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  1. #1
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    Default Challenge From Builder

    I got another challenge from a builder today. After the rep looked at me with disdain as I introduced myself, he said "We build a solid house and it's already been inspected so you won't find anything. If you want to document cosmetic issues, go ahead because that's all you'll find".

    Mmm hmmmmm.

    Pic #1 - 8 inch riser heights (1/4" above 7 3/4" max)
    Pic #2 - One of 10+ exposed nailheads on roofs
    Pic #3 - GAS ODOR
    Pic #4 - Uphill pitch on sink drain line
    Pic #5 - No access panel beneath Jacuzzi tub
    Pic #6 - Big tree leaning over roof of house
    Pic #7 - Bottom panel in vanity cabinet cracked at staples

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    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 07-09-2008 at 11:35 AM. Reason: forgot to label pics
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Also, can anybody lend some assistance with these things from the same house.

    The first pic is of the vent line for thr sewage ejector pump in the basement passing through a return air duct. I could have sworn I read a code reference recently that prohibits plumbing lines from passing through ducts. True of false?

    The second and third pics are of the space between the bottom step of the 1st-to-2nd floor staircase and the side wall of the hall. The distance between the two measured 26 1/4". What is the minimum distance that should be allowed in this situation?

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Pic #1 - 8 inch riser heights (1/4" above 7 3/4" max)
    What was the variation between risers?

    Pic #3 - GAS ODOR
    You also noted that there was no shut off valve before the sediment trap, I am sure.

    Pic #4 - Uphill pitch on sink drain line
    You also noted that it was an 'S' trap too, I am sure.

    Pic #5 - No access panel beneath Jacuzzi tub
    Just curious, where is the shower enclosure?

    The window was safety glass, right?

    Pic #7 - Bottom panel in vanity cabinet cracked at staples
    No escutcheons at the plumbing through the cabinet either.

    Why is that entire pop-up assembly laying down there?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Nick:

    2006 NJ IRC R311.5.4 "The width of each landing shall not be less than the width of the stairway served. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches measured in the direction of travel."

    I don;t believe there is anything the prevents duct penetrations in the IRC.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The first pic is of the vent line for thr sewage ejector pump in the basement passing through a return air duct. I could have sworn I read a code reference recently that prohibits plumbing lines from passing through ducts. True of false?
    True.

    However, is that "passing through" or is the duct cut back and goes around it? I ask because it looks like the duct is narrowed right there.

    The second and third pics are of the space between the bottom step of the 1st-to-2nd floor staircase and the side wall of the hall. The distance between the two measured 26 1/4". What is the minimum distance that should be allowed in this situation?
    36" minimum width. While that is not a landing, it is a hallway or walking space.

    From the 2006 IRC.

    - R311.3 Hallways. The minimum width of a hallway shall be not less than 3 feet (914 mm).

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    1 - All the risers on that step were 8 inches, no height variations. But now that I look back at my Code Check, the 97 UBC is 8 inches max riser height so it looks like those steps are OK (I think).

    2 - I can't say definitively there was no gas shut-off there Jerry. The pic is cut off and I don't have another pic that captures the supply line above that manifold. Does the shut-off need to be installed within a certain number of insches of the manifold? The only reference I can find requires the valve ahead of the pressure regulator which is not there in the pic either.

    3 - Wouldn't the trap arm pipe coming off that trap (if installed properly) prevent it from being an S-trap?

    4 - Shower enclosure is yet to be installed. There was a lot not completed at time of inspection. Windows above tub were safety glass.

    5 - I didn't get the escutcheons. I don't think I even knew what they were until now . As for the pop-up assembly, again a product of the house not yet being completed. The dishwasher wasn't even installed.

    6 - The duct looking like it may be cut back must be an illusion due to the pic or distance from which it was taken but the vent line runs through the return. Do you by any chance have the code reference for that Jerry? I know I have it but can't find it now (arrrgh).

    7 - I knew that distance between the step and adjacent wall couldn't be right. The buyer's interior designer was there and even she noticed it and asked the builder about it before I got there today. She said the builder's response was that "he adds that staircase feature into all his homes and likes it that way". I'd like to hear him explain his way around it now.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    The builder may like that circular landing like that but that doesn't make it OK. What an idiot. He's made moving things in and out a hassle. Let alone creating a fall hazard for anyone who isn't used to the house or who can't see the tread because they are carrying something.
    - Around here you can't run any piping through ductwork.
    - Are you sure the whirlpool access isn't in that back 'hallway/closet'. Usually the motor is at the rear or on the side near the rear. It's pretty common to see the access panels in the closet behind the unit.
    - I doubt that vanity is properly vented. I have yet to find one that is when the drain goes down like that instead of into a wall tee.

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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Markus, I checked that closet and no access panel there either. It's very common around here to see no access panel. Still not right but very common.


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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    2 - I can't say definitively there was no gas shut-off there Jerry. The pic is cut off and I don't have another pic that captures the supply line above that manifold. Does the shut-off need to be installed within a certain number of insches of the manifold? The only reference I can find requires the valve ahead of the pressure regulator which is not there in the pic either.
    There is a shut off before the manifold, however, the shut off is after the sediment trap.

    3 - Wouldn't the trap arm pipe coming off that trap (if installed properly) prevent it from being an S-trap?
    The vent needs to come off above the weir of the trap, and that does not, it turns down and goes-who-knows-where.

    6 - The duct looking like it may be cut back must be an illusion due to the pic or distance from which it was taken but the vent line runs through the return. Do you by any chance have the code reference for that Jerry? I know I have it but can't find it now (arrrgh).
    There are many sections in here:

    SECTION M1601
    - DUCT CONSTRUCTION
    - - M1601.1 Duct design.
    - - - - Duct systems serving heating, cooling and ventilation equipment shall be fabricated in accordance with the provisions of this section and ACCA Manual D or other approved methods.

    ... which would not permit anything running through the duct.

    Unless the duct itself was made with an opening in it (surrounded by duct material enclosing the area around the opening in with the duct interior) essentially constructing a duct with a hole through it.

    That pipe, or any pipe, could then 'pass through' the 'hole in the duct' as the pipe would not actually be 'in' the duct, the pipe would actually be 'outside' the duct.


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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Hello Nick,

    The plumbing drain is a vertical drain leg and is allowed by some codes. The slight back pitch will not affect the drainage.

    Corey


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Nick
    If that home was in an area that was operating under the 1997 UBC – when the builder pulled the permit - those 8” risers are OK. Don’t see a backwater or check valve on the sewage ejector. EC Jerry is correct on that vent pipe penetrating the FAU’s CAR.

    That glitch in the hallway with the stair bottom tread bulging into the hallway boggles my mind and frankly if that builder had said to me what he said to you I would have made EC Jerry look like the fastest inspector in North America !

    What arrogance and when anyone tells a home inspector that they are basically wasting their time and clients money every darn one of them would go into complete overdrive. Talk about waving a red flag in front of an old mean bull….. !!!!!!!

    PS: water resists running up hill.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    WCJ, I'm pretty sure the check valve is on the vertical waste line right above the pit. The waste line is on the right side in the pic and the vent line is on the left.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    There are many sections in here:

    SECTION M1601
    - DUCT CONSTRUCTION
    - - M1601.1 Duct design.
    - - - - Duct systems serving heating, cooling and ventilation equipment shall be fabricated in accordance with the provisions of this section and ACCA Manual D or other approved methods.

    ... which would not permit anything running through the duct.

    Unless the duct itself was made with an opening in it (surrounded by duct material enclosing the area around the opening in with the duct interior) essentially constructing a duct with a hole through it.

    That pipe, or any pipe, could then 'pass through' the 'hole in the duct' as the pipe would not actually be 'in' the duct, the pipe would actually be 'outside' the duct.
    Jerry, Check out the 2006 IMC section 602.2.1 under exceptions:

    3) This section shall not apply to materials exposed within plenums in one-and two-family dwellings.

    Unless something is written in ACCA Manual D, there's nothing in the residential mechanical code that prohibits what Nick saw.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    My Man J is right where it should be. Soon as I find my Man D. I'll look through it. Better not be another one of my stupid friends 'borrowing' my books again.

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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    FWIW - the 2006 UMC 608.12, Fuel gas lines and plumbing clean-outs not permitted to be located within ducts (CARs) ..... yada-yada. Plumbing waste clean-outs, hmmmm? So a continuous drain line with no hubs or openings is OK? Need to ask my plumbing guru.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    Jerry, Check out the 2006 IMC section 602.2.1 under exceptions:

    3) This section shall not apply to materials exposed within plenums in one-and two-family dwellings.

    Darren,

    That duct is not a plenum. Thus that section does not apply.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    WCJ, I'm pretty sure the check valve is on the vertical waste line right above the pit. The waste line is on the right side in the pic and the vent line is on the left.
    I am under the impression that the check valve should be on the horizontal section of waste pipe for an ejector pump.

    See http://www.blueangelpumps.com/manual...32200-002_.pdf page 3 #5

    Last edited by Rick Maday; 07-10-2008 at 01:16 PM. Reason: found link

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    I would suggest that the PVC be sleeved with steel pipe where it goes through the duct. The only problem I see is the PVC pipe fire rating.


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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Maday View Post
    I am under the impression that the check valve should be on the horizontal section of waste pipe for an ejector pump.

    See http://www.blueangelpumps.com/manual...32200-002_.pdf page 3 #5
    The chack valve can be installed horizontal as long as you make sure the the hinge for the flapper is on the top. If you look at Zoller's recommended installation, you will see all the check valves are vertical. http://www.zoeller.com/zcopump/zcopdfdocs/FM0447.pdf

    Pic #3 with the trap running uphill I know Illinois plumbing code does not allow http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/...ZZ9996kmR.html

    and for the vent, the vent should not be below the top of the trap weir. http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/...ZZ9996krR.html

    Last edited by Ron Hasil; 07-11-2008 at 07:29 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    The chack valve can be installed horizontal as long as you make sure the the hinge for the flapper is on the top. If you look at Zoller's recommended installation, you will see all the check valves are vertical. http://www.zoeller.com/zcopump/zcopdfdocs/FM0447.pdf

    Pic #3 with the trap running uphill I know Illinois plumbing code does not allow http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/...ZZ9996kmR.html

    and for the vent, the vent should not be below the top of the trap weir. http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/...ZZ9996krR.html
    I think you meant vertical in #1.

    Per their instructions (emphasis mine)..

    "2) Install proper Zoeller unicheck (combination union and check valve), preferably just above the basin
    to allow easy removal of the pump for cleaning or repair. On sewage, ef
    fl uent or de w a ter ing, if high
    head or below cover installation is required use 30-0152 on 1" and 2" pipe and 30-0160 on 3" pipe.
    See (6) below."




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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I would suggest that the PVC be sleeved with steel pipe where it goes through the duct. The only problem I see is the PVC pipe fire rating.
    You could sleeve the PVC with a steel pipe, however, the steel pipe does not meet the requirements of duct design and insulation either. The walls of the 'hole' through the duct for the pipe (of any kind) would need to be constructed and insulated just like the remaining parts of the duct, with approved joints/seams and sealing methods - just like the approved joints/seams and sealing the rest of the duct is constructed to.

    Of course, and why I showed the air flow turbulence in my drawing, the duct-with-the-hole-through-it would need to be designed such that the air flow turbulence is not any greater than allowed for any duct section or change in direction. The duct could be designed to deflect out of the way and around the pipe, or, possibly just have vanes inserted directing the air flow around the-hole-through-the-duct-collar.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Friedman View Post
    The slight back pitch will not affect the drainage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    the trap running uphill I know Illinois plumbing code does not allow
    Ron,

    What Corey was saying (I believe anyway) is that the short distance of the uphill trap wall bend itself is too short to cause a problem. Not saying it is "correct", just that 'it will not cause a problem'.

    The only thing it will do is raise the height of the weir of the trap from the exit bend of the 'P' trap to the other end of that trap wall bend, and, that the new weir height will still be lower than the top of the trap above the intended weir, thus it will not cause any draining or venting problem (with that little height difference).

    Again, does not make it "correct", though.

    The vent is required to be above the weir of the trap, which, due to the weir being higher at the far end of the wall bend, meaning the vent would have to be that much higher, maybe 1/8" higher (that torpedo level is maybe 9" long, the bubble location represents maybe 1/4" per foot slope ... looks about where the 1/4" per foot slope line would be on a plumbers slope level ... 1/4" per foot = 1/8" per 6" length of that wall bend).

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Maday View Post
    I think you meant vertical in #1.

    Per their instructions (emphasis mine)..

    "2) Install proper Zoeller unicheck (combination union and check valve), preferably just above the basin
    to allow easy removal of the pump for cleaning or repair. On sewage, effl uent or de w a ter ing, if high
    head or below cover installation is required use 30-0152 on 1" and 2" pipe and 30-0160 on 3" pipe.
    See (6) below."
    I am sorry. I did mean horizontal. I should of been a bit more clear. The check valve can be installed vertical or horizontal. Zoeller says they like it to be vertical as does hydromatic. But if you do install it in the horizontal position, you need to ensure the flapper hinge is on the top for proper operation. I do hope this clears things up a little.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Challenge From Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    I am sorry. I did mean horizontal. I should of been a bit more clear. The check valve can be installed vertical or horizontal. Zoeller says they like it to be vertical as does hydromatic. But if you do install it in the horizontal position, you need to ensure the flapper hinge is on the top for proper operation. I do hope this clears things up a little.
    It does, thanks. Although I beleive I created the confusion.


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