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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long story, but should be easy AND entertaining if I explain it properly.

I take a job in a house where the HO wants me to install three custom built exterior doors in his den where there are currently three existing windows. Currently in the area outside of this den is his gas furnace/ac unit, as well as the gas meter and a 3/4" gas line attched to the exterior wall. His current (but very old) system replaced a furnace in the basement many years ago and the contractor just ran new duct work up and out to the new unit never changing the duct work in the rest of the house.

The HVAC contractor suggests a new high efficiency gas unit (95% efficient) and put it back in the basement and put the condenser on the other side of the house. Great.... sold. The area will be void of the heat and air unit and the whole house does not have to be re-ducted.

Now, the gas company comes over and tells them that moving the meter is very simple if they go to the left side of the house and they won't even charge for the move. This will require about 40' of new 3/4" black pipe installed and then cut into the existing gas pipes in the basement at the same time that the gas company has the gas tuned off. The A/C guy is a friend of mine so he says, hey, no problem, I'll pull the mechanical permit and run the line if you'll help me. He's got to install a new disconnect for his furnace anyway. Great... sold.

In the basement is a gas water heater that's been there forever. The shut off valves for the furnace, the water heater and the range are all in one place. The exhaust for the water heater is vented up and over about 4 feet and exists into a chimney.

The inspector comes over to look at the new furnace and sees that the existing gas line for the range (which has been there for years) is touching the exhaust vent for the water heater. He tells me that it's an "explosion hazard" and needs to be moved. I, of course tell him that it's existing and has nothing to do with what we are doing. He says he's not gonna approve the new gas line unless it's moved. Well, it's 5/8" copper tubing and it's not a big deal, so when we're down there working I just reach up and bend it so that's it's now 8" away from the exhaust pipe. It took about 20 seconds to do that.

The building inspector declines the inspection. I go to his office to get an explanation. "Yea, you moved it but you didn't move it far enough." AGAIN, I remind him that 1. it's existing and has nothing to do with what I'm doing, and 2. I moved it to at least 8" away form the vent. He says he doesn't care, he's not approving the inspection until it's moved farther away because it's still an "explosion hazard" and it's his job to look out for the public interest.

Well, before I went to the inspector's office I called the gas company and their field inspector laughed when I used the term "explosion hazard" and said there was no way that a vent pipe, 4 feet from a water heater could create enough heat to cause an explosion. He said he did however have a problem with it touching because "two dislike metals" could rub and cause a pin hole. Just move it a couple of inches away and it'll be fine. He does say that sometimes inspector want to classify gas lines as "combustable material", and if that was the cse, then it would be 6". He also tells me to have the inspector call him and he'll set the record straight. I already knew I had 8" clear.

Back to the inspector's office.... This guy is an idiot. I've known this in past dealings with him, so I just ask him.. "How much seperation do you want between the pipe and the exhaust vent, and I'll go over and move it." He says it's not his responsibility to tell me how far apart they are supposed to be. I'm the contractor and I should know. Of course that makes no damn sense what so ever, so I throw it back in his face and quote the gas guy. I tell him that I do know, and it's six inches for combustable materilas IF that's how he's treating it. He then tells me that's not enough to make him happy. I'm getting pissed, but he agrees to call the gas company guy. The volume on his office phone is jacked way up so I can hear the whole conversation and I hear the gas guy say six inches.

Well dickhead hangs the phone up, turns to me and says.... a foot and a half... MINIMUM. I say, "Fine, It's tube copper, I'll just go bend it some more." He thens tell me that I've got to hire a mechanical contractor because I'm not qualified or licensed to move a gas line.... LMFAO. You're joking, right? No, he's dead serious. This guy is now just being pure *******.

Can someone please tell me what the minimum seperaion is between a copper gas line and a 4" exhaust pipe for a gas water heater is... and please tell me the exact Code number and paragraph? I live in a very small town and we use the IRC without local modifications, so hopefully one of you guys can point me in the right direction.

Here's something else for your reading pleasure that will contest to the stupidity of this genious building inspector. The new furnace is a 95% efficient unit. It loses so little heat through exhaust, that the exhaust pipe is a 2" PVC not metal. The factory exhaust connection on the unit is a RUBBER 90 degree coupling. The AC guy had vented it out into the same chimney and supported the PVC exhaust pipe overhead with a nylon strap. THIS BRILLIANT inspector told him he couldn't use nylon straps to hold it up the PVC pipe because the nylon could melt. LMFAO again.

Edit: I meant to tell you that I CAN'T get a foot and a half clearance because the gas pipe is between the exhaust vent and a brick wall. Otherwise, I would just move it and be on my merry way.
 

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I live in a very small town and we use the IRC without local modifications, so hopefully one of you guys can point me in the right direction.
I'm thinking if you were smart you would know the correct answer is a foot and a half and a licensed gas fitter will do the job, whether it's in your scope of work or not, you own it
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
He's thinking single wall 6" pipe for an oil burner perhaps at 18"

Gas water heater would be 6" from combustibles.

NFPA 54 should help you find what you're looking for.
You're not answering the question.

I didn't ask "how far should a water heater be from combustibles" I asked how far should a 5/8" gas line be from an exhaust vent (in this case, from a water heater)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm thinking if you were smart you would know the correct answer is a foot and a half and a licensed gas fitter will do the job, whether it's in your scope of work or not, you own it
Well....
#1. No, I don't own it. It's a pre-existing condition in the house that he found that has nothing to do with what I'm doing. When he saw it, I had neither installed it, nor changed it. The permit is to install a new gas line from point A to point B, cap it on both ends, charge it with 20 lbs. of air and have it hold that charge for 24 hours. When the gas company moves the meter, at that point, we'll wreck out the pipe to the old meter and connect to the input side of a union that is already in place.

#2. I trust that the gas company field inspector knows what he's talking but I thought it would be easier to get the specific code # here than calling him back and bothering him since he's already done me a huge favor.

Here's what it boils down to... when walking up the basement stairs in this house, you can see into the crawl space. He sees the dryer vent hanging down loose under the house and tells me that I have to fix it. by running a duct to the outside of the house. Bull****... ain't gonna happen. Don't forget now, this is a permit to install a gas line. So what right does he have to tell me that I have to fix something in the house that has been there forever and has nothing to do with me? Same thing. If I were the GC and this was a new house, then yes, I'm responsible for everything that goes on, but this is a house that was built in 1915 and you could go through on any house of that age and find 1,000 things that don't meet today's code standards, that doesn't mean that anybody working in the house has to address those issues.
 

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It's health and safety. As an example in my area as soon as you pull an electrical permit you are required to make sure the house has hardwire smoke detectors. You maybe replacing a receptacle but once you touch the electrical system it's mandatory to do this upgrade work...it is health and safety plus it's part of the system you are working on, so this is when they get you.

In your case you are touching the gas line, he sees a problem with the gas line in another section but still part of the gas line, that's why I say you own it.

Plus you said small town, this is a perfect example of knowing which fights to pick, this ain't one of them worth your time or future reputation of working in this town with this inspector.

Now, a reasonable customer will understand that there is a problem and if you use the health and safety aspect you can be compensated for this work as it was unforeseen.
 

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It's health and safety. As an example in my area as soon as you pull an electrical permit you are required to make sure the house has hardwire smoke detectors. You maybe replacing a receptacle but once you touch the electrical system it's mandatory to do this upgrade work....
Citation? Or "what you heard"?
 

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I'm thinking if you were smart you would know the correct answer is a foot and a half and a licensed gas fitter will do the job, whether it's in your scope of work or not, you own it
Not so here, if it were every house would have to be rebuilt. In every old house there is something that is not up to code. We are only responsible for the work that we are doing in the rooms that we are working in even if the walls are open. If the walls are open I dont have to fix an electrical problem in an outlet for the next room.

That fact that just because he touched the gas line the entire gas line is tied to him is incorrect, just like if an electrician installed an outlet he is not responsible for the entire electrical system.
 

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rrk said:
Not so here, if it were every house would have to be rebuilt. In every old house there is something that is not up to code. We are only responsible for the work that we are doing in the rooms that we are working in even if the walls are open. If the walls are open I dont have to fix an electrical problem in an outlet for the next room. That fact that just because he touched the gas line the entire gas line is tied to him is incorrect, just like if an electrician installed an outlet he is not responsible for the entire electrical system.
We have the TSSA here, they have the ability to look outside what you think they are inspecting.

Here's one to make you ponder. Builder tears down an old bungalow in Toronto, apples for a permit to build a new massive 2 story house, all approved. Builds house everything is good, TSSA comes and inspects, the next door neighbor has a gas fireplace, vent is too close to the new 2 story house. So, who has the issue? The builder or the existing house? Believe it or not...the existing house is consider the unsafe party and his has gets shut off.
 

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Anti-wingnut said:
Well, a little proof would be in order. Because forcing a contractor and HO to wire in hard-wired smokes when the electrician is there to replace one (1) single faulty receptacle is not believable
Well let's see if Inner10 shows up here, it's not his trade but some of his low voltage falls under that so he can confirm it for you.
 

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Localities have the right to make standards different from the model codes as long as they make them stricter. Life and safety and inspections are different problem. Very often some problems discovered after a disaster can be prevented by not following the "good old way" and different procedures and requirements can be introduced to prevent similar problems.

I had Renewal by Andersen install an custom, over-sized sliding door. The installer was a private, Certified, subcontractor that only does installs (doors only) for Andersen (750 to 800 a year for him). After he did his work, he went though the house and installed a wireless CO/smoke detector in every bedroom that did not have one (He installed 2 in my home). - I asked him why and he said that Andersen pulled and paid for the permit and had to scheduled the completion inspection (their responsibility). This suburb and most others have a similar requirement and that requirement is attached to the permit, since it was just one way to make sure the common problems with lack of sensors could be eliminated/reduced.

When the inspector came 1 hour after the installer left, the inspector scanned the permit and only looked at some exterior caulking and then went through the house to see if the detectors were in place to comply with the code. - He was in and out in less than 5 minutes.

I had the same installer put in another another slider a few months later and he even went around to check the bedrooms again to make sure they were still there. The same inspector came and I asked why there was a requirement and he said it was because there was a wide, common problem of deaths and CO poisoning, so it was a way of eliminating it and the requirement was also tied to some other local code areas that could be related to health/safety and egress and a sliding door is often used as a egress for fire.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Before this thread gets out of hand, a couple of you need to read my first post again.

I stated: "I live in a very small town and we use the IRC without local modifications, so hopefully one of you guys can point me in the right direction."

I'm well aware of local adaptations to the IRC. I live 50 miles from Horry County, SC (a coastal county) Not only are they considered a "High Wind" area, but they have tons of modified local codes to fit their specific geographical situations.

For anyone that knows it or how to look it up... I'm looking strictly at the International Residential Code book. I almost NEVER have to look up code. Maybe twice in ten years. I usually do the same type of work all the time and don't have a need.
 

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Here in most towns where I work that is done when the house is sold. $60 fee building insp comes through to check if extra bedrooms have been added or if double cylinder deadbolts are used in egress doors, another $60 fee fire insp comes through to check CO & smoke det., if missing sometimes charged another $50 for him to come back.

Only other time we have to install detectors in other part of the house is when renovation go over a certain % of sq ft of house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not so here, if it were every house would have to be rebuilt. In every old house there is something that is not up to code. We are only responsible for the work that we are doing in the rooms that we are working in even if the walls are open. If the walls are open I dont have to fix an electrical problem in an outlet for the next room.

That fact that just because he touched the gas line the entire gas line is tied to him is incorrect, just like if an electrician installed an outlet he is not responsible for the entire electrical system.
This is my point too. It's just like him telling me that I needed to fix the dryer vent. For real? That's rediculous.

The inspector did tell me that when I connect the new line in, that everything I've disturbed will have to be tested up to the shut off valves. That's not a problem here because there are three shut off valves and they are all connected together.

Again, I'll say. I don't have a problem following the rules, but don't think you're gonna make up **** as you go and expect me to comply.
 

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Our rehab code requires smoke detectors on each floor minimum. Battery power is acceptable. They don't force anyone to hardwire them unless the size of the renovation or addition exceeds 25% of the floor space.

I poked around the code book and could not find enough info on the gas pipe other than its use in plenums. Perhaps the ignition source of an appliance is his concern.
 

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Well let's see if Inner10 shows up here, it's not his trade but some of his low voltage falls under that so he can confirm it for you.
Half truth.

It's health and safety. As an example in my area as soon as you pull an electrical permit you are required to make sure the house has hardwire smoke detectors. You maybe replacing a receptacle but once you touch the electrical system it's mandatory to do this upgrade work...it is health and safety plus it's part of the system you are working on, so this is when they get you.
You don't need a permit to replace devices, only running additional circuitry. Legally I can replace receptacles, detectors, switches and fixtures. IIRC if you pull a permit you need to have one hardwired smoke per level or interconnected wireless smokes in a retro application. Interconnected low voltage smokes are a grey area and depend on the inspector.

In your case you are touching the gas line, he sees a problem with the gas line in another section but still part of the gas line, that's why I say you own it.
This is true in Ontario but TSSA is fvcked, the rest of the world isn't as screwed up. My father got him self in hot water when he was audited by TSSA and the inspector looked at old work that wasn't done by him and tagged by someone else. The TSSA inspector said if you touch a house you are responsible for everything. He also got called for a violation that was over 10 years old, and was accepted in the code at the time. The inspector said a grandfather clause does not apply.

Luckily this isn't the case with ESA.
 
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