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California Question!!

 
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:00 AM   #1
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California Question!!


Sparkies...

This is not really an electrical question, but it is likely an issue that a Ca sparkie has run into and knows. Plus, no one else has been able to answer it.

Quick background, I'm a Colorado GC helping my son do an addition on his "new" (1949 build- 800sqft California home). California code/procedures is eating my lunch.

We are ready to set a new main/meter panel. It will be a standard surface (not recessed or as they refer out here not semi-flush) mount.

Because of our 3-5 foot distance from the property line and Ca fire code, our garage wall assembly will have 5/8 sheetrock on BOTH sides. (The assembly from inside out is rock-framing-osb sheathing-rock-felt-siding... honest for out of state pro's, I'm not confused.)

Because of timing and logistics and expense, we want/need to set our main on the osb sheathing... but we don't know if this will violate the fire code of Ca and we will be required to wait and set it on the sheetrock.


MY QUESTION: Has anyone with Ca knowledge know weather the panel set on the sheathing will violate the Ca building/fire codes... or are we required to set the main panel on the rock.

This may seem an obvious question for our BO... but quite honestly he's not too cooperative and is asserting we need to set a temp pole (at a rather significant cost ) and we want to present a legitimate alternative to his supervisor, but need to know if we have to be sheetrocked before we do.

Thanks for any practical advice from an experienced Ca knowledgeable pro.

Peter
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:05 AM   #2
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Re: California Question!!


I can't swear to it, but I think you will have to be on the SR. Can you ask your inspector?

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Old 11-19-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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Re: California Question!!


Griz... Thanks for the direction, maybe we do ... just hopeing we don't.

You're exactly right, we should be able to ask a legitimate question of a paid public official, but this guy is "do it my way or the highway" and will not seem to discuss anything. Because he only knows "temp pole" (and our utility says everyone just does a "perment location temp service" which we want to do) we think we will have to escalate the issue and feel we need to know this question before we go to his super. But thank you for your thoughts.

Peter
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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Re: California Question!!


Is this in one of the high fire areas? Area 4 ? Where I'm at in the So Calif mountains I recently did a garage with a recessed panel. The garage was Stucco exterior, 5/8 rock inside. I'm almost sure I could have mounted it on the shear wall with stucco around it. I can't see what would be the difference between this and your situation. I know they are getting very picky. The soffit was stucco, tempered glass windows (for fire, not safety) ect.... Ask your inspector. Here in LA County the Fire Dept has an office with Building and Safety, ask them.

Are you trying to save from using a temp power pole? Unlike other parts of the country ( Arizona would let me do it) They will not let you hook up power until final.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #5
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Re: California Question!!


Yes... I agree this is virtually similar to your stucco build. I can't see why we can't do this... but the BO seems to just want a temp pole and won't discuss it.

To explain further, yes we want to save a temp pole for several reasons.

We currently have overhead which is servicing the original home which we are living in. The overhead is blocking/obstructing our second story of the addition.

We have underground lateral conduit installed and ready to pull a service line to the new main.

The first floor addition is sheathed with second story flooring in place. It is relatively dry and at worst a potentially damp location if it rains.

We just want to set the new main/meter, and run 6 circuts through the enclosed first floor and splice into the existing circuts to maintain house service. We pull our construction power from our existing service.

We don't want a rough, let alone a final, inspection for the addition, as we don't even have the second story framed.

We don't want a "temp" pole for several reasons:

1) Logistics... There is no way overhead from the temp will not obstruct further building. Ground wiring into our old main (which is crap and will be aboned and not made a sub panel) is assinine and costly and just a location safty hazard.

2) Our current main panel, besides crap, is also obstructing the new build and we need to remove it and its wall

3) A temp pole will be about $1500 cost paid to the utility, besides a safety hinderence to building, and how the hell do I wire in a temp pole to supply this homes current six circuts.!!!!

Actually, we're planning on setting our main this weekend, and then escalating this issue to the BO officials. (at worst, we'll take it out) I just don't want to look ignorent to the super as to whether I have to set the main on a piece of sheetrock, or just set it to the osb sheathing. I can't ask the question, because the first BO just blanket says we need a temp pole, regardless of the issues. (Quite honestly, I think..know... he is perhaps not too knowledgabe/competant and just afraid to discuss and reason an issue, so he just says "you need a temp pole". He's probably not a bad guy, probably just afraid of displaying his lack of knowledge and worried about keeping his job. Just my guess from previous experience with him.)

Thank you again for your best thoughts from a Colorado kid

Peter
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:36 AM   #6
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Re: California Question!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
You're exactly right, we should be able to ask a legitimate question of a paid public official, but this guy is "do it my way or the highway" and will not seem to discuss anything.
You're right, you SHOULD be able to ask relevant questions of a civic functionary without repercussion. As you're finding out, there are a good number of those functionaries that have a bit of a Napoleon complex. The way around such individuals is to go around or over them. When I've had a particularly bad instance with an inspector, I call and request another inspector. If I've had a good inspector on a job I'll call and specifically ask for them to return. You should also be able to call the AHJ office and ask one of the functionaries behind the desk what the code regs are for your situation, if they say to refer to your inspector tell them that the inspector has not been forthcoming with information to help the construction process proceed.

I assume that you're doing the electrical yourself, or your electrician could weigh in on the matter. That being said, I'm willing to bet that a few phone calls to local electricians in your building jurisdiction will be more than willing to assist you with the correct answer. I say within your jurisdiction because, as I'm sure you know, codes change from city to city, county to county, state to state.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:55 AM   #7
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Re: California Question!!


the surface mounted box is heavy gauge steel, the fire rating is at least 4 times the 1 hr fire rating of 5/8" gyp board.
i see some inspectors get annoyed with too many questions. it makes them think you don't know what you're doing. there are ways to find out, then build to code. they are not there to teach you how to build. only to enforce the code you should already know and adhereing to.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: California Question!!


I asked my Electrical Contractor friend and he said the service & meter must be mounted on top of the sheetrock. Good Luck.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:09 PM   #9
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Re: California Question!!


Here in NM the panel would be required to be mounted on top of a finished surface, not sheathing. Though the homes are stucco, typically we install a board (or multiple boards) or a piece of siding behind the panel then butt the stucco to the siding/boards.

Here, that Firewall would be required to be continuously rated so the sheetrock would be required. It might pass if the manufacturer had the engineered fire rating and it was listed but that just isn't going to happen.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:37 PM   #10
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Re: California Question!!


Griz and Thom have it right for California requirements. You can mount it on the finished surface as long as the 5/8" drywall is underneath it. Type X of course fire taped.

No electrical panels that I know of have a rating for fire resistance, no official rating then no fire resistance. That is Kalifornia.

Andy.
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:10 AM   #11
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Re: California Question!!


Griz, Andy, Thom and everyone

Genuine thanks for your input and advice.

Consistant with your advice and speaking with everyone local that we could, I think you are all correct.

We have a tentative approval that we can set the main panel at this stage, (from the BO supers boss), so we are going to proceed and throw up a sheet of 5/8 rock, some felt (and propbably some temporary plastic to protect from the immediate coming rain) and set the panel and rough it in.
We expect it will meet approval on Monday.

By the way, regardless of expense and time, does it bother anyone else that we are putting sheetrock on the exterior (I agree as to firecode effectiveness)... but regardless of some felt or wrap protecting it, are not we jeopardizing it to normal moisture invasion and eventual rot/mold/and mildew.????

There really isn't another option to create a two one-hour assembly is there. I guess Hardyboard doesn't help, our architect knew of nothing... has anyone found or heard of a more feasable alternative to this assembly????

Best Regards

Peter

Andy and Thom...BTW We checked with SqD and CutlerHamer and neither of them rate a main panel for fire resistance... even though it might be heavy guage metal. You and Thom are exactly right-on.

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Last edited by MTN REMODEL LLC; 11-20-2010 at 12:15 AM. Reason: Additional thought
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