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Thread: GFI Required ?

  1. #1
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    Question GFI Required ?

    Are GFI breakers required for ceiling lights in a shower. I've not seen them in some counties. Wondering if that's a local ordinance or not.

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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Are GFI breakers required for ceiling lights in a shower. I've not seen them in some counties. Wondering if that's a local ordinance or not.
    .
    I'm not aware ( for what that's worth ) of any required GFCI on Luminaries.

    That said the Lighting within a shower area has distance and rating requirements to be in such a location.
    .

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 06-30-2012 at 08:00 PM. Reason: and added
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    The NEC does not require GFCI protection for lights over a shower or for an exhaust fan in the same area.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    For lighting over a shower or tub you would not require GFI protection unless in the installation instructions. I have never seen any that did.

    All exhaust fans and fan/light combinations over a tub or shower call for the GFI protection in the instructions.

    The NEC does not specify GFI breakers for any protection. It just specifies GFI protection which can be from a dead-front GFI, a GFI device or a GFI breaker.

    Last edited by Jim Port; 06-29-2012 at 08:17 PM.
    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Are GFI breakers required for ceiling lights in a shower. I've not seen them in some counties. Wondering if that's a local ordinance or not.
    I have a few AHJ's in my area that require everything in the bathroom to be on a GFCI. Brentwood TN, Forest Hills (part of Nashville but have their own AHJ) are two that I know require all electrical in a bathroom to be GFCI protected.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    More important perhaps that the fixture is rated for wet locations. If so, they usually have non-metallic trim reducing the possibility of danger. If a person is willing to change a light bulb with the power on in a wet shower, the gene pool is better off w/o them. The AHJ has your answer. The power for that fixture could be taken from the protected side of a GFI receptacle, saving the need for a GFI circuit breaker.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have a few AHJ's in my area that require everything in the bathroom to be on a GFCI. Brentwood TN, Forest Hills (part of Nashville but have their own AHJ) are two that I know require all electrical in a bathroom to be GFCI protected.
    I love it when folks say this. Like the inspector can just make up codes to suit their own preference.
    Is this in wiritng somewhere, or do they just demand installers do what they are told?


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    The reason I asked this is because the summary sheet of my son in laws recent inspection states " Replace non-functioning GFI outlets for the master bedroom shower lights and the basement shower ceiling light."

    All GFI outlets in these areas function and the two GFI breakers in the panel also work. Am I missing something here.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I love it when folks say this. Like the inspector can just make up codes to suit their own preference.
    Is this in wiritng somewhere, or do they just demand installers do what they are told?
    I have no idea if it is in writing and it make no differance to me. If it is not done the way they want it done then it does not pass. Is it really worth the battle when you stand little chance of prevailing?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have no idea if it is in writing and it make no differance to me. If it is not done the way they want it done then it does not pass. Is it really worth the battle when you stand little chance of prevailing?
    That's a battle each individual can choose to fight. Personally unwritten mandates don't sit well with me. When I hear "I want it done that way" I call their boss.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have no idea if it is in writing and it make no differance to me.
    Well it should. Those that simply bow to an inspector's whim just make it harder for those of us that know the code.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    If it is not done the way they want it done then it does not pass.
    Well, if they cannot provide a valid code citation to support their claims it must pass.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Is it really worth the battle when you stand little chance of prevailing?
    Ab-so-freakin-loutely.
    In your opinion you stand little chance. If I know the code is in my favor my opinion is that I have a very good chance of passing.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    That's a battle each individual can choose to fight. Personally unwritten mandates don't sit well with me. When I hear "I want it done that way" I call their boss.
    Exactly!

    A common and worthy way of handling this is to simply, and politely ask: "I had no idea that was required. Can you tell me where this is in the code book so I don't make that mistake again."
    Nine times out of 10 they will simply let it go because they know they cannot prove it.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Exactly!

    A common and worthy way of handling this is to simply, and politely ask: "I had no idea that was required. Can you tell me where this is in the code book so I don't make that mistake again."
    Nine times out of 10 they will simply let it go because they know they cannot prove it.
    In South Florida, providing code references for each item written up for correction has been a requirement for 20 or more years.

    As of July 1, 2012, ALL code personnel - building official, plan reviewers, and inspectors - in Florida will be REQUIRED (by state statute) to provide the code section which does not allow what is being written up.

    A lot of contractors tell me that the inspector in (such-and-such-town) says 'I want it done this way.', I tell those contractors that as soon as an inspector says 'This is the way *I* want it ... ' that the inspector has no idea what they are enforcing as they are only allowed to enforce the code, not what *they want*. Then I tell them that they know I give them a code section, and if they disagree with the code section that we will review the code section and I can walk them through it to understand why it says what it says - I am right about 95+% of the time, and on that other 5% of the time I tell them they were right, that I read it wrong, that they can do it like they were.

    I make mistakes just like they do ... only not as often ...

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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    NEC 2011 90.4 " By special permission the Authority Having Jurisdiction may wave specific requirements in this code or permit alternative methods". I have no issue w/ fighting the good fight, but this is a powerful bit of "CODE" on the enforcement side. Powerful enough that a wise cusomer will pick his battles and come with honey rather than the alternative. If you're willing to go to the matt, so be it. I think Scott's perspective best fits the Home Inspector's position. It's a homeowner's battle; let them fight it.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    NEC 2011 90.4 " By special permission the Authority Having Jurisdiction may wave specific requirements in this code or permit alternative methods".
    This is not that powerful at all.
    The first three words are the most important: "By special permission..."

    An AHJ simply CANNOT make up his own code requirements.




    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    I think Scott's perspective best fits the Home Inspector's position. It's a homeowner's battle; let them fight it.
    You are right. I sometimes forget where I am.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post

    An AHJ simply CANNOT make up his own code requirements.
    I agree, and inspectors are human so sometimes they make mistakes. Just ask for a code reference and discuss it if you disagree. Over the years I have compiled a list of things that were phrased as "I want it that way" or "it's a good idea". Required GFCI protection for a receptacle in an attic is one that comes to mind since you might be sweaty when working up there.

    If it's not required then I can decide if it's a good idea or not.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    An AHJ simply CANNOT make up his own code requirements.

    Most everyone in this thread is probably in the same camp, but an AHJ can make up their own code. Anything less than the NEC is where the special permission is required. Anything that exceeds the NEC is the AHJ's exclusive domain. It is true that an inspector cannot decide on the spot to make up a code supplement. Even locally there must be a record of the mandate. In my State the NEC is of course the standard, ( unless one of those special exceptions exist - - - very rare ), then what we call the WAC rules, ( Washington Administrative Code ), followed by any municipality approved to administer their own code, ( Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, etc ). The WAC and all those cities have "published" NEC supplements full of requirements unique to their turf and I believe it is not an inspectors place to know or argue them. What I have done when encountering a "jerk" inspector is to first insist the correction/s be written. Then I make those corrections, tracking all costs, ( only corrections that are not real costly ). Then I send a bill for that work to the city or state the inspector works for including the code references proving the work was not code required. Since the inspector made me do it and it was not legally required, he legally hired me to do the work and became a paying customer When I get my phone or face time with the inspector's supervisor things are resolved to my satisfaction. They do not want to waste an afternoon in small claims court, especially to loose. It works like a dream. All that said; there is a lot of gray in the building codes where an AHJ can make things difficult and I perscribe to the theory of "Don't piss on a skunk ".


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    NEC 2011 90.4 " By special permission the Authority Having Jurisdiction may wave specific requirements in this code or permit alternative methods". I have no issue w/ fighting the good fight, but this is a powerful bit of "CODE" on the enforcement side. Powerful enough that a wise cusomer will pick his battles and come with honey rather than the alternative. If you're willing to go to the matt, so be it. I think Scott's perspective best fits the Home Inspector's position. It's a homeowner's battle; let them fight it.
    Garry,

    You are reading that all wrong, not sure if that is because that is what you have been told by those inspectors or if you are just reading it that way, but, this is what it states:
    - 90.4 Enforcement.
    - - This Code is intended to be suitable for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including signaling and communications systems, and for use by insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules.
    - - By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety.
    - - This Code may require new products, constructions, or materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials that comply with the most recent previous edition of this Code adopted by the jurisdiction.
    - 90.5 Mandatory Rules, Permissive Rules, and Explanatory Material.
    - - (A) Mandatory Rules. Mandatory rules of this Code are those that identify actions that are specifically required or prohibited and are characterized by the use of the terms shall or shall not.
    - - (B) Permissive Rules. Permissive rules of this Code are those that identify actions that are allowed but not required, are normally used to describe options or alternative methods, and are characterized by the use of the terms shall be permitted or shall not be required.
    - - (C) Explanatory Material. Explanatory material, such as references to other standards, references to related sections of this Code, or information related to a Code rule, is included in this Code in the form of fine print notes (FPNs). Fine print notes are informational only and are not enforceable as requirements of this Code.
    - - - Brackets containing section references to another NFPA document are for informational purposes only and are provided as a guide to indicate the source of the extracted text. These bracketed references immediately follow the extracted text.
    - - - FPN: The format and language used in this Code follows guidelines established by NFPA and published in the NEC Style Manual. Copies of this manual can be obtained from NFPA.

    Special Permission. The written consent of the authority having jurisdiction.

    Nothing in the above allows or provides for the inspector to require more than is written.

    Special permission simply allows the inspector to accept and allow "alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety".

    Now, most states and most (but not all) counties, cities, and such are allowed to pass local ordinances which modify the code and make it stronger than the printed NEC. I say "most (but not all) counties, cities" because, in Florida, it is difficult to pass a local technical requirement to the codes, and the local technical requirement is required to be sent to the Florida Building Commission where the local technical amendment must be justified by the county or city, and, if allowed by the Florida Building Commission, the local technical amendment is only good until the next code cycle, and if there is sufficient evidence that the local technical amendment is needed, then that local technical amendment is added into the code for everyone, and if there is insufficient evidence that the local technical amendment is needed, the local technical amendment is not allowed to continue.

    Getting back to "special permission", though, you will notice that "special permission" is "The written consent of the authority having jurisdiction." ... if it ain't written, and if it ain't *consent*, then it ain't "special permission".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    "You are reading that all wrong"

    What it says and what it is are not always the same. The all wrong part is a combination of both your possibilities and one more. I took one piece out of the full code to make my point, so it's fair to call that out of context. my AHJ authority position is not based upon what I've been told, but experience. I know that AHJs have as much as two years to accept the latest NEC & I consider that discretionary power. I know that the State and municiple supplemental codes I referenced exist and they are not optional. Reading all of 90.4, it would appear those local supplements should be optional, but I can tell you they are not. Maybe a good Law Smith could win that optional argument for you, but I've not seen that yet. As an example; Wa St requires that no more than 15' of unfused wire, ( service entrance wire ), can be inside the building line. That is not, ( or was not / haven't checked recently ), an NEC requirement. If you have over 15' of unfused wire inside a WA St building, you will not get approval and will not get hooked up. If that is not making up your own code, I do not know what else to call it. Wiring a local water-front restaurant re-built on piers over the water that had burned down, I was forced by the City of Seattle, ( because of that fire ), to provide a land side main disconnect. That was neither an NEC nor State requirement and was not yet in the published Seattle Code, but without putting it in my drawing there would be no permit issued. There are many other local AHJ requirements that go beyond the NEC. Maybe they are in violation of their authority, but I will not be the one hiring Law Smiths to prove that. I have never seen an NEC inspector and do not believe they exist. Try to get one to over-ride an AHJ decision. Enforcment of the NEC, ( a national code ), is entirely delegated to AHJs, ( not partially ). All Black and White is just not reality.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I love it when folks say this. Like the inspector can just make up codes to suit their own preference.
    Is this in wiritng somewhere, or do they just demand installers do what they are told?
    They do it all the time. The builders just do it to avoid the hassle of fighting it and they know if they tick off the inspector, there will be total hell to pay down the road.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    [QUOTE=Garry Blankenship;201893]I know that AHJs have as much as two years to accept the latest NEC ... is that what is allowed by state law? If no state law addresses it, the AHJ has no requirement to accept any specific edition of any code.

    I don't know what the current status is, but about 10 or so years ago, possibly in 2000 after the 1999 NEC came out, IAEI sent a survey out to all AHJ asking what edition code they were using. As I recall, the survey revealed that almost every edition back to ... 1984 ... yes, the 1984 NEC was still being used in 2000, and, as I recall, the survey asked what edition the AHJ would be adopting next and when, and the answer from that AHJ using the 1984 edition was something to the effect of 'don't know when we might be adopting another edition, no need to' - think of all the improvements in electrical wiring systems since 1984 to 2000, and there was no need to consider updating their adopted edition?

    As an example; Wa St requires that no more than 15' of unfused wire, ( service entrance wire ), can be inside the building line. That is not, ( or was not / haven't checked recently ), an NEC requirement.
    Still no stated length, but most AHJ I have heard about accept between 5 feet to 8 feet service entrance conductors inside the building. The 5 feet can easily be justified, 8 feet is pushing it, but at least Washington State has a stated length as most do not (because the NEC does not).

    If that is not making up your own code, I do not know what else to call it.
    Call it as establishing a limit as to what "either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors" means, see below, bold and underlining are mine
    - 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).

    So that requirement is not made up, it is defining a requirement within the NEC.

    Wiring a local water-front restaurant re-built on piers over the water that had burned down, I was forced by the City of Seattle, ( because of that fire ), to provide a land side main disconnect.
    While that may have seemed to be a bit too far to fall within the code, it really was not outside what the code requires - here is why:
    - "water-front restaurant re-built on piers over the water"
    - - Okay, where does "the structure" begin? The structure, as you stated, was on pilings in the water, thus every piling and every walkway to/from the restaurant *could be* considered as 'part of the structure'.
    - - Where is the disconnect required to be located? "Outside" the structure or "inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors", which in this case would be nearest the point where the service entrance conductors cross from land to the structure on pilings. The two choices could have been: 1) on the land-side of the edge of the structure; 2) immediately on the water-side of the edge of the structure. What is the difference in feet? 5 feet, maybe?
    - Here is a non-code answer: On the land-side so the fire department can turn power off to "the structure" (*all* of the structure) without leaving terra firma so they can fight the fire.
    - The code answer and the non-code answer are the same.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    They do it all the time. The builders just do it to avoid the hassle of fighting it and they know if they tick off the inspector, there will be total hell to pay down the road.
    So you allow the mis-application of the code instead of asking for the inspector to back up their demands and show you the violation? Even worse would be to allow the inspector to abuse their powers on a continuing basis. There are learning curves on both sides. Sometimes the best thing is to discuss the issue and a better understanding is gained by both parties. There is also someone higher up than the inspector. There should be no hell to pay if you are correct.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    NEC 2011 90.4 " By special permission the Authority Having Jurisdiction may wave specific requirements in this code or permit alternative methods". I have no issue w/ fighting the good fight, but this is a powerful bit of "CODE" on the enforcement side. Powerful enough that a wise cusomer will pick his battles and come with honey rather than the alternative. If you're willing to go to the matt, so be it. I think Scott's perspective best fits the Home Inspector's position. It's a homeowner's battle; let them fight it.
    Gary. here a problem----when you quote something you may quote it ITS ENTIRETY by beginning and ending the quoted section with full quote marks, e.g., "By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety".

    Another way to use a quote to prove a point is to show the quote, but indicate that it's a part of something larger by use of dots to show the missing part,e.g., "By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods...". This is done to signal to the reader the quoted information is separate from your comments.To not do it this way is a disservice to your audience and may lead to confusion.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    They do it all the time. The builders just do it to avoid the hassle of fighting it and they know if they tick off the inspector, there will be total hell to pay down the road.
    That's called corruption, and I have NO tolerance for it.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    So you allow the mis-application of the code instead of asking for the inspector to back up their demands and show you the violation? Even worse would be to allow the inspector to abuse their powers on a continuing basis. There are learning curves on both sides. Sometimes the best thing is to discuss the issue and a better understanding is gained by both parties. There is also someone higher up than the inspector. There should be no hell to pay if you are correct.
    Not me dude. I'm not a contractor. I just run across things and that's the opinion of various contractors with whom I've had the opportunity to discuss some issues. I do know that some of the code inspectors develop a real power trip out of there authority.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  26. #26
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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Gary. here a problem----when you quote something you may quote it ITS ENTIRETY by beginning and ending the quoted section with full quote marks, e.g., "By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety".

    Another way to use a quote to prove a point is to show the quote, but indicate that it's a part of something larger by use of dots to show the missing part,e.g., "By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods...". This is done to signal to the reader the quoted information is separate from your comments.To not do it this way is a disservice to your audience and may lead to confusion.
    Copy that Rich. I'll do what I can, but missing a couple dots is no worse than some of my and others "on the fly" spelling & other grammatical errors. Hopefully you noticed my earlier post associated confession "I took one piece out of the full code to make my point, so it's fair to call that out of context.". Hope I got the right key strokes in the right place quoting myself . The point remains valid and the extended debate is over the grayness of this issue. Contrary to what others would believe, AHJs do have some discretional authority. It is limited by the text that grants it, it is over-stepped by some over zealous inspectors as mentioned in other posts and it can be appealed by the installer - - - but it is discretionary. You can protest a requirement and you can win that protest, but in the process end up economically loosing. A bit like having the right of way in an accident that kills you. My experience is that the abuse is fairly rare. When you encounter it try turning the other cheek. If it continues, then you can go to the matt and bury them. Since they do have some wiggle room, you have to let them take the bait really good before you set the hook. It has been my experience that AHJ supervisors or department heads can get really creative in finding ways to make you whole for the grief caused by their renegade field inspector.


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    Default Re: GFI Required ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Copy that Rich. I'll do what I can, but missing a couple dots is no worse than some of my and others "on the fly" spelling & other grammatical errors. Hopefully you noticed my earlier post associated confession "I took one piece out of the full code to make my point, so it's fair to call that out of context.". Hope I got the right key strokes in the right place quoting myself . The point remains valid and the extended debate is over the grayness of this issue. Contrary to what others would believe, AHJs do have some discretional authority. It is limited by the text that grants it, it is over-stepped by some over zealous inspectors as mentioned in other posts and it can be appealed by the installer - - - but it is discretionary. You can protest a requirement and you can win that protest, but in the process end up economically loosing. A bit like having the right of way in an accident that kills you. My experience is that the abuse is fairly rare. When you encounter it try turning the other cheek. If it continues, then you can go to the matt and bury them. Since they do have some wiggle room, you have to let them take the bait really good before you set the hook. It has been my experience that AHJ supervisors or department heads can get really creative in finding ways to make you whole for the grief caused by their renegade field inspector.
    You are absoluty right. It really comes down to is this important enough to make an issue or is it fluff. Everyone forgets to cross a "T" or dot an "i' sometime or other. AHJs are no different. Have been in some discussions with them at various times and I found them to be reasonable and receptive. I have watched them go after flagrent vioklations of basic code, as well as suggest methods to allow the item to come back under the code umbrella. Other times I said OK, here's what we are going to do, did it, and it was passed (different that what the inspector sugested). Safety issues, however, are a different issue. You never have enough eyes to make sure something is safe. Look here. Everyone suggesting something, most different from others, but with the bottom line of a safe building.
    BTW, spelling, grammer, etc. are OK as we aren't "suits", and understand the thought (in most cases). Sorry to slap your wrist....


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