor a 6 pack for the job -- if he accepts, he's from alt.hvac.
--
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Then there's less obvious requirements such as
> here where a 110 Outdoor GFCI must be within xx feet of any outdoor unit
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I'm not much of a beer drinker, but if there is going to be a circle jerk, count me in!
"I don't really have a replacement career, it's a very gnawing thing."
Bob Morein (215) 646-4894
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The middle?
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If you are installing everything to the latest codes, then no problem, the inspector will come over and pass everything. Then if there is a problem, there will not be a problem with your insurance company because everything was installed to code and passed inspection!
If something does not pass inspection, then good! The inspector will be pointing out something you should do to make the installation safe or protect your property from fire/flooding damage or protect the lives of the people in your family.
That's why they have building codes in the first place. Someone dies in a fire, a home gets flooded, a water heater explodes and causes all sorts of damage, someone gets electrocuted, etc. Then there is public outrage to "do something" so these tragedies will not happen again.
Well they did something, then made building codes and hired inspectors.
Water heater explodes... http://www.seattlepi.com/local/33094_boom28.shtml
Water heater fumes kill man... http://articles.latimes.com/1988-04-02/local/me-618_1_dead-man
Electrocuted when ungrounded water heater shorted... http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008700574_shock03.html
Man electrocuted when a ceiling fan fell on him... http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/man-electrocuted-in-delhi_10062900.html
Flood-Damaged HVAC systems can cause explosions or fire... http://www.prlog.org/10353330-flooddamaged-heating-and-air-conditioning-systems-can-cause-explosions-or-fire.html
Etc., etc., etc...
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P.S. My local building inspection office is *losing* money. (Costs a bit more to operate than it brings in with fees.) It is a public service.
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Homeowner handiwork examples... (What home inspectors find....)
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 47
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 61
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 03
http://www.ashireporter.org/photos/thumbnails/2008_11/outlet.jpg
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?idS7
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 02
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 2
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 38
http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id 40
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If you'll let me know who you are, and where you're at, I'll contact your local building department and make an inquiry on your behalf.
"I don't really have a replacement career, it's a very gnawing thing."
Bob Morein (215) 646-4894
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mcp6453 wrote:

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I'll bet you tore the tag off your mattress too. The SWAT team is on its way to you now, don't resist or they'll TASER you. If you are thinking of resisting with violence, just remember, they have machine guns. We just picked up an electrical permit for a small job we have tomorrow and I'll bet an inspector never shows up.
TDD
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