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Thread: Main disconnect

  1. #1
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Main disconnect

    I am a little vague on my understanding if there is a difference with single family homes, condos and or town houses as to whether or not there is a difference with those structures with there only being a main disconnect at the meter and then just a remote panel board or not service equipment with no main disconnect even with over a dozen breakers in the panel in the garage of the unit. These buildings are approximately ten town houses per building if that makes a difference.

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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I am a little vague on my understanding if there is a difference with single family homes, condos and or town houses as to whether or not there is a difference with those structures with there only being a main disconnect at the meter and then just a remote panel board or not service equipment with no main disconnect even with over a dozen breakers in the panel in the garage of the unit. These buildings are approximately ten town houses per building if that makes a difference.
    Ted,

    This is what matters:

    EACH STRUCTURE gets its own service, which includes its own main disconnect.

    - single family homes - each is its own structure and each gets its own service

    - duplex - each is its own structure and each gets its own service
    town houses - each is its own structure and each gets its own service

    - triplex - just a 3 unit town house - each is its own structure and each gets its own service)

    - quad - just a 4 unit town house - each is its own structure and each gets its own service)

    - condos - there is but one structure, and one service, each condo is simply an "apartment" within the one structure

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I am a little vague on my understanding if there is a difference with single family homes, condos and or town houses as to whether or not there is a difference with those structures with there only being a main disconnect at the meter
    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    I do believe that Ted is asking if there is a requirement for EACH townhouse, to have a main disconnecting means IN each units panel ,which is located in the garage of each unit.
    I'll try it again, then, ...

    See my post above. The main disconnect (the service disconnect) is allowed to be inside or outside, but, as you stated, it is outside at the meter, so there was no need to describe that option.

    and then just a remote panel board or not service equipment with no main disconnect even with over a dozen breakers in the panel in the garage of the unit.
    Correct. Service equipment outside, panel inside.

    The panel inside *may* have its own panel disconnect, however, that does not make it service equipment, it just increases the safety aspect by allowing the entire panel to be de-energized by the panel main - there just is no requirement for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    From what I read there is a Main service somewhere that feeds each unit. I will assume there is a meter stack or a main switch with a trough, with meters and disconnects.
    "I will assume there is a meter stack or a main switch with a trough, with meters and disconnects."

    That is not allowed on any of the structure types except for the condo building, which is a single structure.

    All of the other structure types I listed are individual structures and each service and its service disconnect, is required to be on its own structure. Therefore they would not be allowed to have a "meter stack or a main switch with a trough, with meters and disconnects".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Not true a row of townhouse is allowed to utilize meter stacks.
    No it isn't. *Each townhouse* is a "separate structure" and *each separate structure* needs its own service and that service needs to be on that structure.

    His row of ten townhouses could easily have a 6 gang meter stack one one end of the row and a 4 gang meter stack on the other end.
    Only if they are condos and there is one structure.

    I have run across both, and they both look alike and are built to look alike on the outside, but with a condo and its single structure it has different rules than that row of 10 different structures.

    If I remember I'll try and get you some pictures of this practice in real life and post them.
    I await them, but photos do not show whether or not it is a row of townhouses or a condo with a row of condo units.

    Where do you read that this is not allowed?
    Let's assume there are ten attached structures (townhouses) numbered 1-10 from left to right, with the right most structure (townhouse) being #10.

    The number of services allowed on structure #10 is one, with some exception, none of which apply to this installation.

    From the 2008 NEC. (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 230.2 Number of Services.
    - - A building or other structure served shall be supplied by only one service unless permitted in 230.2(A) through (D). For the purpose of 230.40, Exception No. 2 only, underground sets of conductors, 1/0 AWG and larger, running to the same location and connected together at their supply end but not connected together at their load end shall be considered to be supplying one service.
    - - - (A) Special Conditions. Additional services shall be permitted to supply the following: (Jerry's note: This exception A, it is an exception to only one service, is not applicable.)
    - - - - (1) Fire pumps
    - - - - (2) Emergency systems
    - - - - (3) Legally required standby systems
    - - - - (4) Optional standby systems
    - - - - (5) Parallel power production systems
    - - - - (6) Systems designed for connection to multiple sources of supply for the purpose of enhanced reliability
    - - - (B) Special Occupancies. By special permission, additional services shall be permitted for either of the following:
    - - - - (1) Multiple-occupancy buildings where there is no available space for service equipment accessible to all occupants
    - - - - (2) A single building or other structure sufficiently large to make two or more services necessary (Jerry's note: This exception B, it is an exception to only one service, is not applicable.)
    - - - (C) Capacity Requirements. Additional services shall be permitted under any of the following: (Jerry's note: This exception C, it is an exception to only one service, is not applicable.)
    - - - - (1) Where the capacity requirements are in excess of 2000 amperes at a supply voltage of 600 volts or less
    - - - - (2) Where the load requirements of a single-phase installation are greater than the serving agency normally supplies through one service
    - - - - (3) By special permission
    - - - (D) Different Characteristics. Additional services shall be permitted for different voltages, frequencies, or phases, or for different uses, such as for different rate schedules. (Jerry's note: This exception D, it is an exception to only one service, is not applicable.)
    - - - - (E) Identification. Where a building or structure is supplied by more than one service, or any combination of branch circuits, feeders, and services, a permanent plaque or directory shall be installed at each service disconnect location denoting all other services, feeders, and branch circuits supplying that building or structure and the area served by each. See 225.37.

    With 230.3(A) through (D) being not applicable, the main requirement stands: "A building or other structure served shall be supplied by only one service unless permitted in 230.2(A) through (D)."

    Thus, Structure #10 (Townhouse #10) is only allowed to have its own service on it. Structures #1 through #9 are also only allowed to have one, their own, service on them.

    - 230.3 One Building or Other Structure Not to Be Supplied Through Another.
    - - Service conductors supplying a building or other structure shall not pass through the interior of another building or other structure.

    - VI. Service Equipment Disconnecting Means
    - - 230.70 General.
    - - - Means shall be provided to disconnect all conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.
    - - - - (A) Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).
    - - - - - (1) Readily Accessible Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors.
    - - - - - (2) Bathrooms. Service disconnecting means shall not be installed in bathrooms.
    - - - - - (3) Remote Control. Where a remote control device(s) is used to actuate the service disconnecting means, the service disconnecting means shall be located in accordance with 230.70(A)(1).
    - - - - (B) Marking. Each service disconnect shall be permanently marked to identify it as a service disconnect.
    - - - - (C) Suitable for Use. Each service disconnecting means shall be suitable for the prevailing conditions. Service equipment installed in hazardous (classified) locations shall comply with the requirements of Articles 500 through 517.

    Now show me where you can put the services for Structures #1 through #4 on Structure #1 and the services for Structures #5 through #10 on Structure #10.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Well

    I guess it is right and wrong because for permitting or whatever purpose the builder listed the complex as condos. I forget the exact reason why.

    But in saying that, each unit has what everyone on the planet would describe as ten 3 story town homes, not condos like apartment style with different units on each floor.

    Yes there is a bank of meters at the end of the building as you would see in condos with the service disconnect at the meter per unit. No there is no disconnect or should I say main disconnecting breaker in each panel and yes they are wired correctly with the neutral and grounds not bonded in the panel.

    So with a legal description as a condo but a physical description as a town home, is it correct.

    I went back and forth with my reading and wrote it up as all right the way it was set up for how the buildings or should I say units are legally described.


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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Posting articles of no relevance could be another example of baffling people with brillance when you divert attention from the real questions.

    Cut and paste is wonderful. The drawback is that it doesn't give you an understanding.


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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Ken, (and wannabe Jim)

    Most, if not all the AHJ in Florida address them on one on each structure and the only way to install them as you would is for the building to be *ONE* structure, which townhouses are not.

    As evidence that it is *NOT* a "Fladah" thing is that virtually every, if not every, photo posted here by others have shown that their AHJ does the same thing: one structure/one service ... two structures/two services, one on each structure.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by ben jacks View Post
    Maybe calling condominiums as community apartments might make a difference.

    In the codes, "condominiums" are "apartments". The only difference is that "apartments" are rented or leased out and "condominiums" are 'owned spaces' within the 'common owned' structure.

    The owner of a condominium does not actually own any of the structure, just the space within the structure in which their condo resides. Their 'ownership of the structure' comes down to them being part of the condominium association which owns the structure and all other common areas.

    That is why many describe the condo ownership as 'paint to paint', you do not even own the drywall on the walls between the units or the walls between the units and the common areas.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    So if you own the exterior of the structure such as the siding, and are responsible for say your driveway that leads to your individual garage, and there is no "common area"
    It is not a condo?
    You have your own individual entrance, with your own exterior light fixtures. This would not be a condo?
    What about the one over one units? that are lined up in a row attached to one another?
    Condos or townhouses? No common owned structure

    Ken,

    Would you re-word your questions, they make no sense as you have worded them.

    By the way, when you do word them, asking if you own the siding matter is not even in the realm of a real question, asking about "the structure" is.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    All I can teel you is they are what they are. The down and dirty reason for the actual permitting/fees/zoning, what ever it was it is messed up and has made it extremely difficult to sell. Like I said the banks are a little shy and the new rules are anything not 75% sold is almost impossible to get a note on them. They are built 99.9% town homes but have a legal listing as condos.

    At first I thought it was my client telling tales until I ran into another buyer waiting for her home inspector and then my clients realtor and the builders agent all concured.


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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    All I can teel you is they are what they are. The down and dirty reason for the actual permitting/fees/zoning, what ever it was it is messed up and has made it extremely difficult to sell. Like I said the banks are a little shy and the new rules are anything not 75% sold is almost impossible to get a note on them. They are built 99.9% town homes but have a legal listing as condos.

    At first I thought it was my client telling tales until I ran into another buyer waiting for her home inspector and then my clients realtor and the builders agent all concured.

    Ted,

    I believe you, I have done code inspections on some just like what you are describing: in all looks they are exactly like townhouses, and, in fact the builder built the exact same product as townhouses.

    BUT ... (there is that nasty little "but") ... when built as townhouses they were designed and constructed every so slightly differently for firewall, draftstopping, fireblocking-wise ... but you had to get into the down and dirty construction to know the difference.

    Also, in the townhouses you actually owned your unit *and* its structure *and* the land it sat on. With the condos all you owned was the interior of your unit, the ("the" meaning singular) structure was common area.

    Oh, and the condos had all the electrical on the ends (6 and 8 unit buildings) whereas the townhouses had the electrical run to each townhouse.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Main disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    You state that the owner of a condo does not own any of the structure other then the interior of their unit- " Paint to paint" -My question was if you own the structure the entire structure. From the outside in. From the Siding/brick in.
    There is no common building area, no condo association, and YOU are responsible for your individual driveway and garage would this still be a condo?
    The better use of the word "condo" is to use "apartment" as that is what the building code uses. However, if we accept "condo" to mean "apartment", then when *YOU* as an individual *owns* *your structure*, then that is not a condo.

    I specified the use of "condo" as equating to "apartment" as there are 'condominium townhouse associations'/'townhouse condominium associations' where (as the example of the few I have seen) *you own your townhouse and the footprint of land below to the sky above* but the condominium association of townhouse owners owns all else.

    You are asking about a variation of that in that, as I am understanding your question "There is no common building area, no condo association, and YOU are responsible for your individual driveway and garage would this still be a condo?" should also be stated that "you also own the land from front to back and across its width, from adjoining lot line to adjoining lot line" as you stated "There is no common building area, no condo association," - which means that everything is owned by the owners of the individual lots and townhouses, however, you are missing something: who owns the streets and sidewalks? Those are common property and common area and are owned by the homeowners association (as differentiated from a condominium association).

    With all of the above, then, no, it would not be a condo as described above. That is part of what I referring to when I said your question is not a relevant question.

    You say that a with a townhouse you own everything your unit ands it's structure.
    And the ground below it to the sky above.

    With a condo you only own the interior of your unit.
    Yes, as described above.

    Here's where the confusion starts....
    Have you seen the one over one units?
    Yes, and I have built some, and I have inspected some as a code inspector, and they are "condominiums" (see my example of "condominium" as "apartments" above).

    In my area they are deeded as townhouses, sold as townhouses.
    There are 2 units that utilize the footprint of 1 unit. Unit 1 has 2 floors and unit 2 has 2or 3 floors that are on top of unit 1. They each have a separate front door,next to each other.
    They each have a garage and a driveway for their own private use as they own it.
    They have firestopping between each unit top and bottom and sides as they are built in rows. You will have 8 or 10 units in the footprint of 4 or 5.
    They are condominiums.

    I know the building code says a townhouse is a structure from the foundation to the roof built in rows ( not an exact quote- paraphrased).
    Correct.

    They are deeding these units as townhouses and marketing them as townhouse just the same as the old fashioned rowhouses that are called townhouses
    Except that the old fashioned rowhouses are actually townhouses as they are from foundation to the roof.

    What you are describing are "flats" (for the one story ones) and "walkups", both of which are "apartments" and are constructed the same as "condominiums" with the same fireblocking, draftstopping, and demising walls between units and between units and common areas.

    Condos or townhouses? I'm curious
    They are condominiums.

    I have heard of other places also trying to market them and sell them as "townhouses" but they do not meet the requirements of a "townhouse".

    If they are called "townhouses" they should be inspected as townhouses and failed inspections as constructed as you describe.

    From the IRC.
    - TOWNHOUSE. A single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and with open space on at least two sides.

    What you are describing is (from the IBC).
    - R-2 Residential occupancies containing sleeping units or more than two dwelling units where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature, including:
    - - Apartment houses
    - - Boarding houses (not transient)
    - - Convents
    - - Dormitories
    - - Fraternities and sororities
    - - Hotels (nontransient)
    - - Monasteries
    - - Motels (nontransient)
    - - Vacation timeshare properties
    - - Congregate living facilities with 16 or fewer occupants are permitted to comply with the construction requirements for Group R-3.


    It is quite likely that, if they are built as, listed as, and sold as, "townhouses" that they are not constructed properly as those (as you described them) are "apartments" and required to be built in accordance to the IBC, not the IRC, and, being built to the IBC ... there is no such thing as "townhouse".

    Also, it is quite likely that, if they are built as, listed as, and sold as, "townhouses" that they are not constructed properly as "townhouses" are required to be built in accordance to the IRC, not the IBC, and, being built to the IRC ... they ARE SIMPLY NOT CONSTRUCTED AS REQUIRED for a "townhouse".

    They need to pick the model code they want to build under and build them within that code.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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